COPYRIGHTS & PERMISSIONS: All arrangements and tabs in this blog are the original work of the blog owner, unless otherwise noted. They may be downloaded and copied at no charge, only for non-commercial church or home use. All other rights reserved. Ask for permissions-- I intend to be generous. Copyright information for each song is listed in its commentary. Arrangements and tabs of public domain songs are still covered by these copyright restrictions. Your cooperation is appreciated.

Be Still, My Soul

My daughter Amy requested this hymn. If I’ve got it right, [NOT QUITE!  See Amy's comment.]  her best friend had just died suddenly, her husband was recovering from a triple stroke, and she also had to cope with her three-year-old,  autistic son, while holding down a major ward calling. One of her Relief Society sisters sang this hymn to her. It was the first time she had heard it.  The message, the melody, and the gorgeous harmonies really impressed her. They’ll impress nearly anyone, but they were perfect for her at that moment. This is for you, Amy.


This is NOT a song for beginners!  Even though it's all strummed, and slowly at that, with no arpeggios or melody notes, the chords are not easy.  For those who are not afraid of barre chords, it's not too bad, but there are a few unusual ones.  The harmonies and gorgeous chord progressions make it worthwhile to learn them, though.

It's in the key of F.  No, it's not any better if you transpose it.  The first line is the easiest, containing only normal C and F chords, plus a Cmaj7, which is an easy chord to play, and sounds great.  If you have trouble changing from F to C and back, you'll want to get some help before you tackle the rest of the song, as these are about the easiest changes in the song.  Don't say I didn't warn you.  It's not easy, just worth it.

The next line basically repeats the chord progressions of the first line, but one octave higher.  Instead of Cmaj7, there's a Bb, for a slightly different harmony.  It's just a barred A.  If you're still with me, you've pretty much got it licked.  The rest of the barre chords are just variations of the barred E and barred A, played at different frets.

The  Dm/Av in the third line is only unusual in that you DO play the bass string.  This is necessary for the melody.  Read the name of this chord, "D minor with an A bass, barred 5th fret."  Don't let the Roman numerals throw you, they only describe where the barre goes. Play the rest of the chords as shown in the chord charts.


The count is mostly a straightforward 4/4, but it's syncopated, because each verse begins on the SECOND count of the measure.  I have put in underscores to show how the notes are extended over several counts.  For example, the chord played for the word "soul" in the second measure is extended for three counts, while the chord for the word "on" in the next measure is held for one-and-a-half counts.  Thus, the bold face & under the word "thy", to show it is only half a count.  Trust me, it comes out even.  If this does not make sense to you, click HERE to listen to an a capella version.  After you hear it once, you should have no trouble.  You'll want to get the beat right, as this combination repeats in every line.

At the end of the song, I have included the finale, but also the repeat sign.  You can either repeat from the next-to-last verse, or play the final measure and stop.


Amelia said...

Not exactly dad. It was after Todd's stroke, but before Misty passed away. It was when Todd was still in hospital actually. My sister-in-law and her husband had packed up their lives and moved to our house to help care for Oliver and help me with whatever. Carl (my brother-in-law) is ALWAYS singing, and one day he was humming this hymn. It was on a really, really tough day, and I had the impression that the words were important. I did recognize it, but had to ask the name. The next day at church I looked it up in the hymnbook. and read the words, which came with the force of personal scripture, and has helped me with the other situations you mentioned.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.