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Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?

DigiTrad:
A GRAZING MACE
AMAZING GRACE
AMAZING GRASS
AMAZING PRESS
MIORBHAIL GRA\IS (AMAZING GRACE)


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GUEST,Mulligan 22 Jan 00 - 06:54 PM
GUEST,Philippa 22 Jan 00 - 06:57 PM
Arkie 22 Jan 00 - 07:17 PM
Dale Rose 22 Jan 00 - 08:06 PM
GUEST,charcloth 22 Jan 00 - 08:50 PM
roopoo 23 Jan 00 - 03:18 AM
GUEST 23 Jan 00 - 01:39 PM
Bob Bolton 23 Jan 00 - 07:15 PM
Nogs 24 Jan 00 - 03:34 PM
GUEST,aldus 25 Jan 00 - 09:40 AM
sophocleese 25 Jan 00 - 09:54 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 25 Jan 00 - 10:56 AM
Chet W. 25 Jan 00 - 11:26 AM
Marki 25 Jan 00 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 25 Jan 00 - 02:29 PM
Áine 25 Jan 00 - 02:54 PM
Bob Bolton 27 Jan 00 - 10:36 PM
GUEST 27 Jan 00 - 11:37 PM
GUEST,T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 28 Jan 00 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,aldus 31 Jan 00 - 07:39 AM
GUEST,Peter French 11 Apr 03 - 07:22 AM
GUEST,Peter French 11 Apr 03 - 07:42 AM
Bob Bolton 11 Apr 03 - 08:34 AM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Apr 03 - 08:50 AM
Burke 11 Apr 03 - 09:49 AM
IanC 11 Apr 03 - 10:03 AM
Coyote Breath 11 Apr 03 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,Penny 11 Apr 03 - 11:12 AM
Burke 11 Apr 03 - 11:26 AM
GUEST,Q 11 Apr 03 - 02:03 PM
GUEST,Q 11 Apr 03 - 06:10 PM
masato sakurai 11 Apr 03 - 11:44 PM
Tam the bam fraeSaltcoatsScotland 12 Apr 03 - 09:18 AM
GUEST,sorefingers 12 Apr 03 - 09:41 AM
masato sakurai 12 Apr 03 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,Q 12 Apr 03 - 01:02 PM
Penny S. 12 Apr 03 - 07:01 PM
GUEST,Q 12 Apr 03 - 07:53 PM
Burke 14 Apr 03 - 07:28 PM
masato sakurai 25 May 03 - 01:28 AM
masato sakurai 25 May 03 - 01:58 AM
GUEST,B. 22 Aug 04 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,B. 22 Aug 04 - 06:50 PM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 23 Aug 04 - 09:00 AM
GUEST,Gwalarn, from Brittany 23 Aug 04 - 10:55 AM
Jim McLean 24 Aug 04 - 05:39 AM
Burke 24 Aug 04 - 06:18 PM
Jim McLean 24 Aug 04 - 07:01 PM
Burke 24 Aug 04 - 07:39 PM
Malcolm Douglas 24 Aug 04 - 07:53 PM
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Subject: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Scottish tune??
From: GUEST,Mulligan
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 06:54 PM

Hey can someone help me out here? I have always understood that Amazing Grace was an American Hymn written by a former slaveship captain.

But now there is this kid that tells me that the slaveship captain set the words to and old scottish tune. Is that true? Dan


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 06:57 PM

I don't think so. We've even had a suggestion that the tune derives from an indigenous American melody. See Amazing Grace as Gaeilge


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: Arkie
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 07:17 PM

The slave ship captain, John Newton, was supposedly of Scotch ancestry.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: Dale Rose
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 08:06 PM

From the Cyber Hymnal ~~ in my opinion, the best of the sources for information about hymns and their composers. The dashes in the quotation have something to do with incompatable browsers or something like that.

John Newton

1725-1807

Born: July 24, 1725, London, England.

Died: December 21, 1807, London, England.

Buried: Originally at St. Mary Woolnoth Church, Lombard Street, London. In 1893, John Newton and his wife Mary were reinterred in the southeast corner of the grave­yard at St. Peter and St. Paul's Church, Ol­ney.

Newton's mother died when he was seven years old. At age 11, with but two years school­ing and on­ly a rud­i­men­tary know­ledge of Latin, John went to sea with his father. His life at sea was filled with won­der­ful es­capes, viv­id dreams, and a sail­or's reck­less­ness. He grew into a god­less and aban­doned man. He was once flogged as a de­sert­er from the na­vy, and for 15 months lived, half starved and ill treated, as a slave in Africa.

A chance reading of Thomas à Kempis sowed the seed of his con­ver­sion. It was ac­cel­er­at­ed by a night spent steer­ing a water­logged ship in the face of ap­par­ent death. He was then 23 years old. Over the next six years, dur­ing which he com­mand­ed a slave ship, his faith ma­tured. He spent the next nine years most­ly in Liverpool, study­ing Hebrew and Greek and ming­ling with White­field, Wes­ley, and the Non­con­form­ists. He was even­tu­al­ly or­dained, and be­came curate at Olney, Bucks, in 1764. It was at Olney that he formed a life long friend­ship with William Cowper, and pro­duced the Olney Hymns.

A mar­ble plaque at St. Mary Wool­noth car­ried the epi­taph which New­ton him­self wrote:

JOHN NEWTON, Clerk Once an infidel and libertine A servant of slaves in Africa, Was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the Gospel which he had long laboured to destroy. He ministered, Near sixteen years in Olney, in Bucks, And twenty-eight years in this Church.

And here is what the Cyber Hymnal says about the tune. Music: "New Britain," 19th Cen­tury Amer­i­can mel­o­dy; appeared in Virginia Harmony, 1813


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: GUEST,charcloth
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 08:50 PM

the book "101 Hymn Stories" pretty much states what Dale said about the author John Newton. The tune, the book states is an early American folk melody first known as a plantation melody called "Loving Lambs." I have no further info on "Loving Lambs"


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: roopoo
Date: 23 Jan 00 - 03:18 AM

Our Rector, a one-time organist and choirmaster himself, says very much the same: that Newton was involved in the slave trade and then wrote "Amazing Grace" after his conversion.

mouldy


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jan 00 - 01:39 PM

Virgina Harmony was 1831, not 1813.

John Newton

Amazing Grace


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 23 Jan 00 - 07:15 PM

G'day all,

I'm not sure what lurks in the depths of the "blue clicky things", but I always understood the tune to Amazing Grace was written by Sir Henry Bishop, Professor of Music, variously at Edinburgh and Oxford. This credit is found in all the 19th century songbooks in my collection.

Bishop was born in Liverpool (England) and is just as well known as the author of Home, Sweet Home and the classic Scots dance tune Dashing White Sergeant.

Of course, these days (the 20th century), anything that isn't safely nailed down is claimed as "Irish" or "Celtic" ... if not by the Irish or any of the rest of the Celts, at least by ignorant or unscrupulous promoters.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: Nogs
Date: 24 Jan 00 - 03:34 PM

Regardless of its origins, I have had my fill of hearing it played on the Highland pipes.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: GUEST,aldus
Date: 25 Jan 00 - 09:40 AM

The tune to Amazing Grace, as I understand it, was written by a Scotsman....I am sure someone will see this as a celtic root. In any case, both words and music are firmly rooted in Great Britain. Try as we might, we can find no other origin for this wonderful song. I agree, Amazing Grace On the Bagpipes is odious...to say the least.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: sophocleese
Date: 25 Jan 00 - 09:54 AM

My husband, the piper, agrees with both the previous posters. I think the only time he played it without a grudge in recent years was when pipers around the world played it in memory of the children killed in Dunblane, Scotland. I saw an American documentary on the song several years ago. It was very interesting and nowhere in it was the song played on the pipes.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 25 Jan 00 - 10:56 AM

Bob, out of curiosity, do those books state when this Sir Henry Bishop write the tune? Apparently John Newton, died in the early 19th century (1807?), so unless the tune came AFTER the song, the song was written in the 18th century.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: Chet W.
Date: 25 Jan 00 - 11:26 AM

Larry Byrd was asked this question in an interview once. He replied that during the time he played for the Celtics, they would occasionally sing the song at halftime or before games, but he thought that it originally came from somewhere else.

Another perspective, Chet


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: Marki
Date: 25 Jan 00 - 02:13 PM

I am not an expert on this song, but I think there's a very good chance that John Newton used a traditional Scottish tune. Why do I say this? Well, to the best of my knowledge, most "Newtons" are descendents of Clan McLeod, which is of course, Scottish. (At least all of my "Newton" friends regard Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye as their ancestral home. If I was at home now, I'd just check this out to be sure so I don't sound like a complete moron, but oh well....)


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 25 Jan 00 - 02:29 PM

WARNING: BS follows: I always thought she was the one who came round with the baby oil when you phoned Max's personal massage service...
RtS


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: Áine
Date: 25 Jan 00 - 02:54 PM

Perhaps we've beaten this particular dead horse enough. I think we can all agree that the answer to the original query is a resounding 'NO'. The point is that this song has meant and continues to mean a lot to people of different cultures and countries. And for that, I am grateful to whomever penned the words and/or the tune.

-- Áine

(Roger, you're a right little deveel!)


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 27 Jan 00 - 10:36 PM

G'day George Seto,

I did not actually go back and look at all the tune books, but, as far as I remember, Bishop is always credited - if there is a credit. I will check - and also check the composition date.

It is worth remembering that Newton may not have written a song at all. It may have been a poem and the tune could be a product of that 19th century obsession with matching tunes and words to everything (cf Scott's poems to old Scottish tunes and Thomas Moore's Irish melodies). It is also possible that there was some tune to start with and Bishop spruced it up and did the full orchestral bit. Victorian credits are not clear about this sort of thing.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jan 00 - 11:37 PM

Poems usually aren't found in book with only 'Hymns' in the title!


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: GUEST,T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 09:15 AM

Except in linguistics (and basketball) the word "Celtic" has no clear meaning. Get over it.

T.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: GUEST,aldus
Date: 31 Jan 00 - 07:39 AM

Yes to the prevous poster...but in basketball it is SELTIC !


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: GUEST,Peter French
Date: 11 Apr 03 - 07:22 AM

Well this is all very interesting stuff. Let me give you another angle. I have a feeling that we should consider Bob Boltons point, that Newton may in fact have just written a poem! It is interesting that no one has considered the subject of the song. Whats is it all about? I was brought up during the first 20 years of my folk song career in the North of England in the 60's and 70's. and almost all the folk singers who sang this at the time told the story that this song (?poem) was inspired by the heroics of Grace Darling, a light house keepers daughter,off the coast of Northumberland, who tied a rope to herself and along with her Father plucked 7or8 shipwrecked seamen from the water at the foot of the light house before being swept to sea herself. I believe that this story hit the newspapers of the time. The words are supposed to be deliberately ambiguous and the play on the name Grace was intened to be a tribute to Grace Darling and the Lord at one and the same time. I need to go back to the Life Boat Association Museum in Whitby, North Yorkshire to check the date of Grace Darlings death. If this is pre 1893 as Dale Rose pin points Newton death then this theory on the lyrics could indeed be true. I know nothing about the tune.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: GUEST,Peter French
Date: 11 Apr 03 - 07:42 AM

PS There is a song in the listing on Mudcat called Grace Darling. have a look at it, it tells some of the grace darling story. Note there was no date found with the words of this song!


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 11 Apr 03 - 08:34 AM

G'day Peter bFrench,

Grace Darling's rescue of crew members of the Forfarshire occurred on 7 September 1838.

Sir Henry Bishop lived 1786 - 1855. I presume that he wrote (or arranged) the song tune after Newton's death, which was when he was only 21 or so.

I greatly doubt the "Grace Darling" tale .. it was all the hallmarks of an early 'urban myth' (eg: It's a great tale ... but "too good to be true") ... and only fits the song words where it occasionally touches.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Apr 03 - 08:50 AM

So John Newton wrote a poem inspired by the exploits of Grace Darling, which were destined to take place 30 years after his own death? Amazing indeed! Even as Urban Legends go, that's a real cracker...


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: Burke
Date: 11 Apr 03 - 09:49 AM

I think Peter is just jerking our chains here.

Newton wrote just the words. He wrote them as a hymn--ie a poem intended to be sung to a tune that his parishioneers already knew. Being Common Meter, it could have been any number of already existing tunes. I've never heard of any creditable evidence for any particular tune.

Throughout the 19th century, hymnals in the US used a variety of tunes with the words we know. I don't know what UK practice was. I'm curious about the Henry Bishop tune. Is it the same tune familiarly used & now played by all bagpipes? Anyone have a copy of it? When was it first published? Is it published with Newtons words?

If there is any evidence for the words Newton wrote being published together with the tune we most often use any earlier than New Britain, the version of 1834 in the Southern Harmony, I'd like a citation.

The music itself, with different words has been found in a tunebook published in 1829. Details in one of those other AG threads.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: IanC
Date: 11 Apr 03 - 10:03 AM

I'm sure this information is already in one of the other threads, and there is really no mystery about this so I'm not sure why people keep insisting on inventing imaginary backgrounds. However, here goes again.

The Olney Hymns, which includes "Amazing Grace" was published by John Newton and William Cowper, in three volumes, on February 15th 1779. A facsimile e-text is available here. "Amazing Grace is hymn no. 41 of volume 1, based on 1 Chronicles 17 v16,17 with the text "Faith's review and expectation". No tunes are given for these hymns and, at the time, they would have been expected to have been sung to common tunes already known to the congregation. Until the publication of hymnals with tunes in the mid 19th century there would not have been a "standard" tune for all but a few hymns, each parish probably having their own (as for "While Shepherds Watch" which had over 1,000 known tunes).

John Newton was English, both born and died in London.

The tune "New Britain" (called "Amazing Grace" in Britain) first appeared in "Virginia Harmony", by James P. Carrell and David S. Clayton (Winchester, Virginia: 1831). It was adapted by the authors from an early American folk melody entitled "Loving Lambs". This tune is said to be related to the Scottish folk song "Loch Lomond" (though I have some trouble with this) and also to the 17th century English song "Toddlin' Home" (which appears as in Dvorak's "New World Symphony" as "Going Home"). Again, I have a little difficulty with the latter, though it's much closer than "Loch Lomond".

:-)


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 11 Apr 03 - 10:11 AM

And here is a parody which I heard from Peter Stampfel:

"If you go on down
To New Orleans
You can meet her
Face to face
She can tie herself
In a granny knot
That's why she's called
Amazing Grace"

I agree with the negative comment re bagpipes. I love singing the (real) song in a church congregation. Accapella.

CB


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: GUEST,Penny
Date: 11 Apr 03 - 11:12 AM


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: Burke
Date: 11 Apr 03 - 11:26 AM

Ians information is correct, but a bit out of date. I looked at the origins thread & realize that I did not make the 1829 information as clear as I could have.

The earliest date known for the tune being in the 1831 Virginia Harmony has been around at least since the 1960's when William Reynolds reported finding it there. This information has since been superceeded by 2 versions having been found in Benjamin Shaw and Charles H. Spilman's Columbian Harmony (Cincinnati, 1829).

A hymnologist friend has concluded from examining all of the versions that both Columbian Harmony settings are independent of the one in Virginia Harmony. [ie different enough from each other to be different arrangements of a tune already in circulation.]

Quoting from an e-mail from Marion Hatchett:
One of these tunes was called GALLAHER, and this was picked up by later books, as early as 1831 in Robert Willis' Lexington Cabinet (Louisville, 1831). The more highly ornamented version called ST. MARY'S was apparently never reprinted. Both versions are reproduced in my [Hatchett's] article on this tune at Number 671 in The Hymnal 1982 Companion (New York: Church Hymnal Corporation, 1994, Vol. III B, pages 1238-1243. This article lists the first several books in which differing versions of this tune were printed under various titles.

I do have photocopies of "Gallaher" & "St. Mary" from the Hatchett article. Where can I find "Loving Lambs?"


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 11 Apr 03 - 02:03 PM

There is a line about "loving lambs" in Christina Rossetti's poem, "Grasmere Lambs," 1860. She was talking about the wooly kind in Westmoreland, however.
I tried looking for titles under which the words "loving lambs" might appear. "Loving Lambs" could have been part of a line in a sky poem with another title.

Ian C. and Burke, thanks for the almost back-to-back summaries. Someone is always asking questions about Amazing Grace, and, not remembering the details, I could easily add to the fakelore.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 11 Apr 03 - 06:10 PM

Several websites suggest that the tune for "Amazing Grace" is based on an American "plantation" or spiritual song. There seems to be no basis for this statement.

A hymn with the words "loving lambs" may exist, but it has not yet been identified.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 11 Apr 03 - 11:44 PM

I've seen dozens of sites which say the "Amazing Grace" tune comes from a plantation melody titled "Loving Lambs" (see Google search results). However, none, to my knowledge, give the source or lyrics. Kenneth W. Osbeck, who is a prolific writer of hymn stories, is highly resposible for this "theory". He says in his 101 Hymn Stories (Kregel, 1982, p. 31; underline added):
The tune, "Amazing Grace," is an early American folk melody. It was first known as a plantation melody entitled "Loving Lambs." The earliest known publication of this tune was found in a book entitled The Virginia Harmony, compiled by James P. Carrell and David S. Clayton and published in 1831 in Winchester, Virginia. Scarcely a hymnal appeared throughout the South during the remainder of the nineteenth century that did not include this hymn.
This is all that he writes about "Loving Lambs." He reiterates this "theory" in another book. From where did Osbeck get the information? Leaving aside the old information on the first appearance (see Burke's post above), I haven't found the song or melody with that title so far, though I've checked such indexes as Brunnings' Folk Song Index, Fergusson's Song Finder, Luchinsky's Song Index of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Lax and Smith's Great Song Thesaurus, Temperly's Hymn Tune Index, Abromeit's Index to African-American Spirituals), as well as several black music books (Lovel's Black Song, Epstein's Sinful Tunes and Spirituals, and so on), a number of minstrel music books, and major online index sites.

The only song with a similar title I've found is "Loving Lamb" ("lamb" here is in the singular), which is quoted with music in George Pullen Jackson's Another Sheaf of White Spirituals (1952; Folklorica, 1981, p. 70) from Revivalist (1868, No. 322). The text ("In evil long I took delight...; Chorus: O the Lamb, the loving Lamb") is said to be also by John Newton; the tune is a variant of "Pardoning Love" (in Southern Harmony, 1835, p. 268; Click here). The tune (the middle staff) somewhat resembles "Amazing Grace." Did the informant confound it with "Amazing Grace"?

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: Tam the bam fraeSaltcoatsScotland
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 09:18 AM

Over here in Scotland we consider it a Scottish song, and it was number 1 here in Britain by the Royal Scots dragoon gaurds. (Bagpipes and things like that)

Tom


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 09:41 AM

Finding Bob B's aside on Celtics a little hard to take, being a bit Celtic as well as everything else, I assert that nobody knows NOR could know where the tune came from, who wrote and when SINCE it is a very simple melody and there are Libraries of Books of Music containing the theme, all predating not just AG but the Colonies as well.


So without too much effort I can think of a bunch of popular ancient folk tunes that express the AG theme without looking into Classical lore.

In fact the American, and lately I notice the Australian, way is to hash up some already established folk tradition and call that it's own.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 09:55 AM

Steve Turner, in his Amazing Grace: The Story of America's Most Beloved Song (Ecco, 2002, pp. 122-3), writes:
"Amazing Grace" is often assumed to have Scottish origins, but this assumption might be based simply on its popularity as a bagpipe tune over the past thirty years. It wasn't thought of as a traditional Scottish tune before this. However, it could have seemed so natural as a bagpipe tune because in fact it was originally Scottish, the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards merely having returned it to its rightful home. Peter Van der Merwe, author of Origins of the Popular Style, argues that "Amazing Grace" is an "overhwhelmingly Scottish tune." He is convinced of this not merely because it uses the pentatonic scale but because it is "pentatonic in a specifically Scottish way."
~Masato


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 01:02 PM

The text of "In Evil Long I Took Delight" is in the Cyberhymnal, with a midi of its well-known tune (not "Amazing Grace"): In Evil Long
Music is attributed to Hugh Wilson (1800), and arrangement to Ralph E. Hudson, ca. 1885. Hugh Wilson was a Scot (1766-1824), Hudson (1843-1901) was from Ohio (wrote several religious songsters).

Newton is listed as composer on some 288 tunes in the Cyberhymnal (the Olney hymns) list, but only a few of these are given in complete form in the hymnal.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: Penny S.
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 07:01 PM

Did anyone notice if there ever was anything in that empty posting with my name up above? I definitely remember filling in my name with the S and (elsewhere), and a bit about how the name Newton could come from anywhere in these islands which had one of the root versions of English or Scots spoken in it, and need not be Scottish. I am a bit concerned that my work computer has a problem.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 07:53 PM

Unforgivable thread creep, but I couldn't resist. Ladies and Gentlemen, the FIG NEWTON!
Fig Newton

Penny S., sometimes odd things happen. I have submitted a post and only the first line or two shows up. Or a link is left out. Ours not to reason- or we would go nuts. Just the nature of the beast we think we know.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: Burke
Date: 14 Apr 03 - 07:28 PM

Bob Bolton, I'm still curious about the tune that's been attributed to Sir Henry Bishop.

I must admit that I find the "it sounds Scottish so it must be" unconvincing. There were lots of Scottish immigrants in the US who had a huge influence on the music being created in the Southern Mountains.

Guest Q, according to Cyberhymnal, John Newton wrote the words for 288 hymns. He is given credit for 1 tune: Wonders.

Wilson's "Martyrdom," is indeed a very old Scottish Hymn tune, known by many other names. It's frequently called "Avon." It was added to the Sacred Harp (Denson ed.) in 1966 as "Sacred Throne," arranged by Hugh McGraw. It's also in Sacred Harp (Cooper ed), but I've forgotten the name it's under & the arrangement there is awful. It's also in the Primitive Baptist hymnal: The Good Old Songs by Cayce (1913)

I think it might be best known in the US for being used with "Alas and did my Savior Bleed?"

Here's a bit more I've been given from:
"The Presbyterian Hymnal Companion" by LindaJo H. McKim (Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993):

"MARTYRDOM was composed by Hugh Wilson towards the end of the eighteenth century. It was published in R.A. Smith's "Sacred Music in St. George's Church" (Edinburgh, 1825), where he designated it as an Old Scottish Melody harmonized by himself. The tune later appeared in "The Seraph, a Selection of Psalms and Hymns" (1827) and was attributed to Hugh Wilson. A copyright suit occurred. The outcome determined Wilson the owner of the tune.

"Recent studies have suggested MARTYRDOM was derived from an earlier Scottish folk melody. The tune has also been called FENWICK, INVERNESS, AVON, ALL SAINTS, BOSTAL, and DRUMCLOG.
      
"Hugh Wilson (1766-1824) was born in Fenwick, Scotland, studied mathematics, and worked as a calculator and draftsman throughout his life. He led the psalm singing in the Secession Church."


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Subject: Tune Add: ST. MARY & GALLAHER
From: masato sakurai
Date: 25 May 03 - 01:28 AM

The two earliest records from Columbian Harmony (1829):

X: 1
T:ST. MARY
S:Columbian Harmony (1829) [The Hymnal 1982 Companion, vol. 3B, p. 1239]
M:3/2
L:1/4
K:G
(DE)|G4 B/A/G/A/|B4 (AG)|G4 E2| D4 D2|G4 (BG)|B4 A2|d4 B2|
w:A_rise my___ soul, my_ joy-ful pow'rs, And tri-umph_ in my God; A-
d4 (Bd)|G4 (EG)|G4 E2|D4 (DE)|G4 B/A/G/A/|B4 A2|G4 |]
w:wake my_ voice, and_ loud pro-claim His_ glo-rious___ grace a-broad.

X:2
T:GALLAHER
S:Columbian Harmony (1829) [The Hymnal 1982 Companion, vol. 3B, p. 1239]
M:3/2
L:1/4
K:C
(GA)|c4 ec|e4 (dc)|c4 A2|G4 (GA)|c4 (ec)|e4 (de)|
w:Come_ let us_ join our_ friends a-bove, Who_ have ob - tain'd the_
g4 e2|g4 (eg)|c4 c2|c4 A2|G4 (GA)|c4 (ec)|
w:prize; And on the_ ea-gle's wings of love, To_ joy ce -
e4 (dc)|c6|]
w:les-tial_ rise_.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 25 May 03 - 01:58 AM

For comparison:

X:3
T:LOVING LAMB
S:Revivalist (1868), No. 322 [George Pullen Jackson, Another Sheaf of White Spirituals, 1952; Folklorica, 1981, p. 70]
M:3/4
L:1/4
K:Bb
F|B2d/c/|B2d|(cB)G|F2F|B2d/c/|(B>c)d|Hf2||F|
w:In e-vil_long I took_ de-light, Un-aw'd by_ shame_ or fear, Till
B2d/c/|B2d|(cB)G|F2Hf|(fd)B/c/|d2c|HB2z||
w:a new_ ob-ject struck_ my sight And stopp'd_ my_ wild ca-reer.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: GUEST,B.
Date: 22 Aug 04 - 06:41 PM

This hymn was written in 1779 by John Newton who, until his early 20's, was an unbeliever. A decade later he had become a devout preacher.
The tune was known as "an early American Melody" and became a favorite of the Cherokees. It was sung on the Trail of Tears and can be considered the Cherokee National anthem.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: GUEST,B.
Date: 22 Aug 04 - 06:50 PM

The above comment was from www.powersource.com. (I posted my message prematurely and did not give proper credit.) This website reinforces discussions I have had with some of the Cherokee on the Reservation in North Carolina. On this site you can find the Cherokee translation of Amazing Grace.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 23 Aug 04 - 09:00 AM

No, but 'Fields of Athenry' is...


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: GUEST,Gwalarn, from Brittany
Date: 23 Aug 04 - 10:55 AM

As far as I understand, the question is : 'Amazing Grace' is or not a Celtic song. But all the answers are from the question : Where this song come from ?
As Breton coming from Bretons for more than 500 years, I consider myself as an actual and contemporary Celt, descendant of the first settlers in GB returned on the continent. Anyway, though this song is overfamous in all Great-Britain and the USA, there are Celts who don't know it : in Brittany, I didn't heard about it before my 15's, when I involved in traditional music, and it cames to me through the Scottish bag-pipes. Since the renewal of the Celtic identity in Brittany, Scottish songs are more and more famous. But this began only 30 years ago.

I just would like to understand what is a "Celtic" song ? The songs and the dances of my fathers in Brittany have no way in common with those in Ireland, and both our Breton, Irish & Scottish music is far from the music popular at the age of the Celtic expansion, 600 years BC.
In fact, what makes a song "Celtic" ? Its popularity in Celtic countries ? The fact that the oldest known version comes from a Celtic isle or a reknown Scottish musician ? You know that the music has no borders.

OK, those questions are for historians, musicologues, etc. Give me a help if you know some answer. But as ancient music player, I'll be unable to split a music between Celtic and non-Celtic. So : Is 'Amazing grace' Celtic ? I don't know, but I like singing it !


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 24 Aug 04 - 05:39 AM

The quote below places the tune "The Martyrs" to before 1679.

The Laird of Torfoot in an article which he penned when he returned from exile and from it I condense. "It was," says the Laird, "a fair Sabbath morning, 1st June. A.D. 1679, that an assembly of Covenanters sat down on the healthy mountains of Drumclog. All being in readiness, the women and children, and the old men, with their bonnets in their hands, and their long grey locks streaming in the wind, retired to a convenient distance, fervently singing a psalm to the tune of "The Martyrs"

In another book. Men of the Covenant, ".....Down the face of the slope the Covenanters advanced, singing the familiar verses of one of the Scottish metrical psalms, the 76th, to the fine old tune of "Martyrs".

In Judah's land, God is well known
His name's in Israel great;
In Salem is his tabernacle.
In Sion is his seat.
There arrows of his bow He break
The shield, the sword, the war,
More glorious Thou than hills of prey,
More excellent are by far. (etc.)

The meter fits Amazing Grace and could this be the same tune (or related to) the "Martyrdom" written by Hugh Wilson in 1800 which is obviously closely related to the tune known as Amazing Grace?


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: Burke
Date: 24 Aug 04 - 06:18 PM

Cyberhymnal has a tune called "Old Martyrs," Psalms (Edinburgh, Scotland: 1615) that is likely to be the tune mentioned. It's an alternate tune for Weep not for him. There are 3 common meter tunes available from that page, all written before 1779, when the Olney hymns were published. Any of them could have been a tune used with Newton's words during his lifetime.

I'm trying to hear how AG & Martyrdom seem closely related. They are both major, pentatonic, and 3/4 time with long, short rhythm. I find the tunes themselves pretty different.


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 24 Aug 04 - 07:01 PM

If you go to this site and scroll down to the MIDI of Avon, also known as Martyrdom, you can't help but hear the similaritiy with AG

http://www.geocities.com/cigneto/thctxt/en/amazinggr2.html


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: Burke
Date: 24 Aug 04 - 07:39 PM

Sorry, I can help but hear it. I'm very familiar with both. I looked at & listened to both before I asked you to explain. I think the 3/4 time with the long-short stresses, give them a similar feel. I don't find the tunes themselves all that similar.

Amazing Grace
Martyrdom


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Subject: RE: Is 'Amazing Grace' a Celtic song?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 24 Aug 04 - 07:53 PM

You really can't make a convincing connection between a tune called Martyrdom and one called The Martyrs without comparing the actual melodies. The metre is a very common one, and the word martyr is not exactly a rarity in Christian liturgy! Until shown otherwise, we must assume that there is no connection.

I hear no particular similarity between Old Martyrs as linked to above and Martyrdom, beyond the metrical form. Here is Martyrdom, as it appears in The Bristol Tune Book (Novello, 1863):

X:1
T:Martyrdom
C:Hugh Wilson
B:The Bristol Tune Book, Novello, 1863.
N:C.M.
L:1/8
Q:1/4=100
M:6/4
K:A
E4|A8 F4|E8 (A2 B2)|c8 B4|A8 c4|e8 c4|A8 c4|B8 e4|
c8 B4|A8 c4|d8 c4|B8 c4|E4 F4 (A2 B2)|c8 B4|A8|]

Rather more of a melodic resemblance, particularly in the first part.

"Celtic" is quite the wrong word to be using, of course; but most of you already know that. There's no need to rake over all the modern misapprehensions associated with the term for the eight millionth time: this is an old thread, after all.

If the melody eventually proves to be traceable with certainty to Scotland, let's call it Scottish, shall we? I don't see a great need desperately to be seeking a Scottish connection just because so many people want the song to be Scottish (and have been sorely disappointed where it comes to the authorship of the lyric) but it would be nice to see it nailed down at last.


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