Hello everyone,

I just joined this forum. I'm a musician and a christian, I play saxophone and piano for worship and my husband and I work on worship services together. I'd like to expand the range of songs we do, in our congregation although some people like the rocky type worship music others I think would like alternatives to this, and not necessarily classical hymns. Therefore, I'm looking for suggestions for songs a congregation can sing, that I'd be able to get hold of sheet music for as transcribing is quite time consuming and our pianist needs to have the sheet music in front of her. I'd really like to find worship songs that are singable by a congregation but have a touch of blues, jazz or soul about them. I'm probably asking a lot but I'm sure there must be some out there. I have written 1 or 2 myself but I'd like to find more material to draw upon. Any suggestions?

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Hymn #728 in the United Methodist Hymnal (1982 edition), is "Come Sunday", words and music by Duke Ellington.  It is a lovely song, and thoroughly in Ellingtonian jazz style.  It has a separate part for the pianist, well-written "as is" (often even written accompaniments don't sound good unless the player knows how to read in between the lines and make jazz happen).

Only the refrain of "Come Sunday", and possibly the verse, is singable by a congregation -- the intro goes up to an F.

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Go back a few years to Ron Kenoly (80-90's).  Think "Hallelujah, Jesus Is Alive"  If you find an arrangement you may have to write a walking bass (not really that hard -- just put a string of quarter notes where it feels right).  Most musicians tend to rockify Kenoly, but he's jazz/Gospel at his core.

Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir / Carol Cymbala and her arrangers produced a number of superb choir arrangements of hymns and original songs, some of which could be done, conceivably, by congregation with worship team doing the hard stuff, the people singing the melody (Cymbala does not read music herself and her music identifies with "regular people")

Along that line, your local classical Pentecostal church (Assemblies of God, for instance) may have all sorts of music in Black or Urban Gospel styles, though again finding something with an accompaniment may be a problem.

"A touch of blues, jazz or soul" is a good goal -- real jazz harmony defies ordinary people to sing it (it was the music of the expert popular musicians of its era, and designed for listening rather than singing).

The pictures are tiny, but I think you are quite young.  Therefore - I would strongly recommend learning to transcribe music quickly.  You don't need classes in school to do this; you just need to do lots and lots and lots of it.  As long as pianists still read notes, learning from written music (coupled with hearing, if they haven't heard the style much) enables a player to capture the style of a song in detail, not just a few riffs tossed in.  Also, you yourself will have an exciting learning experience, getting up-front and personal with a style.


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