How Great Thou Art: Piano Arrangement by Chas Hathaway

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How Great Thou Art

I’ve always loved the hymn, How Great Thou Art. I often think of it while walking through the woods or looking at the stars. It’s easy to feel lost in such a big universe, but just think: the Creator of everything is your Father. And He IS great. And to think that His Son is my older Brother, is just amazing.

The melody comes from an old Swedish folk tune, but here’s the story behind the the original lyrics, as recorded on Assist News Service:

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA (ANS) In 1885, a young Swedish pastor named Karl Gustav Boberg was walking home from church when he was caught in a severe thunderstorm, and almost died! He then watched as the storm passed, the sun came out and shone on the waters of the bay, and the birds started singing in the trees.

This juxtaposition made him reflect on God’s mighty power and control over nature, and he was inspired (in the literal sense of the word, I believe) to write a poem about what he had witnessed. He named the poem “O Store Gud” (O Mighty God), and submitted the poem to the local newspaper, which published it. That was the end of things…or so he thought.

Carl Gustaf Boberg who wrote the original verses to what

became How Great Thou Art.

A few years later, Pastor Boberg was attending a conference when he heard a group of people singing an old Swedish folk tune, but with some sort of different words. (This folk tune is similar to, but distinctly different from, the tune we sing today. For one thing, it is in 3/4, while the tune we use now is in 4/4. The Swedish folk melody also was sung at a faster tempo, and was just more “peppy.”) He was amazed to discover that those words were the words to his own poem! This new hymn had become popular throughout Sweden, and soon spread to other parts of northern Europe, including Estonia.

 

Please let me know if you would like to see this arrangement on sheet music! I’d be glad to do it if there’s interest.

Update: I did create sheet music for this arrangement. You can get it here: http://chashathaway.com/music/sheetmusic/how-great-thou-art

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