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Turn Your Eyes


Today’s main task has been working on Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, a classic early 20th century hymn that I’m planning to include in my worship leading debut at Thorpe Acre this week.

The main challenge with such pieces is that there isn’t one definitive version but all sorts of versions recorded by diverse artists and in a multitude of settings. I found a fairly vanilla version on CCLI’s SongSelect site and we have a licence that let me download the lead sheet but it wasn’t quite to my taste… so I’ve made corrections.

The verse begins on the major 3rd and then puts a toe down to what is notated as a sharpened second; I can’t seen any reason not to show that as a minor 3rd instead and so I’ve made that change. As an added advantage, I’m going to do it in E major and that lets me use G natural rather than F double sharp, which will be much less confusing for others following the dots. I’ve also made quite a few tweaks to the chords: a mixture of what makes sense to me based on the melody, gives some nod toward functional harmony and works well on guitar, which is what I will be leading from.

That took a little time and then a bit more to work up my version of the score with Lilypond… and then a lot more to get all the tweaks in place. However, I’m pretty pleased with it now. I’ve even got details like numbering for the start of each verse and coping with the fact that the first and third verses have an extra syllable compared to verse two (a dotted slur and the \ignoreMelismata directive to make the lyrics on the outer verses stick to the right notes. As well as advancing my Lilypond-fu, it also gives me another example piece to build the next one.

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