Amazing Grace Essay Research Paper Amazing Grace

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Amazing Grace Essay, Research Paper Amazing Grace: The Journey of an Unforgettable Hymn? Henry Braithwaite Music 205 3/27/00 How does a hymn become so universal? Where does it gain its ability to be transformed into almost every style of music known to man? The hymn ?Amazing Grace? is such a hymn. Its existence has been marked by evolutions upon evolution in its use, but has always remained the same in its meaning and effect. To trace the path of this hymn?s existence, one must begin in England. From there it has blossomed and spread out from the English way of life and grew up in the United States. From early American times to the present the hymn has become something extraordinary. What it has become is one of the most universal traditions that may be sung among men and

women everywhere in a vast array of styles. John Newton was the creator of this hymn. Its creation is a story all in itself. John Newton began in the navy but he soon left the navy and began worn on another ship, most likely a slave ship. From there he gained his own slave-trading ship and he began his life as a slave-trader. Thanks to John Newton, historians know much about the being a slave-trader through the extensive journals and letters that all survived from his work on slave ships. What started this amazing hymn came as the ?wretch? of a slave trader and sea captain was on his ship during an incredible storm. In the midst of the storm, John Newton was said to have exclaimed ?God have mercy on me (Moyer).? That night he contemplated what he had yelled and had come to the

realization that he did believe in God and this was a sign to him (Moyer). John Newton had been living his life as a slave trader, a position he himself thought was immoral and wretched (Moyer). It was that night that the feelings for the hymn began to manifest themselves inside the mind of John Newton. Finally convinced that his current way of life was improper, John Newton decided to take a more religious way of living to help himself and others. The hymn was finally produced for one of his weekly prayer meetings around 1780. He had set up these weekly prayer meetings at The Parish of Olney in England where he worked and produced many other hymns as well. That one single prayer meeting marks the starting point of a time-line filled with additions and alterations for the hymn

?Amazing Grace.? So why has this hymn been taken into so many forms of music? In the 1960?s the song had really started to break out of its common form found in most churches. Now instead of a simple arrangement of notes, the song began to take on more moving notes (Moyer). In the 1970?s disc jockeys were requested to play the song, its popularity was growing all over. There are many reasons for this phenomenon. One such reason lies in human beings and our attachment to fond memories. For some inexplicable reason this hymn is known to most everyone in North America. When hearing the hymn, people seem to feel like a very fond and warm memory is refreshed and this soothes the mind and soul, creating this universal closeness to the hymn (Moyer). The effect of the hymn is like ?roots

reaching so far down (Moyer).? There is a feeling that we all can share. Jean Ritchie says, ?It heals? when asked about the common feeling this hymn provokes. Dewie Williams, says, ?It just do something for me? when he either listens to or sings the hymn. The source of the melody for this song is the only unknown fact. Some believe that is was an early American folk tune. Someone just came across the hymn one day and started singing ?Amazing Grace? and noticed how nice it fit. Another idea to the origin of the melody may be from a ballad (Moyer). Another interesting idea as to the origin of the hymn may be directly or closely related to the hymn?s author. It is possible to believe that the hymn received its melody from a slave song, which John Newton may have heard. One of these