Humble Heart is a beautifully lyrical piece that is easily accessible to very young bands, yet remains true to the original, simple Shaker melody.
Genre: Band | # of Players: Standard
Level: 1.5 | Duration: 2:15
Timpani [2 drums]
Cymbals [Suspended & Crash]
Marimba [4-octave] (optional)
Vibraphone [Bells if unavailable]
In writing this composition, I tried to make a lyrical piece that was easily accessible to very young bands, and yet remain true to this simple, beautiful Shaker melody. The ranges are all within reach of a first-year student, with rhythms simple enough to be learned in a very short time. The only challenges will be keeping the tune as legato as possible and playing a few countermelodies that require some independent counting, although they are doubled in many sections. However, these concepts are ones that young players need to learn and work on early.
I sometimes think some original young band music lacks good melody, harmony and direction, but I hope you will find this piece accentuates the beauty and peace this melody provides. Here are some lyrics taken from the George DeWitt Hymnal, New Lebanon, 1822 that speak to a Humble Heart and address a young student’s insecurities of not feeling they are the best, biggest or richest in their class.
"The proud and lofty I despise,
And bless the meek and low.
I hear the humble soul that cries,
And comfort I bestow.
Of all the trees among the wood
I've chose the little vine;
The meek and low are nigh to me,
The humble heart is mine."
"Tall cedars fall before the wind,
The tempest breaks the oak,
While slender vines will bow and bend
And rise beneath the stroke.
I've chosen me a pleasant grove
And set my lovely vine
Here in my vinyard I will rove,
The humble heart is mine.”
George DeWitt Hymnal, New Lebanon, 1822