Open Mic Adventures XXIV: “Softly and Tenderly”

I’m back in the hymnbook for this edition of Open Mic Adventures, which at this point is pretty much “anything I play anywhere, in any context, that I happen to record.”  But that makes for an unwieldy title.

Inaccurate labels aside, I played “Softly and Tenderly” for my church’s Sunday morning service on Sunday, 12 March 2023.  It was the invitational (the “altar call” piece, for the rest of you Pentecostals out there), but this recording was made before service.  You can hear some chit-chat in the background, but not as much as the recording in “Open Mic Adventures XXII: ‘Blessed Assurance’.”

This hymn is in Ab major in my church’s hymnal.  Ab major is one of the harder keys for me to play, but I’ve grown accustomed to it.  You can hear some hesitation in the early bars here, as I’m trying to discern what harmony I’m supposed to be going to on some chords (and go to Eb instead of Db in error a few times, though it works… sort of).  There’s also a Bb major chord in the third measure (which resolves to Eb7 in the fourth measure) that always throws me off (as the second scale degree in Ab major, Bb should be a Bb minor chord, but here it’s functioning as a secondary dominant, V7/V7, pointing to the aforementioned Eb7 chord).  In the chorus, there’s an F7, which instead of resolving to Bbm or Bb7, moves to Eb7 (V7/II going to V7), but that one usually doesn’t catch me off-guard.

Anyway, you can hear it for yourself here:

Music theory—it’s a beautiful thing when you hear it!  I could have played a bit more “softly and tenderly” in the left-hand accompaniment on some sections, but I think I captured the peaceful and reflective nature of the hymn well, no?

Happy Listening!


Other Editions of Open Mic Adventures:


8 thoughts on “Open Mic Adventures XXIV: “Softly and Tenderly”

  1. “Calling, lost sinner come home”. It’s sort of remarkable, I think, that with all the music we listen to from the time we’re born until forever, the brain recognizes the opening notes and supplies the words – all without any conscious effort on the part of the listener.

    Very nice, Port.

    Liked by 1 person

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