- Feb 28, 2009
Amazing Grace: Use Only Black Notes
February 21, 2008 by April Lorier, Author and Encourager Recommend
...Wintley Phipps.... makes a statement that most Negro Spirituals were written on the black keys of the piano, and then he proves it. He plays "Every time I feel the Spirit", "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot", and then "Amazing Grace", a so-called "white spiritual." The white spirituals were written by white composers who used only the black keys.
Because I am a music teacher, I know those five keys (notes) are called the pentatonic scale, but in early America were referred to as the "slave scale". They build the power and pathos of the Negro Spirituals with their unique West African Sorrow Chant sound.
The words to Amazing Grace were written by John Newton, a former Captain of a Slave Ship. After Newton came to salvation through Jesus Christ, he heard a melody coming from the belly of the ship, and it is believed it was to that sorrowful melody that he wrote the words and named it Amazing Grace. Go to the Copyright Office and you will see "Words, John Newton. Music, Unknown."