Ted's Piano World *


Inspired by a trip from Massachusetts to Colorado's Pikes Peak in 1893, Katharine Lee Bates wrote the poem, "America, the Beautiful".  Samuel Ward, a church organist, had conceived his music nine years earlier during a ferry ride from Coney Island to Newark.  Titled "Materna", his music was intended to accompany an old hymn, "O Mother Dear, Jerusalem".  Ward's music and Bates's words were first joined in 1904; however, Ward had died in the prior year, never knowing that his music would be immortalized as America's loveliest anthem.

The first verse is an arpeggio-style arrangement, wherein the harmonies are spread out over four to eight notes.  Liberal usage of the sustain pedal gives them time to form and be heard.  The performer can make it sound better than any digital file could.  At home, I like to play the first verse solo, then ask listeners to sing along with the finale.  Have a supply of tissues on hand for those who participate!


America_piano  .mid preview (2:17)  10 kb
Page 1 227 kb

America  .zip all files:
  3 music pages in pdf format
  2 MIDI files,
  Finale 2005 file,
  XML transportable file
240 kb

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