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Beyond All Earning

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  • #2602

    Gary Yoder

    Curious about your thoughts on this hymn. I think the chorus could be pretty challenging for congregations to sing with the bII6/Neapolitan chord. The tuning would be critical.

    Otherwise, it feels pretty intuitive to me. Maybe even a bit trite…

    The text is unapologetically didactic and doctrinal. Verse 1, God’s grace is freely offered to all, not a select few; Verse 2, God is at work in us ‘to will and to do’, yet has created us with the freedom to cooperate with Him; Verse 3, our spiritual security is based on our abiding in Jesus, ‘who is our life’ (Col. 3:4); Verse 4, grace (God at work) will triumph in the end.

  • #2604

    Gary. At the congregation I grew up at, this would totally be a youth group favorite! And if it were in the Hymns of The Church, it would also get chosen by someone in the audience at every hymn sing, whether or not they had a history of being able to sing the Neopolitan, well.

    I did find measures 2-3 and 8-9 a bit awkward. Having the last syllables of those words landing on the downbeat. Also in the penultimate measure, I could see the F to Bb jump getting “butchered”.

    Just my observations after a few quick listen-throughs. I do rather enjoy this piece tho.


  • #2610

    Lynn Martin

    I like the tune, but don’t know what to say about it, as I’m not familiar with how to treat Neapolitan chords. However, I would suggest rhyming the last stanza, because I miss the rhyme there.

    The text doesn’t claim to be special, which is good; it fills its intent of didacticism, but isn’t highly poetic.

  • #2613

    Gary Yoder

    Thanks for the feedback, Lyndon and Lynn! Good points all round. I definitely work out something better with a rhyme in that last stanza. In progress. 🙂

    I think in this context that chord is functionally just a chromatic submediant (or bVI) expansion of the subdominant (Eb) harmony. It isn’t behaving as a Neapolitan ordinarily would, which would be leading directly to dominant harmony (even though it is in the typical inversion with the typical doubling for one). I’ve a mind to see what happens if I change the ending so that it does behave more as a normal Neapolitan. But then I risk losing the climax of the harmony and melody on the word “Jesus”, which I rather like.

    We’ll see. I definitely want to improve that last stanza of text.

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