Monday, July 04, 2016

Ode to Joy / "Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee" -- an easy tune that's been in the news lately, for Tuesday's slow jam at Peace Lutheran in Springfield

Imprompteau ("scratch") orchestra at anti-Brexit demonstration, London, June 24

The tune is the theme from the final movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, a choral setting of "Ode to Joy" by German poet Friedrich Schiller. It is the official anthem of the European Union.

The night after voters in England voted last month to leave the EU, it was performed live outside St. Martin-in-the-Fields by a scratch orchestra of musicians and singers, mostly young, from around Europe and the UK (shown in this video produced by Apple and Biscuit Recordings of London). It's a grand piece of music, and one that conveys the aspirations for peace in Europe since Beethoven's time. And it was especially appropriate as those hopes dimmed with the "Brexit" vote.

Luckily for us, it's also a chestnut that gets played a lot by dulcimer clubs.

For an arrangement by Heidi Mueller that has the notes, backup (guitar) chords and dulcimer tab for a chord-melody arrangement that doesn't get carried away on exotic piano-style chords, go to the Bellingham (Wash.) Dulcimer Club website and scroll down the directory (it's alphabetical) till you get to "Ode to Joy." Click on the link that says "chord-melody in boldface italics. Or follow this link:

Lyrics are available in the Timeless Truths collection of hymns at

Timeless Truths has sheet music in G. But ours, of course, is in "D for dulcimer."

Below are several YouTube clips:

  • Christian contemporary crossover artist Amy Grant and veteran country music performer Vince Gill at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, Dec. 18, 2014 for the Grant/Gill annual Christmas concert with Jenny Gill & Corrina Gill.

  • A pickup group performing the tune as a straight-up bluegrass number at Bob's Barn jamboree in Lake Odessa, Mich., Feb. 2, 2014, before the regular 4-7 p.m. jam there.

  • A flash mob in happier times performing the original, Beethoven's version, on Europe Day 2015 in Strasbourg, France, by the orchestra and chorus of Strasbourg University, directed by Corinna Niemeier.

  • And finally, a parody on John Oliver's "Last Week Tonight" show just before the UK voted to leave the European Union. CONTENT ADVISORY: If you don't like hearing the "f-bomb," you won't like it ... no matter how clever it may be to others (but it is clever if you have a British-type sense of humor and find the idea of having carnal relations with a 27-nation economic union amusing).

    Click here:

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