‘WONDROUS LOVE’ traditional shape-note setting (downloadable PDF)


An adaptation of the haunting, traditional American shape-note hymn 'WONDROUS LOVE' (a.k.a. 'What Wondrous Love Is This?'), featuring a traditional harmony part, as published in 'An Appalachian Collection' tune book.  Please see below for more information and audio and video samples.



An adaptation of the traditional American shape-note hymn ‘WONDROUS LOVE’ (a.k.a. ‘What Wondrous Love Is This?’), featuring a traditional harmony part, as published in ‘An Appalachian Collection’ tune book. A very similar version was recorded on The Piper in the Holler album. Though this hymn is uniquely American, the melody may have some English DNA, an early version having likely been used for a 1701 pirate ballad about Captain [William] Kidd (among other English songs). Chord symbols are included in this setting (but not lyrics). [NB: The harmony part for this setting requires the use of a C-natural. For chanters that do not have C-natural keys or an extra C-natural soundhole, this note may be produced using ‘forked’ fingering and/or by applying a piece of tuning tape over the majority of the C-soundhole.]

If you are seeking the more contemporary setting of ‘WONDROUS LOVE’ that is closer to what was published in ‘An Ift of Efts’ collection and recorded on Manawatu Scottish Pipe Band’s The Calling album, please see here. There also exists a printed arrangement of this melody for Highland pipes and organ which may be found here. If you are seeking the basic melody alone, without harmony parts, it is available for free here.

Audio sample:
[coming soon]

A video of shape-note singers singing the original shape-note hymn (which this version is based upon):