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One of my favorite improvising ideas is adding contrast for an interesting sound. The excerpt listed above is taken from the hymn “Count Your Blessings”. The phrase is the last sentence of the last verse. This idea can be used on any of the verses at this point in song…but I like to save special effects like this for the final verse.
Here’s what helped me come up with the idea: I knew that an A7 chord was the basic chord for the first two measures of this example. So… I played “stepping notes” within the A7 chord frame and entered into a D major chord on the syllable “jour-” and back to an A7 for “ney’s” and ended with a D chord on “end”. The ascending notes in the piano score ran contrary to the melody in the vocal score…creating an energetic drive to the message of the song.
The complete arrangement of “Count Your Blessings” congregational style can be purchased below.