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"Simple Gifts," Lyrics, Text Format
"Simple Gifts," Lyrics, Text Format

Beginning syncopation with a dominate arpeggio.



  • Grade: Fifth
  • Origin: USA – Joseph Brackett (1797-1848) Elder Shaker – 1848
  • Key: F Major 
  • Time: 4/4
  • Form: AB – verse/refrain (no repeated phrases)
  • Rhythm: beginners: | ta ti ti ti ti ti ti | ta ti ti ta ti ti |
    | ta ta ta ta | ti ti ti ti ta ta | ti ti ti ti ta ti ti |
    | ta ti ti ta (ta) | ta/a ta/ ti | syncopation,
    | ti ti ti ti ta/ ti | syncopation, | ta ti ti ta ta |
  • Pitches: intermediate: So Ti Do Re Mi Fa So
  • Intervals: intermediate: So/Do (P4), Mi\Do/Do (M3), Re\Ti\So descending dominate arpeggio (V, C), So\Re (P4), So/Do (P5), So\Mi (m3), Re\So (P5)
  • Musical Elements: notes: half, dotted quarter, quarter, eighth; rest: quarter: pickup beat, dominate arpeggio, syncopation, melody skips and steps up and down the staff (scale), with no repeated phrases 
  • Key Words: USA history: Shakers, USA geography: Albany NY; Shaker dance song, Shaker religion: promoted equality among men and women in the 1780’s; character education, gift, simple, free, ought, ourselves, valley of love, delight, simplicity, gained, bow, bend, ashamed, taught, richer, learn, expect, true friends; contractions: ’tis (it its), ’twill (it will), shan’t (shall not), we’ll (we will)
  • Recorder: intermediate: introducing B flat, syncopation, descending dominate arpeggio (C major)

“Simple Gifts”

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be.
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning we come round right.
‘Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
‘Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,
Then we’ll all live together and we’ll all learn to say,
3. Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
‘Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of “me”,
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we’ll all live together with a love that is real.
Additional Formats (click to enlarge)
"Simple Gifts," Music Format
Click to enlarge: "Simple Gifts," Beats Format
Click to Enlarge: "Simple Gifts," Rhythm Format
pitch numbers
Click to Enlarge: "Simple Gifts," Pitch Number Format
Click to Enlarge: "Simple Gifts," Solfeggio Format
letter names
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