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Sunday, 6 November 2011
Amazing Grace using only the black keys
Wintley Phipps is the President of The U.S. Dream Academy, an organization for children of prisoners.
He makes a statement that most Negro Spirituals were written on the black keys of the piano, and then he proves it. He plays “Every time I feel the Spirit”, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, and then “Amazing Grace”, a so-called “white spiritual.” The white spirituals were written by white composers who used only the black keys.
The five keys (notes) are called the pentatonic scale, but in early America were referred to as the “slave scale”. They built the power and pathos of the Negro Spirituals with their unique West African Sorrow Chant sound.
The words to Amazing Grace were written by John Newton, a former Captain of a Slave Ship. After Newton came to salvation through Jesus Christ, he heard a melody coming from the belly of the ship, and it is believed it was to that sorrowful melody that he wrote the words and named it Amazing Grace. Go to the Copyright Office and you will see “Words, John Newton. Music, Unknown.”
Wintley says he believes God planned it to be written that way to remind us that we are all humans in common, no matter what race, creed, or color we happen to be. We are all connected by God’s Amazing Grace.