A Musical Palindrome--Glory Be To Jesus (TLH #158)

While drifting off to sleep yesterday (where I do my best thinking!), it occurred to me that the first line of the hymn "Glory be to Jesus" contained a nice piece of musical symmetry--a musical palindrome.

As the melody steps down from A-E, then back up to A, the harmony performs a neat trick. The A major chord emphasized on the last syllable of "Jesus" (beats 3-4 of measure 2) is reached by a chord progression that is then "played backwards" as the hymn moves back from A major to F.

I hear the somewhat startling A major chord as a secondary dominant, as you'll see below. The colored markings under the chords show how the progression is symmetrical.

Try playing it! Being able to hear it might be a little tricky initially, but with practice it becomes much more obvious and interesting.

The complete score and lyrics below:

"Glory Be To Jesus," TLH 158, Text: 1 Pet. 1:19

Glory be to Jesus, Who in bitter pains / Poured for me the life-blood From His sacred veins!

Grace and life eternal In that blood I find; / Blest be His compassion, Infinitely kind!

Blest through endless ages Be the precious stream / Which from endless torments Did the world redeem!

Abel's blood for vengeance Pleaded to the skies; / But the blood of Jesus For our pardon cries.

Oft as earth exulting Wafts its praise on high, / Angel hosts rejoicing Make their glad reply.

Lift we, then, our voices, Swell the mighty flood, / Louder still and louder Praise the precious blood!

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