On the Music in Sisters Singing
by Jerry Paul
In principle musical customers of Sisters Singing can sound just like the authors, because all the songs are performance-ready, robustly so:
- Nothing is dumbed down; the songs are notated accurately and with full rhythmic nuances.
- Vocal harmony parts are included where appropriate.
- Large, legible music symbols are viewable in performance (from far away) in spite of the fact that the book’s height and width are smaller than usual sheet music.
- Tempos are given for every song.
- The chords especially are authentic and fully resplendent.
- Wherever the bass note is not the root of its chord, the note is shown clearly.
- Unusual chords are fully explained in an index containing details such as guitar fretboard diagrams.
- The chord index contains a condensed music theory lesson regarding chord composition.
- In songs with more than one verse of lyrics under a single music staff, lyric syllables are nudged to elucidate rhythmic changes from one verse to the next.
- Page-turns are placed so as to present a minimum of interruption in performance.
The songs were not just cleaned up and made beautiful, from hand-written versions. You see, many of the songs had never been written down at all. So our book is the only place the sheet music exists. In those cases I listened to recordings and deduced every note, every rhythm, every chord.
In many cases the recording contained only a solo singer with no instrument. To help those songs become much more interesting I created suitable chords and obtained the authors’ approvals.
(Editor’s Note: Jerry Paul, consumate musician, sound engineer and all-around wonderful being, transcribed twelve original songs for Sisters Singing from audio recordings, and transcribed all the remaining songs from sheet music into the beautiful music section in the book. We are deeply grateful for his dedication to our book and to his good heart.)