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Breaking chains (and complex notation)

One of the songs I’m planning to use at ASTAD on Sunday is Break Every Chain (There is Power in the Name of Jesus) by Will Reagan. Lyrically, it is pretty simple – both verses are repeated lines, ending with multiple times round the phrase ‘break every chain’. Even the bridge section isn’t massively long or complex. However, the official notation (IMHO) makes it all look much more complicated.

The main subdivision is the semiquaver with a few demisemiquavers thrown in for good measure. Also, very little falls on the beat; it is mainly ties between notes, leading to complex syncopation. Quite the rhythmic exercise, in fact, and it may well be an accurate transcription of a seminal performance of the song. However, to me, it seems to be over the top. It is a simple song (yes, all FOUR chords are included…); I’m pretty sure that I could listen to several recorded versions and not find one that follows these dots.

What I’m going to give the team is a simplified version, probably with the word freely emblazoned at the top. There is a place for precise notation but, in this context, I think the written score should be designed as a launch pad rather than taking the appearance of tangled pitfalls and snares.

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