Tune my heart.
Have you ever tried to tune an instrument? I’m awful at it. I don’t have a great ear. So I have to use a bunch of different methods when tuning my guitar.
One of those is harmonics, where you place your finger at either 1/2 or 1/3 the interval of the string length without pressing it down against a fret. When you pluck the string, it rings out the true pitch of the string. You then use that method to match the pitches of each of the strings and bada-boom bada-bing, you’re guitar is in tune.
That’s what this arrangement is – the process of tuning your heart.
“Tune my heart” only appears once in the hymn and it’s in the very first line. When I started to arrange this around that idea, I realized that the same harmonic notes I use to tune my guitar are in the first line of the hymn, just played in a different order. So while you might think I started the hymn that way because it sounds nice, the real reason is that it represents tuning up and getting ready to play.
Now, have you ever heard two notes that are out of tune? If you’ve ever listened to another one of my arrangements, or a sixth grade violin recital, then you absolutely have.
When two notes are out of tune, there’s dissonance. It sounds like a wave (unintentional pun, since they are quite literally sound waves). The further away from being in tune, the more waves you get. As they approach becoming in tune, the waves start to slow down until finally they stop and the notes become one.
And that’s when a musical phenomenon happens.
When you play a perfectly in tune instrument, you’re actually playing more notes than you think you are. They’re called overtones and every instrument has them. Some more than others. It’s the sound of the wood or brass or strings that have their own unique signature. This is why no two instruments sound exactly alike.
Really nice and expensive instruments are capable of harnessing those overtones because of the way they’re made and the materials that are used. As wood ages, more of those tones come out. That’s why old guitars and violins are so highly sought after. It’s sometimes hard to put your finger on why an instrument sounds so much better than another, but that’s the reason. It’s the tones of the instrument that you can’t necessarily hear, but you can definitely feel. It’s why when you strum a perfectly in-tune guitar, it feels bigger than life.
But all of this only occurs when you are in tune.
When I think of tuning my heart – or being in tune with the spirit – that’s what I think of. It’s all about getting rid of the dissonance and being able to feel and hear things that you otherwise can’t.
In the arrangement, I’m using a polyphonic octave generator guitar pedal. It’s the same pedal I used to get the organ sound in We’ll Bring the World it’s Truth. It takes whatever note I play a multiplies is up and down by two octaves, plus the original note. So while I’m only picking one note, I’m actually playing five. It seemed appropriate to use it on this one to get that bigger than life feeling.
NOTE: This means there are more frequencies being played than your little iphone speaker can let you hear. So put on some headphones or listen to it through some good speakers in order to hear all the notes being played.
I had to use the guitar pedal because ultimately, I’m out of tune. We all are. That’s the point of this hymn. We’re not perfect.
But just like instruments, we need to be constantly tuning ourselves. I’m not that great at it. I wish I was better. But the times that I do, I can feel the spirit more in my life and I realize that I’m not the only note.
Also…….. This arrangement is my little ode to Mack Wilberg. All of my favorite hymn arrangements inevitably have his name on them. Good grief that man knows how to make you have lots and lots of feelings.