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[Lord, I want to be a Christian]

Tune Information

Title: [Lord, I want to be a Christian]
Meter: with refrain
Incipit: 11335 32111 35653
Key: D Major
Source: African American spiritual
Copyright: Public Domain


Lord, I Want to Be a Christian

Lord, I want to be a Christian
in my heart, in my heart.
Lord, I want to be a Christian in my heart.
In my heart, in my heart,
Lord, I want to be a Christian in my heart.

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Both text and tune were first published in Folk Songs of the American Negro (1907), compiled by brothers Frederick Work and John W. Work, Jr. (PHH 476). This music is an example of the slow, sustained, long-phrased tune found in a number of African American spirituals. In the manner of many such spirituals, this is a call-and-response song, in which a soloist (or choir in unison) sings the stanzas (first two lines) and everyone responds by singing the chorus (last two lines) in four-part harmony. The soloist's lines could be sung rather freely, and the rest in more regular rhythm, but not fast. This music is intended to be reverent, with little, if any, accompaniment (perhaps piano).

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988


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Baptist Hymnal 1991 #489
Text: Lord, I Want to Be a Christian
  • Full Score (PDF)
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
  • Bulletin Score (PDF)
Christian Classics Ethereal Hymnary #322
  • Four-part harmony, full-score (PDF, NWC)
The Cyber Hymnal #4088
Text: Lord, I Want to Be a Christian
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #264
Text: Lord, I Want to Be a Christian
  • Full Score (PDF)
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF, XML)
  • Bulletin Score (PDF, XML)
Worship and Rejoice #457
Text: Lord, I Want to Be a Christian


Instances (1 - 36 of 36)
TextPage Scan

African American Heritage Hymnal #463

TextAudioPage Scan

Baptist Hymnal 1991 #489

TextFlexscorePage Scan

Baptist Hymnal 2008 #536

Cáliz de Bendiciones #215

TextPage Scan

Celebrating Grace Hymnal #507


Chalice Hymnal #589


Christian Classics Ethereal Hymnary #322

Christian Science Hymnal #525

Text InfoTextFlexscoreAudioPage Scan

Glory to God #729

Hymnal #444


Hymns for a Pilgrim People #323

TextPage Scan

Hymns of Faith #342

Hymns of the Saints #464

TextPage Scan

Lead Me, Guide Me (2nd ed.) #387


Lift Every Voice and Sing II #138

Mil Voces para Celebrar #215

TextPage Scan

One in Faith #514

Praise! Our Songs and Hymns #381

Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexscoreAudioPage Scan

Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #264

TextPage Scan

Renew! Songs and Hymns for Blended Worship #145

Santo, Santo, Santo #621

Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #319


Small Church Music #3843

TextPage Scan

Songs for Life #40


Songs of Zion #76

The Covenant Hymnal #345


The Cyber Hymnal #4088


The New Century Hymnal #454

Page Scan

The New National Baptist Hymnal #490

TextPage Scan

The New National Baptist Hymnal (21st Century Edition) #156

TextPage Scan

The Presbyterian Hymnal #372


The United Methodist Hymnal #402

TextFlexscorePage Scan

The Worshiping Church #563

TextPage Scan

This Far By Faith #234

TextFlexscorePage Scan

Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #530

TextScoreAudioPage Scan

Worship and Rejoice #457

Include 26 pre-1979 instances
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