Category Archives: Music

Christmas Music for Classical Guitar

Christmas Guitar

It’s never too early to begin practicing music for Christmas!

Download a free PDF Songbook as my gift to you this Christmas season. It contains 30 Christmas hymns and songs arranged for Classical Guitar:

  1. O Come, O Come Emmanuel • VENI EMMANUEL
  2. Comfort, Comfort Ye My People • THIRSTING
  3. Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming • ES IST EIN’ ROS’ ENTSPRUGEN
  4. O Little Town of Bethlehem • ST LOUIS
  5. O Sing a Song of Bethlehem • KINGSFOLD
  6. O Come, All Ye Faithful • ADESTE FIDELES
  7. It Came Upon the Midnight Clear • CAROL
  8. Angels We Have Heard on High • GLORIA
  9. Angels from the Realms of Glory • REGENT SQUARE
  10. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing • MENDELSSOHN
  11. The First Noel • THE FIRST NOEL
  12. What Child Is This?• GREENSLEEVES
  13. Gentle Mary Laid Her Child • TEMPUS ADEST FLORIDUM
  14. Away in a Manger • MUELLER
  15. As with Gladness Men of Old • DIX
  16. Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence • PICARDY
  17. Who Is This So Weak and Helpless • EIFIONYDD
  18. Joy to the World • ANTIOCH
  19. All My Heart This Night Rejoices • WARUM SOLLT’ ICH MICH DENN GRAMEN
  20. See Amid the Winter’s Snow • SEE AMID THE WINTER’S SNOW
  21. Bring a Torch Jeanette Isabella • BRING A TORCH
  22. The Coventry Carol • COVENTRY CAROL
  23. I Saw Three Ships • I SAW THREE SHIPS
  24. In the Bleak Mid-Winter • CRANHAM
  25. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day • WALTHAM
  26. Sing We Now of Christmas • FRENCH CAROL
  27. Good Christian Men, Rejoice • IN DULCI JUBILO
  28. How Great Our Joy • JUNST
  29. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen • GOD REST YOU MERRY
  30. Silent Night • STILLE NACHT

May you and your family find the peace of God in Christ and rejoice with “exceedingly great joy” in Him (Matthew 2:10).

Christmas Music for Classical Guitar

More music for Classical Guitar

Image above made with Unsplash

 

Can Music Be Evil or Worldly?

Rock Guitar

You may have read books or watched videos that teach on music and warn against various styles of music, pointing to their association with things that are ungodly. Those discussions about music can be both helpful and at times misleading. They are helpful in that—

  1. They make us aware that we should be concerned about the music we hear.
  2. They expose some very real issues of sin and abuse of music to promote evil.

But they can be misleading in that—

  1. They tend to pick on just 1 or 2 styles of music (Rock, Pop), and give the rest a pass.
  2. They often misidentify the problem.

Let me give you some guidelines for thinking about music as it relates to sin. First we must realize that—

1) All music belongs to God.

All music that we create is a part of this world. And all music belongs to God as a part of His creation. God gave us music to enjoy and glorify Him in all of life.

2) Music itself cannot be “sacred” or “secular.”

When you are considering just the music—not music and words together—not music in other contexts—just evaluating the tune—music itself is not “sacred” or “secular.” It is a false dichotomy to divide music into categories—thinking that God has His music over here—music that He prefers and delights in—and the world has its music over there that it delights in and prefers—and the really bad stuff—that is the devil’s music.

There is no “God’s music,” “world’s music,” and “devil’s music.” It is all God’s music. No tone or beat has ever been sounded in this universe that does not belong to God.

Music is not inherently religious or worldly, good or evil. There is only music—which can be employed for worship, for recreation, for celebration, for numerous occasions in which we wish to raise our affections and give voice to our emotions.

3) Music can’t be evil because “evil is nothing, i.e. no–thing.”

Evil does not consist of things, be it bullets and guns or tones, rhythms and instruments. [For an explanation of this principle listen to the message by R.C. Sproul from the Ligonier National Conference held in June 2010 on “What is Evil and Where does it come from?”] Evil does not consist of things, rather—

4) Sin is an issue of the heart.

When we see music that is wed to words or actions that dishonor God, if we are not careful, we can come to the conclusion that the problem is the music, when the real problem is sin. Sin is always an issue of the heart. Sin is found in our motives and intents as we create and use music, not in the tones, rhythms, and instruments we use to create and make music. Music can certainly be used in sinful ways to express sinful desires and wicked intentions. But the music itself is just a tool.

It has been this way since the beginning. In Genesis 4:21 we read of Jubal—the father of those who play the lyre and pipe—the first time music is referenced in the Bible. Two verses later in Genesis 4:23 we have the first recorded song in Scripture—a boast exulting in murder and lust for revenge.

All styles of music can be abused in sinful ways. Often it’s styles like Rock and Pop that are targeted as “worldly” or “evil,” while styles such as Classical are championed as wholesome and safe. Critics point to the perverse lifestyle and evil intentions of many Pop and Rock musicians. And we should heed their warnings and be on guard against using music to sin against God. But honestly, all styles of music can be abused by sin. Classical, Rock, Pop, Country and Jazz can all express a wide range of emotion. And all have a history tainted by sin. All have had composers and performers whose lives have been shattered by sin. We need discernment to judge every style and genre of music. A better way think of music in regard to evil is—

5) Music can be used in ways that honor God or profane God.

When music honors God, it is intentionally composed or used to praise Him, acknowledge Him or celebrate what is good and right. Music that honors God does not necessarily need to be worship music. It can be music that celebrates life, love, marriage, family, children, home, and many other gifts of God—and celebrates these good gifts in God-honoring ways.

When music profanes God, it is composed or used without thought of God, as an end in itself, making music to be an idol or empty. Or it is composed to celebrate or promote things contrary to God and His revealed will. And this can happen in all styles of music.

Music itself simply expresses and reflects emotion. It does not in itself distinguish between sinful expressions of emotion and pure expressions of emotion. All emotions can glorify God when channeled and expressed in God-honoring ways. God created our emotions for us to express to His glory. But emotions can be hijacked, misdirected and used in sinful ways. And music has certainly been abused and misused to express emotion in sinful ways. This world has produced some wonderfully passionate and expressive music. The music is for us to use and enjoy to God’s glory. The problem lies in that the world is often passionate and expressive about the wrong things. Their emotions have been hijacked and sent in sinful directions. And so the music they use to express themselves has been hijacked and misdirected as well.

[This excerpt is from the study “What Then Shall We Sing?” Read more from Part 1: Thoughts on Music.]

Cherished Hymns for Guitar

Announcing a new album: a collection of favorite hymns for classical guitar.

Cherished Hymns for Guitar

The great hymns of the faith are a treasure for the church.  They unite our voices in worship today to the voices of saints of old.  Early in the 1980s I began transcribing hymns for classical guitar. I played them for my own enjoyment and for preludes at church. When I began serving my first church leading music in worship, I used the transcriptions to accompany our singing. Since that time I have transcribed hundreds of hymn tunes. This album includes some of my favorite and cherished hymns.

Click here to download free sheet music (PDF) of these hymns arranged for classical guitar.

Click here for more hymns arranged for classical guitar; and here for additional music for classical guitar, including music by Bach, Christmas music, Wedding music, and student pieces.

Marking a Five-Year Milestone

Ken Puls Music

The end of this month (July 2016) marks five years online for kenpulsmusic.com. I originally launched the website in 2011 to make available the lyrics and sheet music for hymns and songs that I have written. Since that time the site has grown and now offers many other resources, including:

If you have not visited the site in a while, take a few minutes to explore and share.

The Star Spangled Banner

USA Flag
National Anthem

Oh, say, can you see,
By the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed
At the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars,
Through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched,
Were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare,
The bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night
That our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free
And the home of the brave?

Words by Francis Scott Key (1779–1834)
Music attributed by John Stafford Smith (1750–1836)

Download free PDF sheet music of the national anthem for classical guitar

More music for Classical Guitar

Wedding Music for Guitar

I admit that I am somewhat biased, but the most beautiful music at a wedding is music played on classical guitar. These are some of the songs I have transcribed for guitar and played at weddings:

Canon in D by Pachelbel
Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring (from Cantata 147) by Bach
Ode to Joy (from Symphony 9, Opus 125) by Beethoven
Bridal Chorus (“Here Comes the Bride”) by Wagner
Wedding March (from Opus 61) by Mendelssohn

Download free (PDF) sheet music for these songs here.

Westside Baptist Church
Westside Baptist Church (former location) in Omaha, Nebraska

Learn this music and next time you are asked to play at a wedding, you will be ready.

You are welcome to copy and share this music with friends and fellow guitar enthusiasts. Please copy the full page with the website address and the “Used by Permission” notice at the bottom (see Permissions).

For additional music, including music by Bach, Christmas music, and more visit: Music for Classical Guitar

No Greater Passion

No Greater Passion

This past Sunday Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida celebrated the 30th Anniversary of Dr. Tom Ascol serving as pastor. I have had the privilege of serving with Tom and leading music at Grace since 2003. As part of the celebration I wrote a new song  with the help of Becca Sissons entitled “No Greater Passion.”

The chorus of the song has words very familiar to our church family. Pastor Tom has taught us to remember that the gospel is all about Jesus: “Who He is, what He’s done, and why it matters.”

The idea for the verses came from another pastor, whose words Tom borrowed as an encouragement to our church. Inspired by Spurgeon’s first words at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, these were the first words that Pastor Tom spoke from the pulpit when we began meeting in our new building on Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012:

This building has been prepared to serve the advance of the gospel here in Southwest Florida and around the world. Because of that I propose that the theme of all the preaching and teaching that will come from this platform shall be the person and work of Jesus Christ. We believe many things in this church. We love the law of God and delight in it because it is not only right but it is good. We love the great doctrines that are revealed in the Bible, especially those wonderful doctrines of God’s sovereign grace in salvation. But if asked what is our creed our answer must now and forever be, “Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” The one message that we have to proclaim to our community is simply this: “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.” His life, death and resurrection is our joy and our passion.

No Greater Passion

“For I decided to know nothing among you except
Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

We have no greater passion,
No greater joy we own;
No other cause so great unites us
Than making Jesus known.
We have one simple message
That Jesus came to save;
To rescue dead and helpless sinners,
His life He freely gave.

Let our lives and our lips
Declare the gospel.
All praise to Christ we give!
Who He is, what He’s done,
And why it matters,
He’s the reason that we live.

We have no other answer,
When asked about our creed.
It’s Christ alone, His love compels us
To reach a world in need.
We have a great commission
To preach His Word to all,
At home, abroad and to hard places,
Wherever He may call.

Let our lives and our lips
Declare the gospel.
All praise to Christ we give!
Who He is, what He’s done,
And why it matters,
He’s the reason that we live.

We have no other refuge;
“To whom Lord shall we go?”
In You alone is life eternal,
No other hope we know.
We have one sure foundation
That can’t be overthrown.
We’re anchored firm in Christ our Savior,
Our Rock, our Cornerstone.

Let our lives and our lips
Declare the gospel.
All praise to Christ we give!
Who He is, what He’s done,
And why it matters,
He’s the reason that we live.

No other passion,
No other creed,
No other refuge,
This we believe.
No other passion
No other creed,
He’s the reason that we live.

Words by Ken Puls; Music by Ken Puls and Rebecca Sissons
©2016 Kenneth Puls and Rebecca Sissons

You can hear a recording of the song from our evening service on June 5, 2016:

Click here to download lyrics and free sheet music: including song sheet, chord chart and music arranged for instrumental ensemble.

—Ken Puls

Hymn Tunes for Guitar

Guitar and Mountains

If you enjoy hymns and playing classical guitar, check out the growing online collection of free PDF downloads: Hymns for Classical Guitar. Several hymns have just been added:

O God Our Help in Ages Past  (ST ANNE)
Amazing Grace How Sweet the Sound  (NEW BRITAIN)
I Am Thine O Lord  (I AM THINE)
Sweet Hour of Prayer  (SWEET HOUR)
Abide with Me  (EVENTIDE)
Hallelujah Praise Jehovah  (RIPLEY)
Holy, Holy, Holy  (NICAEA)

You are welcome to copy and share these hymns with friends and fellow guitar enthusiasts. Please copy the full page with the website address and the “Used by Permission” notice at the bottom (see Permissions).

Find more music for classical guitar.

Music of Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach was a church musician, organist, music director, avid coffee drinker, and one of the greatest composers of all time. He was also a devout Christian who sought to honor God through his music. He once said, “the aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.” Many of his scores he signed with SDG (soli Deo Gloria) to the glory of God.

Bach lived from March 21, 1685 to July 28, 1750. In celebration of his birthday I have posted some of his music arranged for classical guitar. Download the free PDF sheet music and enjoy. One of my favorite is the chorale “Herr Gott dich loben alle wir” (Lord God, we all praise You). It is a wonderful setting by Bach of the tune OLD 100th, also known as the Doxology.

Music at Grace 2015

Grace Musicians 2015

Often I am asked by members and visitors at Grace Baptist Church where to find the lyrics or music to the songs we sing in worship. Our music at Grace comes from many songwriters and composers, embracing new songs of our day as well as cherished hymns of the faith.

Listed below are the 10 songs we have sung most so far in 2015:

10,000 Reasons
All I Have Is Christ
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
Come As You Are
Come Lord Jesus – Even So Come
He Will Hold Me Fast
In Christ Alone
Sovereign
This Is Amazing Grace
You Alone Can Rescue

Click here to see a complete list of 150 of our current and favorite music for worship thus far for 2015. Each song is linked to a page where you can find lyrics and/or music.

Click here to see our service orders (posted each week) for gathered worship at Grace.