Dave Byers

Congregational Songwriting Praise And Worship Music for Church Study

Songwriting study of This is Amazing Grace Part 1

Trying to learn what makes successful songs succesful is the aim of this study. We've taken a look at several songs and if you'd like to see a list of the other sonsg then click here to go to the main page of this study of Congregational Songs.

This is Amazing Grace is a song Phil Wickham and friends wrote and a song I've loved doing for many years. This is Amazing Grace is one of the top songs right now according to CCLI and the top of uptempo songs so I thought it would be fun to take a look under the hood and see what makes this engine purr. I've sung This is Amazing Grace many times at churches solo and with bands and I love the song and it always goes over well. It's on Christian radio and appears at many churches P&W at services. So let's see what we can learn from it.

A cool little riff starts it off on the guitar. What I've noticed in being a guitarist is that almost every single riff flows easily in the major scale. So if you know your major scale you can quickly find any CCM melodic riff. Few songs go outside of that. It's a catchy riff and as soon as one hears it, they know the song.


Who breaks the power of sin and darkness

Whose love is mighty and so much stronger

The King of Glory, the King above all kings

Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder

And leaves us breathless in awe and wonder

The King of Glory, the King above all kings

Well, let's see. Rhyme scheme we don't have much. Thunder/wonder? That's the only rhyming that I see here. The meter is strong and flows well. Chord wise our ever-popular 1, 4, 5, 6m choices show up again. I won't harp on that but it is amazing how it seems to be at least 9 out of every 10 songs these days. Lyrically this seems to start as an anthem song. "Our God rocks!" The verse praise s our God from start to finish. Certainly, a perfect thing to do in a rock-out song. One thing I notice is that "the King above all kings" is mentioned at the last line of each stanza which to me takes away the focus of "This is amazing grace as the title to a degree and puts emphasis on "the King above all kings." what about originality? We noticed how important originality was for "The Blessing" and to a degree for "Waymaker." There's nothing real eye-popping yet but also nothing that's been said a ton of times either.

Click here to continue to part 2