Rise Up and Sing

Hope + change through song

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Learning Songs in Our Songbooks

Rise Up Singing and Rise Again do not in most cases include notation for music: just lyrics, chords, and some sources for songs. (The exception is for rounds.) People always ask us: then how do I learn the tunes?

There are many answers:

The Music Box.  We have an online song database on this website containing individual song pages for over 2500 songs, including all the songs in our songbooks. Nearly all these pages are linked to recordings of the songs - in many cases multiple recordings. You can even scroll through the songs in Rise Up Singing or Rise Again in sequence learning all the songs in a given chapter.

Learn songs from each other.  This is the best way to learn the tunes! The book is designed for group singing. When you take part in singing with others, it is easy to pick up the tune as you go along, because you have the lyrics right in front of you.   

There are hundreds of monthly song circles and sing-alongs held all over North America on a monthly or in some cases a weekly basis. Many of these are listed on this site in a special directory. In addition many people sing regularly together in their faith communities, schools, camps, and community centers.  

But this doesn't have to happen in a formal sing-along. It happens all the time informally in families and among friends.

Learn from Artists.  Professional musicians play a critical role in keeping alive a vibrant music culture!  You can learn songs by 

  • Attending the concerts and workshops of artists performing these songs
  • Buying their CDs and downloads

Wherever possible we have listed the recordings under the songs in the book by the person or group that wrote the song. (We often even tell you how many frets to capo up on your guitar to play along.) We have tried where possible to also identify some of the most important or easiest to learn from recordings by other artists.  You can find lists of songs composed or recorded by a given musician on our Artist Search

The Internet:

  • YouTube is a terrific way to learn songs. Music Box database is a great way to find these for a given song or artist.
  • Rise Up and Sing Youtube channel  It includes playlists, live singalong concerts, newly created videos all the time. Subscribe!
  • Spotify.   Joe Offer, one of the associate editors of Rise Again and a frequent contributor to Mudcat Cafe has created playlists in Spotify that allow you to listen to the tunes to many of the songs in Rise Again: Spotify playlists.

Rise Up Singing Teaching CDs.  For 3-4 years after Rise Up Singing was published, Annie produced a series of special recordings that contain the melody to each song in that songbook.  Annie sings on the majority of the CDs but some feature other wonderful singers like John Roberts, Pat Humphries, John McCutcheon, Magpie, and Kim & Reggie Harris.  

A teaching MP3 disc is also included with every copy of Where Have All the Flowers Gone (in the 2009 Norton edition).  

Because of the ready availability of audio sources through The Music Box, we do not plan to create similar teaching discs for Rise Again.