His Eye Is on the Sparrow

This is an online fiddle lesson for the gospel song "His Eye Is on the Sparrow."
This song is by special request for my friend Rock.

BluegrassDaddy.com is your best source for Bluegrass, Old Time, Celtic, Gospel, and Country fiddle lessons!

Genre: Gospel
Skill Level: Beginner
Keys of A, D, C and Bb

You may download and use any of the MP3s and tablature for your personal use. However, please do not make them available online or otherwise distribute them.

NOTE: If multiple fiddle lessons and MP3s are loading at once, this page will get slow! I recommend that you refresh the page each time you open a new video or MP3.

Video #1: Here is a video of me performing the gospel song "His Eye Is on the Sparrow in Bb."

His Eye Is on the Sparrow - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. His Eye Is on the Sparrow - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. His Eye Is on the Sparrow - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.

His Eye Is on the Sparrow - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.

His Eye Is on the Sparrow - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. His Eye Is on the Sparrow - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.

"His Eye Is on the Sparrow" is a Gospel hymn written in 1905 by Civilla D. Martin. Mrs. Martin said this about her inspiration to write the song:
"Early in the spring of 1905, my husband and I were sojourning in Elmira, New York. We contracted a deep friendship for a couple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle—true saints of God. Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for nigh twenty years. Her husband was an incurable cripple who had to propel himself to and from his business in a wheel chair. Despite their afflictions, they lived happy Christian lives, bringing inspiration and comfort to all who knew them. One day while we were visiting with the Doolittles, my husband commented on their bright hopefulness and asked them for the secret of it. Mrs. Doolittle's reply was simple: "His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me." The beauty of this simple expression of boundless faith gripped the hearts and fired the imagination of Dr. Martin and me. The hymn "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" was the outcome of that experience."

The next day she mailed the po­em to Charles Gab­ri­el, who sup­plied the mu­sic.

Sing­er Ethel Wa­ters so loved this song that she used its name as the ti­tle for her au­to­bi­og­ra­phy. The song has been recorded by many notable artists including  Ethel Waters, Mahalia Jackson, Dottie West, and Marvin Gaye. The melody of the song is slow, flexible to allow for much improvisation by the singer. The bluegrass version was popularized by Doyle Lawson and Quicksliver's 1986 album "Hymn Time in the Country." Although the song was written in 3/4 time, the Lawson version was inspired by a 1946 recording by R. H. Harris and the Soul Stirrers, sung in 4/4 time.

His Eye Is on the Sparrow

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Refrain

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Refrain

Posted in Beginner, Gospel Tagged with:

Best Online Fiddle Lessons Forums His Eye Is on the Sparrow

This topic contains 24 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Angela 1 year ago.

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 25 total)
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  • #16226

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    A beautiful old gospel song by special request for Rock.  Hope you enjoy it!

    His Eye Is on the Sparrow

    #9104
    Rock
    Rock
    Participant

    Listen to the mocking bird or
    His eye is on the sparrow.

    #9122

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Those are both great tunes and I’ve added them to my request list. You sound like a bird lover. 🙂

    #13020

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    My younger daughter tabbed the beginner version of “His Eye Is On the Sparrow” and I’ve uploaded it to the sheet music page.  Hope you enjoy it!

     

    #15889

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    From Wikipedia:

    “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” is a Gospel hymn. Although today it is a staple of African-American worship services, the song was originally written in 1905 by two white songwriters, lyricist Civilla D. Martin and composer Charles H. Gabriel. Civilla Martin, who wrote the lyrics, said this about her inspiration to write the song based in the scriptures outlined above,

    Early in the spring of 1905, my husband and I were sojourning in Elmira, New York. We contracted a deep friendship for a couple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle—true saints of God. Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for nigh twenty years. Her husband was an incurable cripple who had to propel himself to and from his business in a wheel chair. Despite their afflictions, they lived happy Christian lives, bringing inspiration and comfort to all who knew them. One day while we were visiting with the Doolittles, my husband commented on their bright hopefulness and asked them for the secret of it. Mrs. Doolittle’s reply was simple: “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.” The beauty of this simple expression of boundless faith gripped the hearts and fired the imagination of Dr. Martin and me. The hymn “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” was the outcome of that experience. The next day she mailed the po­em to Charles Gab­ri­el, who sup­plied the mu­sic. Sing­er Ethel Wa­ters so loved this song that she used its name as the ti­tle for her au­to­bi­og­ra­phy.

    His Eye Is on the Sparrow

    Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
    Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
    When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

    I sing because I’m happy,
    I sing because I’m free,
    For His eye is on the sparrow,
    And I know He watches me.

    “Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
    And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
    Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

    Refrain

    Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
    When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
    I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

    Refrain

    #15891

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. day and so it seems appropriate to do a lesson on “His Eye is on the Sparrow” today. It was one of his favorite songs, although I am teaching a bluegrass version of it. King was a preacher, not a singer, and “His Eye is on the Sparrow” may well be the only solo that King every performed. According to this November, 2012 article in the Huffington Post:

    “In her autobiography, his widow recalled that he once ended up singing “His Eye is on the Sparrow” as an unintentional solo and had to overcome “real stage fright” as he sang the whole song by himself. ‘I never really told him he couldn’t sing,’ wrote his widow, a trained classical vocalist, in her 1969 book. ‘He had a good voice for a choir.’ The Rev. Joseph Lowery, who co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with King, laughed off the question (of whether King could sing). ‘I refuse to comment on the grounds it might make me sound nasty,’ he said. ‘His gift was speaking more than singing, but he loved music.'”

    Below is Mahalia Jackson singing “His Eye is on the Sparrow” in 1958. She originally recorded this song in 1956. Jackson sang “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” at Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s funeral. King said that Mahalia had a voice that came once in a millennium.

    #15893

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    The song has been recorded by many notable artists including Ethel Waters, Mahalia Jackson, Dottie West, and Marvin Gaye. The melody and tempo are flexible enough to allow for much improvisation by the singer. The bluegrass version was popularized by Doyle Lawson and Quicksliver’s 1986 album “Hymn Time in the Country.” Although the song was written in 3/4 time, the Lawson version was inspired by a 1946 recording by R. H. Harris and the Soul Stirrers, sung in 4/4 time.

    Below is R. H. Harris and the Soul Stirrers in 1946, 4/4 time (not pictured)

    Below is Doyle Lawson and Quicksliver singing their Soul Stirrers-inspired version.

    Below is George Beverly Shea singing “His Eye is on the Sparrow” in traditional 3/4 time.

    #15947
    Rock
    Rock
    Participant

    Thank you so much for the history of this song John? I just got home from dads and this is the first post I opened. Can’t wait for the next !

    #15953
    Justine
    Justine
    Participant

    Thank you for posting these renditions of “His Eye Is on the Sparrow”. This is a lovely remembrance for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It’s really interesting to hear how expressive singers can be. I’m glad that Lorien has tabbed it for us. It’s on my lengthening list of songs to learn.

    #16110

    Goldberry
    Participant

    I would love to learn this song.  It has such beautiful words.  One thing I really appreciate about the lessons here is the song history that is included.  I had no idea of the origins of this song – it makes the song come alive.  Thank you for that, John.

    #16229

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    The lesson for “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” is online.

     

    #16256
    Justine
    Justine
    Participant

    Thank you for your lesson “His Eye Is on the Sparrow”!

    I’ve always heard it sung very dramatically with long pauses and was having trouble with playing it on my fiddle.

    You have managed to sing it and play it so that its message comes across beautifully but simply.

    I like the idea of adding ornamentation as you go along.

    It’s great that Jennifer tabbed it in 4 keys!

    #16262

    Angela
    Participant

    Just beautiful, John! I definitely am going to work on this one. Thank you so much. I’m looking forward to working on the backup, too.

    #16291

    Goldberry
    Participant

    This is really nice, John.  I think this is going to be the next one I learn.  I really could listen to your performance video over and over.  Really lovely.

    Rock – thank you for suggesting this one.  There are so many songs out there and I don’t always “hear” a great fiddle tune in them.  I’m starting to listen better to the songs around me and try to hear the possibility of the fiddle in them.  This one is just especially pretty.

    #16443

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    I just remixed the audio for “His Eye is On the Sparrow.” For some reason it was distorting a lot!

    #16588

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    I have added a short lesson on playing backup behind this song in Bb. My first try at this kind of thing. I’m looking forward to teaching a lot more backup.

    #16589
    Great Scott
    Great Scott
    Moderator

    This is really lovely, John. Thank you for posting this song. So sweet!

    #16598
    Justine
    Justine
    Participant

    Great backup lesson, John! You can sing and play at the same time! I liked the double stops at the end!

    #16606

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Haha Justine I actually discovered that I was not very good at singing while playing double-stop backup in Bb. I should have practiced first! But, it will get better with time. 🙂

    #16612
    Justine
    Justine
    Participant

    You sounded good to me and you didn’t drop your fiddle!

    #26824

    Angela
    Participant

    Progress Report (only tangentially related to Sparrow):

    About this time last year, a friend of mine sent me a song he had written and asked if I could work on some back up for it.  I played with it and basically got discouraged.  He never asked about it, and I pretty much forgot about it.

    This week, I went to this guy’s place to play some music with him.  At one point, he said, “Hey, here’s a song I wrote, and I’d like for you to play along.”  It was “the” song.  BUT!!!  Now, he played and I played right along with some back up.  He like it.  It was sort of dumb luck, but I even played this little riff at the end that sounded really cool (hope I can remember what/when I did….haha….)

    Anywhoooooo….the reason I put this here is: the main reason I could do this after a year was because of BGD.com and all the great discussion, lessons, feedback, tips, etc from John and everyone here.  And, the backup John is teaching on Sparrow has helped me a lot in this arena.

    Thanks everybody (and especially John).

    Angela

    #26829

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Angela, that is a great testimony! Thank you. I know I owe you all some backup and improv lessons.

    Angela, if your friend doesn’t mind a little exposure, we would love to hear the recorded song here!

    #26837

    Angela
    Participant

    Sure…next time we get together, I’ll ask him if it’s OK to record and post.  It’s an interesting song.

    Angela

    #26868

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Yay! I can’t wait to hear it. 🙂 I’m proud of you!

    #33159

    Angela
    Participant

    John,

    am I just overlooking it? i don’t see the notation for the backup. I see it in the backup lesson though. Is it here someplace?

    thanks!

    Angela

     

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