Emulate Vs. Duplicate

To keep things consistent, I try to use a specific arrangement for each song in my team's repertoire. So, for example, on Everlasting God we use the Lincoln Brewster version. For Today is the Day, we opt for Paul Baloche's version of it. (Except we speed it up to Brewster's tempo, because Paul does everything slow.)

It definitely comes in handy on song that lands on different albums. Chris Tomlin stuff often ends up on his album and whatever Passion release comes near it. That's triply the case for Our God. It debuted live on Passion:Awakening, got an "80s meets lush strings" treatment on Tomlin's "and if Our God is For Us" and showed up as a hybrid of the two on Passion: Here for You - complete with a rap added in the middle (try that at your church). Oh yeah, and there's an acoustic version added on the end of 'and if Our God...'.

So I like to pick out the album version that works best for my team and then tweak it to make it our own. One of the first tweaks is to make the song realistic for our band. Studio recordings contain overdubs of multiple guitars and keys and who knows what other voodoo. And live versions are often just as thick with loops and multiple instruments. (I think the Hillsong band on any given Sunday has more people than the entire attendance of many churches.)

Rather than throw out the whole arrangement, I encourage my players to emulate vs. duplicate what's going in the arrangement. This is the case for "Our God."

So we use the Passion: Awaking album version, but strip it down to fit our band. The melodic hook that happens in the intro and instrumental is a simple four note riff - easy to play on piano or guitar. The below video demonstrates how to play the riff, but make it fit for your setting.

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