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picture of Swing Low score section

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Composer :  American Traditional Spiritual
Arranger :  Gail Selkirk
Vocals:  Just me!

Recording and Mixing Progress

Initial mix of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot - MP3 Click here for Hi-Fi MP3 Stream

Click here for Hi-Fi MP3 Stream

Click here for Hi-Fi MP3 Stream

2.6 MB
On slow (modem) connections this MP3 file may take a long time to load.   However, you'll find it worth the wait!  smile.gif
Problems streaming or downloading?  Click Here.

As well as providing song previews in MP3 format as above, we are starting to try out a new format for song downloads - Ogg Vorbis, which is an alternative to the common MP3 format.   We have found that Ogg Vorbis audio files are of a higher quality than comparable MP3 files.   It is possible that your media player already supports Ogg format if you are using WinAmp in Windows or iTunes on a Mac.   If you are,  try downloading and playing the Ogg versions of Swing Low and see if you can hear the difference:

Here's a link to the Ogg Vorbis web site if you are interested in finding out more about this new format.

Background About the Song

I remember singing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot as a little girl in elementary school.  Although I knew little about this song,  I found it compelling and fun to sing!  Now, as an adult, I'm glad to have the opportunity to create and sing my own jazz arrangement of this beautiful song.

For those interested in the rich and moving history of African-American religion and the music it spawned,  the Internet is a rich resource.   Here are a few starting points for your explorations:

Arranging and Performance Notes

This arrangement of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot is an a'cappella work,  in 4-part harmony.  An interesting aspect of the harmony in the rubato section: the alto is the lowest voice, while the tenor and bass parts are sung an octave higher than their normal range. This leads to some very close spot tension harmonies.

Studio Recording Notes:

We've recorded all the vocal tracks for this 4-part a'cappella song as well as an initial mix (which you can hear by clicking on one of the links close to the top of the page).

Recording Chain:
  • Studio Projects C1 Microphone
  • Manley Labs VoxBox Preamp
  • M-Audio Delta 1010 A/D
  • Sonar XL 2.0

Mixing Details:
For this song,  we were after an angelic quality,  but with a bit of edge and bounce.   To achieve the edge, we used a bit of compression (Sonic Timeworks CompressorX) on each of the four vocal parts.   To underscore the bounce of the song's rhythm, we used a delay (Ultrafunk Sonitus fx:delay) on each voice to provide a short echo that was timed to the meter of the song.   We then mixed in some reverbs and spot delays to provide a nice overall ambiance to the vocals.

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