42 Astoundingly Useful Scripts and Automations for the Macintosh

A Song of Thanksgiving: America, the Beautiful

America, the Beautiful, by Katharine Lee Bates, with melody by Samuel A. Ward.

Jerry Stratton, November 27, 2019

America the Beautiful (876.6 KB MP3 file)

Happy Thanksgiving! We have a lot to be thankful for. Spacious skies, unending waves of grain, heroes proved, and patriot’s dreams…

America, the Beautiful” is a beautiful song; it is simple enough to be sung or played by the average person, and complex enough that people like Ray Charles can really strut their stuff on it.

It’s also a beautiful prayer, an impassioned thanks to God for America’s beauty, its founders, its warriors, and its builders. It praises the wonders of America and her heroes, while still praying for God’s blessings on her and on them.

It isn’t an official hymn or anthem, but people love it, and for good reason.

    • O beautiful for spacious skies,
    • For amber waves of grain,
    • For purple mountain majesties
    • Above the fruited plain!
    • America! America!
    • God shed His grace on thee
    • And crown thy good with brotherhood
    • From sea to shining sea!
    • O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
    • Whose stern, impassioned stress
    • A thoroughfare for freedom beat
    • Across the wilderness!
    • America! America!
    • God mend thine every flaw,
    • Confirm thy soul in self-control,
    • Thy liberty in law!
    • O beautiful for heroes proved
    • In liberating strife,
    • Who more than self their country loved
    • And mercy more than life!
    • America! America!
    • May God thy gold refine,
    • Till all success be nobleness,
    • And every gain divine!
    • O beautiful for patriot dream
    • That sees beyond the years
    • Thine alabaster cities gleam
    • Undimmed by human tears!
    • America! America!
    • God shed His grace on thee
    • And crown thy good with brotherhood
    • From sea to shining sea!

The melody sounds amazing in GarageBand, using trumpets. And since GarageBand can import MIDI files, the file created by the piano script in 42 Astoundingly Useful Scripts and Automations for the Macintosh can be dragged straight into GarageBand.

  • piano "America the Beautiful.txt" --save "America the Beautiful.midi"

Here is the note file for the “America the Beautiful.txt”. Copy it and save it, and you can run it at any time using the piano script. If you want to sing along to all four verses, use “--repeat 3”.

  • piano "America the Beautiful.txt" --repeat 3

This will play it once and then repeat it three times.

I recognize that that logic for --repeat is somewhat pedantic. When writing the script I went back and forth between having the --repeat number be the number of times played or the number of times repeated. Ultimately, I went with repeated; I still go back and forth on whether that was correct.

# America, the Beautiful
# Katharine Lee Bates, Samuel A. Ward
# https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/82/5_America%2C_the_Beautiful.png

--key D-

                                                  "--D -D F A" |
 "--D. -D. F. A." 8 "--D -A -D F" 4 "--D -A -D F" "--A -D F A" |
 "-E. -C. E. A." 8 "-E -A -C E" 4 "-E -A -C E" "--A -A -C F"

               "-E -C E G" "-E -C E A" "--A E G B" "--A E G C" |
 ["--D -D" "--D= -B=" "-E -C" "--A -C"] 2 [A.] F 4 G "E A"     |
 "--D. -D. F. A." 8 "--D -A -D F" 4 "--D -A -D F" "--A -D F A"

     "-E. -C. E. A." 8 "-E -C E E" 4 "-E -C E E"  "-E -C A +E" |
 "-E -C A D=" "-E -C A +E" "-E -D G= +F" "-E -D G= B"          |
 [2 +E.] "-A -C A" "-B -D G=" "-C E G" "-A -A A A"

V++ "-A. -D. A. +F." 8 "-F -D A +F" 4 "-F -D A +E" "-A -D F D" |
 "-A. E. G. D." 8 "-E E A C" 4 "-E E A C" "-F -D A D"          |
 "-G -C A +E" "-A -C A C" "-B -D G B" "-C E G A"

                   [2 "D. F" G] -D [2 --D] -A -B "--D -C= A D" |
 "-G. -B. G. D." 8 "-G -B G B" 4 "-G -B G B" "-E -B G D"       |
 "-A. -A. F. D." 8 "-A -D F A" 4 "-A -D F A" "-A -A A A"

             "-B -B B B" "-D -D D D" "-A -A A A" "--A -C G +E" |
 2 "--D. -D. F. D."

And, one of the best renditions of the song, from Ray Charles:

  1. <- Amazing Grace (Warwick)
  2. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing ->