My blues piano interpretation of a traditional hymn.


About this piece

The original lyrics for “What a Friend we Have in Jesus” were written in the 19th century by Irish poet Joseph Scriven, who was living in Canada at the time. The well known tune was composed several years later by a US attorney called Charles Converse. As with many hymns, there are now several variations, and it is known by quite different names in other languages, such as “World of Stars” in some Japanese translations.

About this recording

I chose to play this version in F, which is a little unusual for this style of blues. I felt it worked with the pitch of the melody though. In many places, I was just playing some slightly bluesy versions of the simplified traditional chords. However, in places I played some variations, such as transitioning from a Bb to a non-traditional Bbm7 near the beginning of some verses.

I also found that some parts of the tune lent themselves very well to some fairly typical chromatic blues progressions, particularly leading up to the end of the verses.


I’ve licensed the recording as Creative Commons Attribution, which means you’re free to re-use it as long as you give me credit. I’d like to request that you don’t use it for commercial purposes without my permission though.

If you find it useful then please let me know.