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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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The world of grace

Never earned, it always arrives as a gift from someone on the outside

A budding clarinetist in the fifth grade eventually asks her band director, "What's that tiny little note before the big note in measure five? I don't get it." That's when the director explains what a grace note is, how it functions like beautiful decoration on top of an already lovely cake.

A grace note on a musical score is ornamentation. It doesn't have to be; yet it is. Its note value doesn't even count as part of the total time value of a given measure. Such a timing oddity can fluster even the best young band or orchestra student.

Welcome to the world of grace.


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