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We will be adding more tablature arrangements regularly... please visit again.


Each time a new file is posted in Current Tablature, the previous file is moved to "Archived tab files".

Angel Band

Host of Angels from The Nativity by Gerard David- Flemish, active by about 1484, died 1523.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

Words: Jefferson Hascall, 1860
Music: William Batchelder Bradbury, 1862

arr. Ruth Randle, 2014
in honor of Merv Rowley's 94th birthday!
Merv is our mentor, who established this website several years ago,
and drew others into this versatile tuning we call "1-3-5".

Many of you may know this song as performed by The Stanley Brothers, included in the soundtrack of the movie Oh Brother, Where Art Thou, or perhaps The Monkees, or Johnny Cash, but the song is much older than that.

Written by Jefferson Hascall as a poem, and originally titled "My Latest Sun Is Sinking Fast”, Angel Band was put to music and published first in 1860 by J. W. Dadmun in his tunebook The Melodeon, but was later attached to its familiar melody we know today by William Batchelder Bradbury,  and published in 1862 in his Bradbury's Golden Shower of S.S. Melodies. Bradbury's tune was originally called The Land of Beulah.

It has its origins in a form of music called "shape note singing", started in the 1800's, as a way to teach people who did not know how to read music, to sing beautiful hymns and anthems in 4 part harmony. This form developed first as a series of just 4 shapes, and was called the fasola system, often known as Sacred Harp. The notes were called fa, sol, la, and mi. This means that each shape had more than one note assigned to it. Later on, William Walker developed a 7-shape system, assigning a different shape to the 7 notes of a scale. He published Angel Band in his Christian Harmony book in 1866.

This form of music is called "Solfege", also known as do, re, mi, fa, sol, la and ti - think "Sound of Music" - "Do, a deer, a female deer..." etc. The exact key is not important, the "leader" would establish a key which (hopefully) would accommodate most of the singing voices present. The singers sat according to their parts - soprano, alto, tenor, bass - in a large square facing one other. They began by singing the song in "solfege", to establish the melody, and would then sing all the verses. The sound was often quite awesome! Shape Note Singings are still held today, predominantly in the South, frequently followed by a huge potluck meal called "Dinner on the Ground"..

The links below will tell you a lot more about shape note singing; please check them out.

Your 1-3-5 Team


Download files: 

Angel Band.pdf

Angel Band.tef

Angel Band.MID

Historical Links:

Shape Note Singing
They sing it first with the fa so la's, and then when the lyrics start showing on the screen, they sing the words, in 4 part harmony - very powerful!
This is one of the nicest sounding groups I found.

Johnny Cash version:








  Click to go to the TablEdit website and download their free demo version

If you do not have the Tabledit program, please click on the TablEdit banner to download a free .tef reader program.  It includes the ability to play this song at a slower speed (great for learning). TablEdit is a program for creating, editing, printing and listening to tablature and sheet music (standard notation) for fretted, stringed instruments.

  Click here to download a free version of Adobe Reader

Adobe® Reader® is a free software for viewing and printing Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files.

  Our PDF music files are produced from music created with Finale® notation software.


Our .MIDI music files are produced by TablEdit notation software.





This website is brought to you by Merv Rowley,
Ruth Randle, Elizabeth DiPietri, Suzanne Campling and Gail West
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