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Sheet Music: The Old Rugged Cross

TitleThe Old Rugged Cross
ComposerGeorge Bennard (1873–1958)
 
InstrumentationFlute solo
KeyB-flat major
RangeD4–Eb5
Time signature6/8
Tempo90 BPM
Performance time1:05
Difficulty levelintermediate
Download printable scorePDF Sheet Music (47 kB) (preview)
Download audio tracksMIDI (1 kB) MP3 (794 kB)
Date added2010-04-14
Last updated2010-04-14
CategoriesHymn tunes

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Wednesday 14 April 2010

Tune of the Day: The Old Rugged Cross

by George Bennard

If you look inside any church, you are likely to find a cross. Typically it is made of stone, polished hardwood or some kind of metal, and occasionally gilded with gold leaf. Very rarely is it a cross of roughly hewn timbers, which is odd because Jesus was not crucified on a cross of polished hardwood or metal, and certainly not a cross gilded with gold leaf.

Around a hundred years ago, an American called George Bennard (nothing to do with George Bernard Shaw) spent quite a while contemplating this anomaly, and came up with a new hymn: “The Old Rugged Cross”.

Hymn writing was one of Bennard's passions, as he wrote over 300 of them. “The Old Rugged Cross” was composed in 1912, and soon became one of the 20th century's most popular songs, with over 20 million copies sold in the first 30 years. The catchy song has been performed by some of the twentieth century's most important recording artists, including Elvis Presley, Al Green, Anne Murray, Johnny Cash and June Carter.