Swing Low, Sweet Chariot by Wallis Willis

"Sweet Low, Sweet Chariot" is one of the most famous African-American Spirituals. It was written in the mid-19th Century by Wallis Willis who also wrote "Steal Away" and other Spirituals. Wallis was a Choctaw freedman who lived in Oklahoma with tribes of the Native American Choctaw Nation after being freed from slavery. Alexander Reid was a minister at a Choctaw school who heard Willis singing, and wrote down the words and melodies. The music for "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" was sent to the Jubilee Singers who first popularised the song. The song has been sung by many artists since then. It is a favourite of Gospel choirs, and has also been adapted by various artists (e.g. Dizzy Gillespie's "Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac"). The Czech composer Antonin Dvorak heard the song while staying in the US in the 1890s and incorporated a few notes of the melody in his "New World Symphony". Rugby fans have also adopted the song in their support of the England team.

You can see the sheet music below. For personal use you can also download a PDF version, or MIDI and MP3 files. Other related music can be found in our article Church Music and Hymns.



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