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Piano by Joel: the Fresh Piano Blog and Podcast

Giving away a whole lot of free piano music since 2005! I specialize in expressive piano interpretations and orchestral arrangements of songs and hymns, suitable for contemplation, meditation, relaxation, or just to keep you company as you go about your

Last Build Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2015 09:00:14 PDT

Copyright: (C) 2005

Rodney's Glory

Sat, 25 May 2013 08:46:06 PDT

Here's an understated take on the traditional Irish tune, Rodney's Glory. You'll usually hear this performed to accompany traditional dancers, or perhaps played as an air, but I'm pleased to bring you the solo piano version. Enjoy.

 Click Here to Listen


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I See the Light (from Tangled), Marry Me

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 19:26:27 PDT

Happy to announce the recent release of two new singles:

I See the Light (from Tangled): iTunes, CD Baby

Marry Me (my take on the song by Train): iTunes, CD Baby(image)

Once Famliar Road

Sat, 12 Mar 2011 18:23:00 PST

Hello again, piano fans. I posted an original song recently, and it's received some good comments. You can listen to it here:

O Sacred Head Now Wounded

Thu, 30 Sep 2010 11:52:11 PDT

Today's selection is a contemplative, solo piano rendition of the ancient hymn, O Sacred Head Now Wounded. It hearkens back to the earlier days of Piano by Joel, when my offerings were informal and minimally edited; more spontaneous, as if we were sitting around the piano together.

Here are the first few verses:

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine.

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

Click Here to Listen.

Media Files:


Mon, 20 Sep 2010 18:50:09 PDT

I recently released the traditional folk song, Shenandoah. While there appears to be some dispute about the meaning of the lyrics, I think we can all agree that in conveys a sense of yearning, of longing. This is reminiscent of Hebrews 11:15-16:

If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

You can listen to it here.

Hit play, and read Hebrews 11.


Be Still My Soul (By Request)

Fri, 19 Jun 2009 04:53:54 PDT

Today's old hymn, requested by a listener via e-mail, is Be Still My Soul, to the 19th century tune composed by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957.) The original German lyrics were penned by Katharina von Schlegel (1813-1897), but here is a portion of the English translation by Jane Borthwick:

Be still, my soul, the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul, thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Enjoy the piece.

Also, I've recently released my latest CD, Hymn Journeys: Contemporary Piano Interpretations. You can preview and purchase it here:, or on iTunes:

Click Here to Listen to Be Still My Soul.

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Face to Face with Christ my Savior (Steinway Mix)

Sat, 04 Apr 2009 11:40:16 PDT

I'm a guy who likes power tools, and I recently started using state-of-the-art virtual piano software to improve the sound quality of the music I produce. For your listening pleasure, I remixed Face to Face with Christ My Savior, which now features the golden tones of the Steinway concert grand.

Of course, you're going to expect me to start podcasting again, now that I have a new toy to motivate me to record! Stay tuned, one of these days you may be hearing the clear sound of the Yamaha studio grand, or the extra octave on the bottom of the Bosendorfer.

Until next time!

Click Here to Listen

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Still, Still, Still (brass ensemble)

Thu, 25 Dec 2008 13:58:07 PST

Merry Christmas! I hope your holiday was all that you wanted it to be. My gift to you is a laid-back New Orleans brass rendition of the Austrian traditional carol, Still, Still, Still. This arrangement features the sweet sounds of the trumpet, saxaphones, tuba, bass trombone, and strings.

Click Here to Listen

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Guest Performance: Della, The Unfolding

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 20:42:16 PDT

Greetings, piano fans!  It has been a while, but I think you'll enjoy today's piano piece.  I've introduced you to Della before.  When she's not accompanying the Cincinatti ballet, or sitting under Carmon Deleone in the Middletown Symphony Orchestra; she's composing, arranging, and performing her own original piano works.  I highly recommend her music, and I'm pleased that she's allowed me to make this mp3, The Unfolding, available to you, at the link below.  I'm not even going to try to describe it.  Just turn the lights down low, and listen.

If you would like to hear more, and/or purchase her new CD, {beautiful still}, just visit her home page at

Until next time!


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Sun, 17 Aug 2008 15:36:41 PDT

Hello again, everyone! Yes, I'm still here, waiting for a new part to arrive, so I can do some recording. In the meantime, you'll want to pause your mp3-downloading for a few minutes, and listen to Della.

Della, based in the great state of Ohio, just released her new project, {beautiful still}. Since you're here, I'm guessing that you will really enjoy her powerful rendition of the old hymn, "Be Still My Soul." It's just the kind of piano music you like, complete with expressive harmonies, widely spaced improvisations, and notes that fade away into silence. To listen:

1. Go to Della's Indieheaven page, here:
2. Find the green CD cover with a list of tracks next to it. Click "The Ceasing: {be still my soul}.
3. The song should begin playing.

I am so glad she recorded a Hymn! But I'm sure you'll also like the many other tracks she has available. The way the Indieheaven player currently works, just leave it alone and it will continue to play Della's piano music.

Click Here for Della's Indieheaven Page(image)

Face to Face with Christ My Savior (By Request)

Wed, 09 Jul 2008 15:22:06 PDT

Here's a new one for you... a gentle improvisation on the old 1898 hymn melody from by Grant Tullar (1869-1950) with words by Carrie Breck (1855-1934.)

Face to face I shall behold Him
Far beyond the starry sky
Face to face in all His glory
I shall see Him by and by

Thanks for listening! And if you have a moment, please pray for continued creativity as I improvise and arrange music. Enjoy the piece.

Click Here to Listen/Download


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Neil Patton

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 17:00:12 PDT

I met Neil Patton yesterday, virtually, the same way I meet most other musicians. He's a Christian pianist that has recorded some original works that I'm sure you'll enjoy:

I recommend four songs to get a fuller picture of the kind of music this guy makes:

  • Toccata
  • First Steps
  • Water of Life
  • Jig

If you're just surfing around the web for music, just launch the above link and hit the play button. If you like him, be sure to click the 5-star rating at the top of his page, then leave him a comment! Tell him Joel sent you.

Don't forget to come back here when you're done to download more piano hymn mp3s!


Fresh Piano in the Top 100 on the Folk Chart

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 17:03:05 PDT

I noticed it this morning... your Fresh Pianist is in the top 100 on the folk chart, out of over 4000 artists. Since these things tend to be fleeting, I wanted to share it and enjoy it while I can:

The charts are based on the "relative value of [the artist's] aggregate fan relationships at any given point in time." So in one sense, it's a measure of how great my listeners are, and I appreciate your support since 2005. You can continue to help by listening and sharing the music.

ReverbNation is not a Christian site. They provide management and promotional tools to all kinds of bands, playing all kinds of music. Admittedly, yes, moving up a chart feels good, kind of like winning at a game of Scrabble. But it's also nice to see quiet, instrumental piano hymns up there, shining like a lighthouse. Score one for sleepy music. At least while it lasts.

You can see my profile here:

I'll end this post the same way I end my e-mails. All glory to God, -Joel


"Hope" by Leo Loredo

Tue, 27 May 2008 20:08:49 PDT

Yes, I know I specialize in introspective piano music, and don't usually recommend CCM. But I heard an upbeat, uplifting song by the independent Christian vocalist Leo Loredo today, so if you happen to be surfing for new music as you're reading this, I recommend that you head over to his page for a listen:

Click on the song, Hope. It's based on Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. If you like it, head to the charts, choose "Contemporary," and give it 5 stars:

Of course, when you're done, you're welcome to come back here and download more mp3s.


A Piano Haiku

Thu, 08 May 2008 19:56:35 PDT

Eighty-eight keys wait
Black and white poised for action
The fingers descend.


For the Beauty of the Earth (By Request)

Tue, 15 Apr 2008 19:14:14 PDT

A young listener (more and more people are "young") and piano music aficionado requested that I play For the Beauty of the Earth, the old hymn with music by conrad Kocher (1786-1872) and words by Fol­li­ot S. Pier­point (1835-1917.) An appropriate tune for springtime, as I'm waiting for my front lawn to grow.

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies

Lord of all to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise

Click Here to Listen


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Be Thou My Vision (Solo Piano with Cello) a.k.a. Slane

Mon, 25 Feb 2008 05:15:28 PST

Some of you who have been with Piano by Joel since the beginning will recall that I've previously recorded Be Thou My Vision, to the tune of the old Irish folk tune, Slane. But since I am always trying to improve the quality, musicality, and expressiveness of my work, I wanted to bring you something new. (Fresh?) This version features the solo piano, of course, giving the arrangement a contemporary feel; but I think you'll also find that the playing style, and the accompanying cello, lend a certain ancient quality to the piece.

Here are the lyrics, translated into English by Eleanor Hull around the turn of the century:

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art

High King of Heaven, my victory won
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all

Until next time.

Click Here to Listen


Media Files:

The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, is Ended

Tue, 05 Feb 2008 20:32:26 PST

Today's piece is the Clement Scholefield (1839-1904) melody, The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, is Ended. The melody is beautiful, and the lyrics (below), powerful.

A listener once requested this song, which I had not heard before, to my recollection. So I listened and learned. It's beautiful. The rendition you're about to hear (link below) begins with the choir, smoothly transitions to the piano, cello, and other strings, followed by a clarinet solo, then a majestic finish. This arrangement doesn't do the song justice, but I like to think of it as a step in that direction.

Here are the great lyrics, penned by John Ellerton (1826-1893.) Make sure you read all the way to the fourth stanza to get the full effect of the epic nature of this song.

The day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended,
The darkness falls at Thy behest;
To Thee our morning hymns ascended,
Thy praise shall sanctify our rest.

We thank Thee that Thy church, unsleeping,
While earth rolls onward into light,
Through all the world her watch is keeping,
And rests not now by day or night.

As o’er each continent and island
The dawn leads on another day,
The voice of prayer is never silent,
Nor dies the strain of praise away.

The sun that bids us rest is waking
Our brethren ’neath the western sky,
And hour by hour fresh lips are making
Thy wondrous doings heard on high.

So be it, Lord; Thy throne shall never,
Like earth’s proud empires, pass away:

Thy kingdom stands, and grows forever,
Till all Thy creatures own Thy sway.

Click Here to Listen


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Angels in the Snow

Sat, 05 Jan 2008 21:45:42 PST

Happy New Year! This original composition used to be titled Kids in the Leaves, but seeing that it's winter here in the northern hemisphere, I changed it to Angels in the Snow. As you listen, I think you'll find that either title is appropriate.

I'm currently working on an arrangement of The Day Thou Givest, Lord, Has Ended. I hope to have it ready soon, for your listening pleasure. In the meantime, enjoy Angels.

Click Here to Listen


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BBN Airplay

Mon, 24 Dec 2007 22:37:44 PST

A little bird told me that I Wonder as I Wander from Snow and Ivory: Piano Portraits for Christmas was heard on said little bird's local radio station in the BBN network, which provides Christian radio programming worldwide. It's always nice for an artist when a song gets airplay! If you'd like to hear BBN, the easiest way is to navigate to and listen online. And Merry Christmas! I'll also mention that... hey... what's that in the chimney?...


O Come Emmanuel (Orchestral Mix)

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 12:48:06 PST

First of all, let me wish a Merry Christmas and a warm season's greetings to everyone. Now, on to my Christmas gift for you.

This arrangement of O Come Emmanuel is more sophisticated than my usual offerings, with both symphonic and atmospheric qualities influenced by some of the great film score composers. This rendition features ancient instruments such as the filimbi, duduk, oud, cornu, kantele, ram's horn (suggestive of the shofar), and percussion, as well as a modern string section, choir and solo cello. There's a lot of variety, and things keep changing musically as the piece moves forward. For you gearheads, I mixed my music with Ableton Live 6 (it's not just for hip-hop and electronica anymore!) coupled with GigaStudio.

Download and Enjoy! Merry Christmas.

Click Here to Listen


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Silent Night (Bamboo Flute Mix)

Thu, 06 Dec 2007 18:51:31 PST

If you're new here, most of my postings really are piano arrangements, believe it or not. But since I've been experimenting with new sounds lately, some of the results are bound to spill over into my podcast.

This rendition of Silent Night, featuring the solo bamboo flute, is suitable for an evening on a Judean hillside, or at home with the lights out. Sit back and let it take you somewhere far away.

Till next time.

Click here to listen


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Be Thou My Vision (MacDonald Family Mix)

Thu, 29 Nov 2007 20:23:36 PST

If you need a break from holiday music for a few minutes, I hope you'll listen to this rendition of Be Thou My Vision from the new MacDonald Family Singers CD, Power in the Blood. It's an honor when others perform my arrangements, and Carol MacDonald does a phenomenal job on the vocals. You'll find the original arrangement and score in this post from 2005. Also, Kim and Judy Smith performed their unique take in this 2006 post.

Try to catch the MacDonald Family Singers in concert sometime. These guys travel the U.S. in their tour bus, performing their special brand of Christ-centered music, and giving away thousands of CDs. They also offer plenty of free music downloads on their web site at

Enjoy the piece! Again, it features Carol on the flute and vocals, and Laurie at the piano. Ahh, the piano.

Click Here to Listen


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Ancient Sunrise, a really short duduk experiment

Thu, 29 Nov 2007 20:09:35 PST

This very short piece (30 seconds) features an electronically sampled Armenian duduk, which has a haunting sound with an almost human quality. I was playing around with the sound and some techniques one day, and I liked the result, so here it is for you to enjoy (or not...)

I think this is my first podcast episode with no recorded piano, whatsoever. Don't worry, I'm not giving up on the ivories, just exploring (always exploring) new ways to interpret old hymns.

Click Here to Listen


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Score: God Be With You Till We Meet Again

Sat, 03 Nov 2007 08:27:57 PDT

Back in March, the DaVinci Academy from Colorado Springs, Colorado performed a vocal rendition of my piano arrangement of God Be With You Till We Meet Again in Washington, D.C. Today, I'm pleased to offer you the piano score to that arrangement. If you'd like to hear the original recording, check out this post.

Click Here to Download Score (or right-click and choose "save as.")