Musings @


Herding Cats

Best. Analogy. Ever. Or at least the most accurate.

Yeah, that’s the story of my life.

From the front end, it looks like my site is just sitting here, toodling along without a hitch. On the back end, I’m in a bit of a panic. That’s what you get for doing things yourself.

When our cat isn’t napping in weird positions, he’s jumping off walls. Which pretty much describes the state of this poor site at the moment.

Apparently the theme I use (the thing that makes my site look like it does) is no longer up to the exacting standards of WordPress, and… skipping all the boring details… I have to redo the entire thing. (300+ pages. Okay, I admit it. That’s a plea for a little sympathy. Chocolate will be fine. 🙂 )

It’s a blessing in disguise, really. After decades of adding scores and pages piecemeal there’s no uniformity in the content here, so that can be fixed. After the change all the Personal Composer scores will be available so you can transpose to your hearts’ content. The fonts and sizes on the scores will all be updated. This is all a good thing. *she tells herself*

Fortunately I found one of these for sale on the internet.

The project is in progress, and will (I hope) (fingers crossed) (fingers really crossed) be transparent when the changeover happens. However, I do anticipate the site being offline for a couple of days, hopefully in late August, while I make the switch, so be sure you get what you need before then. I don’t want anyone waiting until the night before a practice and finding that the score they need is temporarily inaccessible.

One thing to note: I am discontinuing the use of Soundclick (since they refuse to move on from Flash-based players), so any recordings found only on Soundclick will be unavailable, some temporarily, some permanently. If there’s something there that you really like, download it now.

I’ll give you a couple of days notice once everything is ready.

There are a few new things in the pipeline… I’m working on a children’s album with two new songs… Katherine Wright did a lovely new setting for a hymn-text I wrote… and a new Christmas choral is running circles in my brain… but I won’t post them until after the switch. No use doing the same work twice.

Happy Tuesday. I’m off to lasso a few more felines. 😛

C Instruments

Fair warning: this is a really boring, instructive blog post, containing some rather basic information. It’s also a new FAQ entry in the making. 🙂 Many of the songs here on the site include obbligatos that specify the use of a “C instrument.” People often write to ask, “What exactly is a C instrument?” So [Read More…]


On a Christmas Long Ago

From the DeFord household to you and yours, happy Christmas! Each year I try to do a “Christmas Card Carol” to give away in lieu of fudge or cookies. (That’s because you don’t want my cookery. Trust me.) I never seem to get them done in time to be useful for the current year, and [Read More…]


Happy December!

New this time: a congregational accompaniment for “The First Noel.” It’s been awhile since I did one of these because… to tell the truth, they’re kinda boring to write. You have to stick exactly to the harmonies in the original hymn so your accompaniment doesn’t clash with the voices. They’re designed to bulk up the [Read More…]


Hush the Baby: a tale of two melodies

A thing I do to drive myself a little crazier: “finish” something, make it public, and then regret it because it was just. plain. wrong. I did that last December with my latest Christmas song, “Hush the Baby.” The melody and feel I had chosen were simply wrong. Not that I was smart enough to [Read More…]


There Is a Green Hill Far Away

“There is a green hill far away…” If ever there was a phrase designed to evoke images in the mind of a child, it’s that one. I think the author, Cecil Frances Alexander, intended it to be so since it was first published in her work, “Hymns for Little Children”. It certainly evoked images for [Read More…]

Baby Jesus

In a Manger Bed, and an attempt at a virtual choir

Awhile back the Mormon Tabernacle Choir produced a new recording of the Hallelujah! chorus from The Messiah. They included over 2000 … count ’em… 2000 voices from all over the world. And it’s perfect. I’m thinking the MoTab had some automated way to combine all those voices. If they had done it the way I [Read More…]


In That Holy Place revisited

One of the highlights of my summer was having the beautiful and talented Katie Bastian come to Colorado to play to work on music. One of the songs we recorded was, “In That Holy Place,” which I wrote by assignment way back in 2002. Katie and I spent a nice, long weekend recording this and [Read More…]

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Two Lovely Videos

Here are two old-but-new renditions in video form, with contributions from several wonderful people. First, here’s Tj Pini singing “Created in His Image.” The accompaniment has been reworked for this one. You can find it on the song page. The video footage was done by Natasha Nashadka, an erstwhile Colorado girl who moved away and [Read More…]


Another beautiful voice: Tiffany Mortensen

Listen to the nice surprise that showed up in my in-box: So beautiful! Tiffany has graciously offered this to us for free download.* Visit her at *Click the icon at the top right that looks like this: Share this!

Damien and Lyric

Primary Music 🙂

Last October, a primary choir sang a medley of “Search, Ponder, and Pray” and “I Think When I Read That Sweet Story.” I was asked to arrange this specifically for the conference, and the sheet music was not then available. Now, thanks to the lovely folks in the Music and Cultural Arts office… ***drum roll*** [Read More…]


A couple of Christmas additions

Just a quick update this time. I’ve added an SATB hymn called “As Sudden Angels Filled the Night,” with an optional obbligato for two flutes. The words were written by my friend Toni Thomas, and the music is by yours truly. I don’t often write straight hymns, so this was fun (and challenging) for me. [Read More…]

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A Christmas Album worth hearing: Laura Pattillo – Oh Holy Night

Here’s a wonderful new album by singer Laura Pattillo to start your Christmas season off right. The arrangements are by Kurt Bestor, and the combination is gorgeous. I wanted to know a little more about her, so I asked her how she’d describe herself…

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Rain and Hope: The last “Gratitude Project” Installment.

The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house all that cold, cold wet day. ~Dr. Seuss One day back in the dark ages when I was about six, I sat at our living room window watching my hope for a day outdoors melting in a steady [Read More…]


How Can I Do Anything but Love Him?

I know that he died that I might be forgiven my follies, my sins, and be cleansed from them. How wonderful is this love. How can I, knowing this, do anything else but love him, my Redeemer?” Joseph Fielding Smith On the long list of things for which I am grateful, the Savior is at [Read More…]

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(Hymn of Grateful Praise CD Cover)

Hymn of Grateful Praise

There is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf Last year I determined that for all of 2015 I would write and arrange only songs that expressed gratitude. Music that asked for nothing, and gave thanks for the really wonderful things [Read More…]


Because you asked: General Conference Music

This lovely rendition of “If the Savior Stood Beside Me,” performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the Sunday morning session of General Conference, was arranged by Sam Cardon. The sheet music is, unfortunately, not available. (Neither is the conference center organ, or those amazing organists… so it’s probably for the best. 😉 ) This [Read More…]


Situation normal…

If you’ve dropped in to see me over the past week, you’ve noticed that my site has been either slow as molasses or nonexistent. After fighting with it for four days, I finally gave up and moved it to a new host. So far, so good. My apologies if you’ve needed things and couldn’t connect. [Read More…]

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Behind every good songwriter…

…or mediocre one, as the case may be, there’s a support staff without whom the magic wouldn’t happen. Share this!


Google is now officially too big for its britches.

I’ve had a beef with Google since “searches in quotes” stopped working… not to mention searches that require the inclusion of +certain +terms and the exclusion of -other -terms. However, they hit one out of the park this last week. “Mobilegeddon” has struck, courtesy of the erstwhile-best-but-now-mediocre search engine we all know and used to [Read More…]


State of the Site 2014: A big “Thank You!”

Another year, another set of statistics. My site stats always surprise me. Nothing goes viral, nothing makes a big splash, and yet the end of the year numbers always leave me scratching my head. For instance: It would appear that there were 600,000 or so unique human beings out there who dropped in to visit [Read More…]


Personal Composer Demo

Until further notice, the Personal Composer Demo may be downloaded here: PERSONAL COMPOSER DEMO This is an .exe file. I do not know how your computer will respond to the attempt to download an executable, or what dire warnings it may give you. Happy transposing. I hope. Share this!


Another gorgeous voice: Mattie June

Here’s a sample track from a new release called “Noel” by Mattie June Millward. She recorded five of my songs/arrangements, featuring guitar by Clive Romney: O Come, O Come Emmanuel; A Manger Filled With Love; It Came Upon the Midnight Clear; Peace, Peace, Peace; and As Shepherds Kept Their Lonely Vigil. I’m just loving this [Read More…]


Jackman Music 2-for-1 Sale, Dec. 11, 2014

Just wanted to make sure you all are aware of Jackman Music’s buy-one-get-one-free sale, this Thursday, December 11. You have to buy multiples of two to get the sale price. This is a great time to stock up for the new year. Happy shopping! Share this!


If I Listen With My Heart – Ryan Murphy arrangement

In General Conference, October 2014, the Tabernacle Choir presented a lovely rendition of “If I Listen With My Heart,” arranged by associate director Ryan Murphy. Ryan has generously made the score available here so you can use it in your own choir. Here’s the performance from October: This version is deceptively simple. A friend in [Read More…]


All Tied Up With a Bow

You know that amazing feeling when you actually manage to finish something? Not just sorta finish, with a few loose ends that you’ll get to… um… eventually. I mean really finish? The last few scores and page updates for my Christmas album with Allyse Smith Taylor are DONE. Fertig. Terminado. Acabado. Gotowy. 完成した. (All translations [Read More…]


  3 Responses to “Musings @”


    Oh, Sally DeFord! I love love your music! I just finished mastering Jesus Once of Humble Birth with flute accompaniment and I just love it! It has such majesty. Over the years there have been many others that I have enjoyed. The song mentioned above, Guard Him, Joseph is another of my all time favorites. I just now played Jesus Once of Humble Birth four times just because I love to hear it! You are so generous to share. You have brightened the world in a magnificent way!


    I want to thank you for all the wonderful music that you share. You have great talent and I love both the arrangements of others works, and the many original works that you have produced. Thank you so much.


    RE: Guard Him, Joseph
    Hi. I love your music. Thank you for sharing your talent. I would like our YM to sing this for Christmas this year. The arrangement key for the “Solo, T/B or two-part men” is the range I would like, however, I would like the arrangement (piano part) from the “low-voice solo w/opt flute”. I thought maybe I could use personal composer to make the key change to the low voice solo, however, the options available in Personal composer are a different piano part. Thoughts?

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