Original song by Fen Frehner for piano and solo, duet, or other vocal configurationsLyrics: by Fen Frehner based on a poem by Graeme Frehner
A few years before my dad passed away, he was inspired to do a project. He facilitated getting casts made of the hands of three mothers (my mom / his wife, his mother, and my mom’s mother). He then had bronzed hands made from the molds and mounted them on nice plaques. He had a plaque made for each mother and all their children. An image is above. A short poem that he wrote was included on the plaque that read:
The first to hold,The first to scold,Behold your mother’s hands.
The hands that toiled,The hands that spoiled,Behold your mother’s hands.
With you they’ve played,For you they’ve prayed,Behold your mother’s hands.
Copyright © 1996 by Graeme Frehner
I thought that the concept might make for a good song. For various reasons, I only ended up using the first line of his poem, along with phrase, “Behold your mother’s hands”, but I think the spirit of the song closely matches what my dad wanted to convey and highlight in his poem – the love that mother’s have for their children that is demonstrated daily through the instrument of their hands.
Please note that there are tricky rhythms in the song. For instance, the vocal part in measure 4 (1-and-2 “The first to hold”) is a different rhythm than in measure 6 (1-and “The first to clothe”); and there are numerous instances in which words are sung ahead of the beat. Because these rhythms can be difficult to match with multiple singers, it can be advantageous to have soloists sing the verses.
An MP3 recording of the two-part version is available for free download below (4.5 MB). The artists are two excellent young singers, Katherine (Katie) & Madeleine (Maddy) Davis; with me on piano.
The 8.5"x11" sheet music may be purchased above by selecting the desired quantity, clicking the "Add to Cart" button, and following the checkout process. Please specify in “Notes to seller” at checkout which arrangement/configuration is desired (solo, duet, mixed-duet, or 3-4 parts). Each version has opportunities for multiple soloists, if desired. Low-resolution versions of the sheet music may be downloaded below.
A MIDI file of the duet version is also available for free download below. It contains the piano accompaniment plus synthesized voice “oohs” for the singing parts. The synthesized voice sound is not nearly as nice as real voices, but it provides a small-file demo of how the song is supposed to sound.
Verse 1The first to hold,The first to clothe,Behold, behold your mother's hands. Fam'ly they('ve) fed,Tucked you in bed,Behold your mother's hands. Chorus 1These are the hands,The tender hands, Holding you near,Calming the fear,Drying a tear. These are the hands,loving hands, Behold, behold your mother's hands. Verse 2The hands that mend,The hands that tend,Behold, behold your mother's hands. With you they('ve) shared,For you they('ve) cared,Behold your mother's hands. Chorus 2These are the hands,The gentle hands, Touch of a dove,Symbol of love,Gift from above. These are the hands,Such loving hands. Behold, behold your mother's hands.Behold your mother's hands.
Text: Fen Frehner based on a poem by Graeme Frehner