• HtH

What Do You Hear?

song lyrics & story

by Katrina Friesen


What do you hear that we do not hear?


God, what do you hear?

God, what do you hear?

Wages that were never paid are crying out before You;

Hear the cry of workers who were cheated of their pay.

Your ears hear these endless cries;

Wages and workers cry.


God, what do you hear?

God, what do you hear?

Blood cries out before You from the ground;

the innocent are slain.

Your ears hear these endless cries;

Blood cries from the ground.


God, what do you hear?

God, what do you hear?

Groaning of the slaves has reached Your ears.

Your ears hear these endless cries;

Groaning of the slaves.


God, what do you hear?

God, what do you hear?

All of creation groans,

filled with suffering because of sin.

Your ears hear these endless cries;

All of creation groans.


God, what do you hear?

God, what do you hear?

Wages, workers crying crying...

Blood is crying...

Groaning of slaves...

Groaning creation...

How long, O Lord? How long?


Open our ears to hear what You hear.

God, what do you hear?


STORY: I wrote this composition based on the question, “God, what do You hear?” With so much injustice and suffering in our world, I cannot imagine the cacophony of desperate cries God hears every day. The Bible has many passages that talk about not only people crying out to God, but things as well, like wages or blood. I chose to use a rondo setting for this piece, alternating the question refrain with different voices crying out to God. The structure can be thought of as follows:

Intro A B A C A D A E A F Coda A: The question refrain begins as a single note, but spreads gradually into cluster chords. Its use of prosody is intentional, reflecting the natural patterns of speech in this question. B: The sopranos give voice to James 5:4, where the wages that were never paid are crying out to God. C: The tenors give voice to the blood of the innocent crying out to God, as recorded in the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:10. D: The altos give voice to the groaning of the slaves in Egypt in Exodus 2:23-25. E: The basses give voice to the groaning of Crea.on spoken of in Romans 8:22. F: Each of the voices come together, one by one, giving a glimpse of the magnitude of what God hears. An extra line is added in the soprano, quoting Psalm 13:1, “How long, O Lord?” The Coda contains a prayer that God would open our ears to hear what He hears, then ends with the ques.on one more time, ending on a chord rife with tension. - KF




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