Our parent site, WorshipReady.com, has posted the Top 20 most downloaded worship chord charts of 2016 by the site users. You can see their post here:
I am posting that top 20 list here. Check it out and comment... any songs that surprise you to see their popularity? Any songs that you'd expect to see there but do not? Note that the numbers to the right in parenthesis indicate how that song ranked in the previous year's top 20, or "NL" if it wasn't on the previous year's list.
So I guess I'm a little surprised... do people actually find it useful to download somebody else's charts? I suppose that most of the sites let you choose what key you want the song in, but for me/us, there are just a lot of other things that we "do differently" than somebody else's charts... would be interested in hearing from others who do download charts like this - other than the time & effort saved not doing them yourself, are there advantages?
Would also be interested in hearing about what sorts of options are available on charts like this. The charts we use (which I prepare myself) are mainly in 18 pt. font on a single sheet, and most of the downloaded ones I've seen are in tiny little fonts. Can you select which parts (choruses, verses, bridges) you want to use, in what order? For me, it's always seemed like the time it takes to prepare charts (maybe half an hour per song) has been worth the flexibility over downloading somebody else's charts. Somebody want to tell me why I'm wrong?
You're not right OR wrong. If you prefer your own charts, more power to you! :) However, most people are unable to make their own charts... or at least ones that are actually right. And most of what can be accessed online are garbage. Sources like SongSelect or PraiseCharts just give you PDF files, which you can NOT edit. Yes, you can select a key, but you can't change anything. Even if the chords are right (which they are not always), you can't make your own customizations or arrangement.
WorshipReady.com charts are guaranteed to be accurate and are based on specified recording projects, so you can get a chart that is from a particular artist/album... not just the one stock version of the chart based on an unknown recording (SongSelect). You can download the PDF file from WR, like other sites, but you can also get two versions of the chart that you CAN edit and do a lot with:
1) OnSong - this is the leading app for handling your worship charts and WorshipReady is fully integrated into the app. You can import charts into the app and do on-the-fly key changes... and edit to your heart's content. Everything that was on the recording is on the chart (intro, instrumental, key change, etc), but you can easily remove any part of the chart that you don't need, or re-arrange song sections, or even modify chords if you just prefer to do the song differently. You can also download the OnSong text file from the website.
2) Planning Center Online - most people seem to use PCO and you can click a button on the WR website that directly imports the song and chord chart into your PCO account. The chart is loaded as a text file in ChordPro format so you can easily create multiple arrangements of the song in your account, in whatever key you'd like, and of course edit it as needed.
So, you may not need such services, but most worship leaders do. Even those that don't necessarily NEED it still may take advantage of a good service for the sake of saving time. If you download from some source where you just have to spend time fixing it afterwards, there's not much of a time savings in that, if any. But when you can download a quality chart (complete with BPM, copyright info, CCLI #, artist, etc), you can save quite a bit of time... even if you need to re-arrange things a bit for your own use.
Thanks, and I didn't mean to come off sounding "better than thou," apologies if I did. And thank you for posting the original list, there are some on there that I hadn't picked up from the CCLI Top ## lists, so I'll check those out.
So, yeah, after 50+ years playing guitar, I can pretty much listen to a youtube video and know what the chords are (at least for songs that are straightforward enough for our band and congregation), and I guess not everybody can do that.
Anybody else want to chime in on this one?
Some people could play for 50+ years and still not be able to put chords together (this is not a criticism BTW). I think this is a talent that some musicians have, but not all. However, in my own experience, it is a talent that can definitely be improved upon over the years.
The list is interesting Nathan. Some of these songs have been around for quite some time now but are as popular as ever with congregations and musicians alike.
I tend not to use chord charts although I can see the advantages of them provided they are quality chords. However, I like nothing better than working chords out or hearing something different in my head and heart that I want to put in there. I look at chord charts on various websites and sometimes use chord ideas from different ones and often mix and match, but for me personally, I get a gut feeling when the song sounds they way I want it to sound and not how the CD sounds. Occasionally, I can play a song in my living room and think 'that's it' but when played in front of a congregation it doesn't feel quite right so I will come back and change it. Not being technically fantastic on the guitar, my motto is 'how can I get the best from this song using the skills that I have'? Another thing, I don't like unnecessary chord changes in a song if the changes make a song sound choppy and it does flow properly. Oh, and something else, I may pick up a song I did years ago, play through again and decide it needs revamping and yet again change the chords into how I hear that song now. Exciting stuff!
'how can I get the best from this song using the skills that I have'? :-)
Interesting - I recognise about half the songs there, so it's pleasing to see that songs which were good remain used.
A little like Charles, I'll tend to chord songs out for myself, though usually in my own preferred way rather than using the 'right' chords. However I can see that this is useful for people wanting quick access to faithful copies that will help them reproduce what people hear on CD/MP3.
Right Toni. Personally, I've always told bands that I work with that we do NOT have to sound exactly like the CD. There very well may be a particular recording of the song that you like and want to follow to some extent, and it gives the band something to pull from. A chart of course helps too. However, I could care less if the artist did the chorus twice before going to the bridge... or whatever. I rarely set a fixed arrangement for a song. I teach each section of the song and have a basic arrangement, but the band always knows that they need to be flexible. If I signal to go back to the chorus, or hit the bridge again, or do a key change, etc... they need to be ready to do that. I don't care if the original artist did it that way or not, I'll do what works for my church, my band... or what is fitting for that moment in the service.
Regardless, a good chord chart gives a solid framework to build from. For many worship leaders, they have to have a chart or they are completely lost. That's not a slam at all, but we are all at different levels. Some use the chart to survive. Some use it for ideas. Some use it as a starting point. Whatever the use is, having a chart that is correct based on your closest targeted result/sound... and that is editable... is a great help.