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Wade in the Water

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Stephen Bulla

Arranged by Stephen Bulla

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Subtitle: Traditional Spiritual

General Info

Year: 2001
Duration: c. 3:15
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Spiritual
Publisher: Curnow Music Press, through Hal Leonard
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $59.00   |   Score Only (print) - $12.00


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Wade in the Water (Roud 5439) is an African American jubilee song, a spiritual, in reference to a genre of music "created and first sung by African Americans in slavery". The lyrics to Wade in the Water were first co-published in 1901 by Frederick J. Work and his brother, John Wesley Work Jr.

Wade in the Waters is associated with songs of the Underground Railroad. According to a 2002 article written by Dave Watermulder, J. Amber Hudlin, and Ellie Kaufman at George Washington University, the song reflect the Israelites' escape out of Egypt as found in Exodus. According to a 2007 anthology by California State University in Fresno, the singer "warns of the coming signs of the end" but says the "victory of Heaven over Hell" is assured, and "looks forward to future freedom".

- Program Note adapted from Wikipedia

This arrangement by Stephen Bulla is in the big band jazz style.

- Program Note adapted from publisher

Commercial Discography


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Bulla, S. (2001). Wade in the Water: Traditional Spiritual [score]. Curnow Music Press: Wilmore, Ky.
  • Wade in the Water, Wikipedia Accessed 28 May 2021