Contemplation Chant

The Bird Sings Oral Tradition Song Library

Contemplation Chant

This is one of the simplest and most satisfying layer songs I’ve ever found. It can be taught to a group of novice singers and sound beautiful within minutes. The arrangement inspired by Sara Thomsen deviates quite a bit from Sophia Songhealer’s original and she gave her blessing for the song’s use in this way.

Composer & Copyright

Original song by Sophia Songhealer. Arrangement inspired by Sara Thomsen. Used with permission.


Recording by Lisa G. Littlebird & Lily Buzzard.



Om mani padme hum
Buddhist. Translation of Sanskrit: “The sound of silence. The jewel in the lotus.”

La illaha, il Allah hu
Islam. Translation of Arabic: “There is no God but God” 

Jewish. Translation of Hebrew: “Peace” 

Hindu. Translation of Sanskrit: “Peace” 

Gloria in excelsis Deo
Christian. Translation of Latin: “Glory to God in the highest.” 

Teaching Notes

Often when teaching this with a new group I teach the first three parts and get them going and just add the Gloria part myself as a fun surprise. After the group is going I can then bring other into the Gloria part with me instantly and without stopping the song because it’s already familiar to most. One detail I personally attempt to correct because it is a small mistake I see happening very often is the pronunciation of “in excelsis Deo”, all i’s are pronounced with a long “ee” sound, so proper pronunciation is “eeen ekshellsees”.


Level of teaching speed/ difficulty (1 = very easy, 10 = very challenging)

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