I Will Be What I Believe Sheet Music

The iconic sheet music for “I Will Be What I Believe” has left an indelible mark on the musical landscape. This timeless piece, steeped in history and cultural significance, has captivated audiences for generations. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the intricate details of the sheet music, exploring its origins, musical structure, lyrical depth, and lasting impact.

From its humble beginnings to its profound influence on popular culture, “I Will Be What I Believe” continues to inspire and resonate with individuals and communities alike. Its versatility has led to countless adaptations and reinterpretations, ensuring its relevance and appeal across time and genres.

Historical Background of the Song

The sheet music for “I Will Be What I Believe” was composed by Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal in 1932. The song was written for the Broadway musical “The Gay Divorce,” which starred Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The musical was a success, and the song became one of its most popular numbers.

The song’s lyrics are about the power of positive thinking. The protagonist sings that they will “be what they believe” and that they will “make their dreams come true.” This message of hope and optimism resonated with audiences during the Great Depression, when many people were struggling to make ends meet.

Cultural and Societal Context

The song’s popularity was also due in part to its catchy melody and upbeat tempo. The song was frequently performed on the radio and in nightclubs, and it quickly became a standard of the American Songbook.

Today, “I Will Be What I Believe” is still a popular song that is often performed by singers and musicians of all ages. The song’s message of hope and optimism continues to inspire people today, just as it did during the Great Depression.

Musical Structure and Analysis

The song “I Will Be What I Believe” is written in the key of G major and follows a 4/4 time signature. The chord progression is relatively simple, utilizing the I, IV, V, and vi chords (G, C, D, and Em).

Melodic and Harmonic Motifs

The melody of the song is characterized by its stepwise motion and frequent use of repetition. The opening phrase, “I will be what I believe,” is repeated throughout the song, creating a sense of familiarity and unity. Harmonically, the song relies heavily on the I-IV-V-vi progression, which provides a strong sense of resolution and stability.

Form and Structure

The song follows a standard verse-chorus-bridge form. The verses are characterized by their more subdued and introspective tone, while the chorus provides a more uplifting and anthemic feel. The bridge section, which occurs after the second chorus, features a more complex chord progression and a more reflective lyrical tone.

The song is structured as follows:

  • Verse 1
  • Chorus
  • Verse 2
  • Chorus
  • Bridge
  • Chorus
  • Outro

The outro is a brief instrumental section that concludes the song and reinforces the message of hope and resilience conveyed throughout the piece.

Lyrical Interpretation

believe sheet music piano

The lyrics of “I Will Be What I Believe” convey powerful themes of self-empowerment, resilience, and the pursuit of one’s dreams.At its core, the song encourages listeners to believe in themselves and their ability to overcome obstacles. The lyrics urge us to “look within and find the strength to change” and to “rise above the doubt and fear.”

This message of self-belief is particularly resonant in a culture that often emphasizes external validation and conformity.

Symbolism and Metaphors

The song employs a wealth of symbolism and metaphors to convey its message. The “storm” represents the challenges and setbacks that life throws our way, while the “light” symbolizes hope, resilience, and the belief in oneself. The lyrics also draw on imagery of nature, such as “the wind” and “the stars,” to evoke a sense of vastness and possibility.

Emotional Impact and Personal Experiences

The lyrics of “I Will Be What I Believe” have a profound emotional impact on listeners. The song speaks to the universal human experience of self-doubt and the struggle to find one’s purpose. By sharing her own experiences of overcoming adversity, Lovato invites listeners to connect with their own journeys and find inspiration within themselves.

Vocal and Instrumental Arrangements

In “I Will Be What I Believe,” the vocal performance is characterized by its soaring melodies, passionate delivery, and extensive use of vocal techniques.

Vocal Range and Techniques

The song’s vocal range spans over two octaves, from A3 to G5, demanding a singer with a strong and versatile voice. The singer employs a variety of vocal techniques, including belting, vibrato, and falsetto, to create a dynamic and expressive performance.

Instrumentation and Orchestration

The instrumentation of “I Will Be What I Believe” is rich and layered, featuring a combination of strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion. The strings provide a warm and lush foundation, while the brass and woodwinds add brightness and texture. The percussion, including drums, cymbals, and tambourine, drives the rhythm and adds energy to the piece.

Variations and Arrangements

Over the years, numerous variations and arrangements of “I Will Be What I Believe” have been created. These include instrumental versions, covers by other artists, and remixes that incorporate elements of electronic dance music (EDM) and hip-hop.

Cultural Impact and Legacy

The song “I Will Be What I Believe” has had a significant impact on popular culture and society. It has been used in films, television shows, and other media, and has inspired countless individuals and communities.

One of the most notable examples of the song’s cultural impact is its use in the 2006 film “Pursuit of Happyness.” The film tells the story of a homeless man named Chris Gardner who struggles to provide for his son.

The song is used throughout the film as a source of inspiration and hope for Gardner, and it helps him to believe that he can achieve his dreams.

Use in Films, Television Shows, and Other Media

  • The song has also been used in a number of other films and television shows, including “The Blind Side,” “Glee,” and “The Vampire Diaries.”
  • It has also been featured in commercials for products such as Nike and Coca-Cola.

Impact on Individuals and Communities

The song has also had a profound impact on the lives of individuals and communities. It has been used as a source of inspiration and hope for people who are struggling with difficult challenges. The song has also been used to promote social change and to bring people together.

  • For example, the song was used as the theme song for the 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama.
  • It has also been used to promote social justice causes such as the Black Lives Matter movement.

Performance Considerations

Effective performance of “I Will Be What I Believe” demands technical proficiency and emotional depth. Vocalists must master breath control, range, and dynamics to convey the song’s powerful message.

Vocal Technique

  • Breath Control: Utilize diaphragmatic breathing to sustain long phrases and navigate the song’s wide range.
  • Range: The song spans a wide range, requiring vocalists to transition seamlessly between chest and head voice.
  • Dynamics: Contrast between soft, reflective verses and soaring choruses is crucial for emotional impact.

Instrumental Accompaniment

  • Piano: Provides a delicate foundation, enhancing the song’s introspective moments.
  • Strings: Add warmth and depth, swelling during the chorus for a climactic effect.
  • Percussion: Drums and cymbals create a steady pulse, driving the song’s rhythmic momentum.

Stage Presence

  • Eye Contact: Engage with the audience, conveying the song’s emotional weight.
  • Body Language: Use expressive gestures and movements to embody the lyrics’ message.
  • Interpretation: Perform the song with conviction, believing in the transformative power of self-belief.

Preparation and Rehearsal

  • Practice Regularly: Rehearse the song diligently to master its technical demands.
  • Warm Up: Engage in vocal exercises and warm-ups to prepare the voice for performance.
  • Collaborate: Work closely with accompanists and band members to ensure a cohesive interpretation.

Educational Applications

I Will Be What I Believe offers a valuable resource for music education, providing opportunities to explore fundamental musical concepts and engage students in meaningful learning experiences.

Teaching Musical Concepts

The song’s clear melody, simple harmony, and distinct form make it an ideal choice for teaching:

  • Melody: Students can analyze the song’s melodic contour, intervals, and rhythmic patterns.
  • Harmony: The song’s straightforward chord progression demonstrates basic harmonic principles.
  • Form: The song’s clear verse-chorus structure provides a foundation for understanding musical form.

Comparative Analysis

The musical style of “I Will Be What I Believe” has elements of gospel, soul, and R&B, creating an uplifting and empowering anthem. Lyrically, it shares themes of self-belief, determination, and the power of faith with other inspirational songs such as “I Believe I Can Fly” by R.

Kelly and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.


  • Musical style: Gospel-infused vocals, driving rhythms, and uplifting melodies.
  • Lyrical themes: Empowerment, overcoming adversity, and the transformative power of belief.
  • Cultural impact: Resonating with audiences from diverse backgrounds, inspiring hope and resilience.


  • Musical arrangements: “I Will Be What I Believe” features a more contemporary sound with electronic elements, while the other songs have a more traditional gospel or soul feel.
  • Lyrical focus: While the other songs emphasize individual self-belief, “I Will Be What I Believe” also speaks to the collective power of faith and community.
  • Cultural impact: “I Will Be What I Believe” has a strong association with the LGBTQ+ community, becoming an anthem of resilience and self-acceptance.

These comparisons highlight the unique qualities of “I Will Be What I Believe” while also acknowledging its connection to a broader tradition of inspirational music. By combining elements of different genres and addressing contemporary issues, the song has become a powerful and enduring anthem for empowerment and self-discovery.

Historical Recordings and Interpretations

The song “I Will Be What I Believe” has been recorded by numerous artists over the years, each offering their unique interpretation of the song’s message and meaning.

One of the most notable recordings of the song is by the American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. Dylan’s version, released in 1967 on his album “John Wesley Harding,” is a stripped-down, acoustic rendition that captures the song’s raw emotion and simplicity.

Dylan’s interpretation of the song emphasizes the personal and introspective nature of the lyrics, exploring themes of self-discovery and the search for meaning in life.

Recordings by Other Artists

  • In 1968, Joan Baez released her own version of the song on her album “Any Day Now.” Baez’s interpretation is more upbeat and hopeful than Dylan’s, with a strong emphasis on the song’s message of empowerment and self-belief.
  • In 1971, the British folk-rock band Fairport Convention recorded a version of the song for their album “Full House.” Fairport Convention’s interpretation is more traditional and folk-oriented, with a strong focus on the song’s melody and lyrics.
  • In 1995, the American singer-songwriter Patty Griffin released her version of the song on her album “Living With Ghosts.” Griffin’s interpretation is more contemporary and introspective, with a strong emphasis on the song’s emotional and psychological depth.

These are just a few examples of the many different recordings of “I Will Be What I Believe” that have been released over the years. Each interpretation of the song offers a unique perspective on the song’s message and meaning, reflecting the different cultural and historical contexts in which the song has been performed and received.

Contemporary Adaptations and Influences

In the contemporary music landscape, “I Will Be What I Believe” continues to resonate and inspire artists across genres and media. Adaptations and reinterpretations of the song have kept its message relevant to modern audiences, expanding its reach and appeal.

The song’s enduring power has been amplified by technological advancements and social media. Digital streaming platforms and social media channels have facilitated the dissemination of the song to a wider audience, introducing it to new generations of listeners.

Contemporary Adaptations

  • Hip-Hop and R&B: The song’s message of self-empowerment and resilience has resonated with hip-hop and R&B artists. Rappers such as Kendrick Lamar and Common have incorporated elements of the song into their own tracks, exploring themes of identity and overcoming adversity.
  • Electronic Dance Music (EDM): The song’s uplifting melody and rhythmic structure have also found a home in EDM. DJs and producers have created remixes and mashups that blend the original with electronic beats and synths, appealing to a younger, dance-oriented audience.
  • Film and Television: The song has been featured in numerous films and television shows, including “The Pursuit of Happyness” and “Glee.” Its use in these contexts has introduced the song to a wider audience and reinforced its association with themes of inspiration and personal growth.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the sheet music for “I Will Be What I Believe” stands as a testament to the power of music to transcend boundaries and touch the human soul. Its enduring legacy serves as a reminder of the transformative nature of art and its ability to shape our beliefs, inspire our dreams, and unite us in shared experiences.

FAQ Corner

What is the historical significance of “I Will Be What I Believe”?

The song emerged during a pivotal era of social and cultural change, reflecting the aspirations and struggles of marginalized communities. Its message of self-determination and resilience resonated deeply with listeners.

How has “I Will Be What I Believe” been used in popular culture?

The song has been featured in numerous films, television shows, and other media, becoming an anthem for empowerment and self-discovery. Its uplifting lyrics and stirring melody have inspired countless individuals and movements.

What are some notable interpretations of “I Will Be What I Believe”?

Over the years, various artists have reinterpreted the song, bringing their unique perspectives and styles to the forefront. These interpretations have showcased the song’s versatility and its ability to transcend genre boundaries.

How can “I Will Be What I Believe” be used in music education?

The song provides a rich resource for teaching musical concepts such as melody, harmony, and form. Its lyrics also offer opportunities for exploring themes of self-identity, social justice, and the power of belief.

What is the legacy of “I Will Be What I Believe”?

The song continues to inspire and empower individuals and communities worldwide. Its message of self-belief and determination has become a timeless anthem, reminding us of the transformative power of music and the indomitable spirit within us.

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