Psalm 103

103A: Bless the Lord, O My Soul

Performance Notes:

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. = Ps. 103: 1

Gospel musician Andraé Crouch composed a song for the familiar opening phrases of Psalm 103, one of the much-loved Old Testament hymns about God's love and compassion for his people. Only the refrain, which frames his longer text, is included in the Psalter Hymnal; the same words provide a frame around the entire psalm. Crouch retains the conventional Hebrew custom of addressing oneself as "my soul." Crouch's phrase "He has done great things" is a summary reference to all the mighty and compassionate deeds of the Lord described in Psalm 103–God forgives, heals, provides, and redeems; and he is gracious, patient, loving, and just.

Crouch and his ensemble, The Disciples, popularized this chorus by their numerous performances in the early 1970s. The hymn was recorded and published by Lexicon Music in 1973, both as a four-part choral octavo and as a solo piece.

Liturgical Use:
As a chorus of praise to God on many occasions of worship, especially on the great feast days of the church calendar, like Christmas and Easter, when we think of the "great things" God has done.

Tune Information:

Sing BLESS THE LORD with jubilant unison voices accompanied by a complement of African American gospel-style instruments: piano, electric organ, and drums. Several solo voices in the congregation could improvise alternate soprano melodies and/ or substitute other lyrics for "He has done great things," especially if the song is repeated; alternate phrases derived from Psalm 103 include: he forgives my sins; he redeems my life; he renews my youth; he made known his ways; he is slow to anger; he abounds in love (other phrases from Ps.103).

 Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information:

  • Words:  Andraé Crouch (b. 1945), 1973, © 2000 Bud John Songs, admin. EMI CMG Publishing
  • Music (BLESS THE LORd): Andraé Crouch (b. 1945), 1973; arr. Richard Smallwood (b. 1948), 1981, © 2000 Bud John Songs, admin. EMI CMG Publishing
  • Reprint Information:

103B: O Come, My Soul, Sing Praise to God

Performance Notes:

  • For performance notes on this song, see page 1087 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.
  • View and listen to this song in a worship service from Calvin College's Worship Symposium.
  • The following are alternative accompiments for this tune, ANGELIC SONGS/TIDINGS.

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:

  • Sedio, Mark. Let It Rip! At the Piano. vol. 2 Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7580-0 [2003]

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Psalter, 1912, alt., P.D.
  • Music (TIDINGS 11.10.11.10 with refrain): James Walch, 1875, P.D.
  • Reprint Information:
    • Words and Music: both are in Public Domain. You do not need permission to reprint this song.

103C: Bless the Lord, My Soul

Performance Notes:

Text

This text is a paraphrase of key lines from Psalm 103 that speak of God’s mercy and compassion.

Music

Accompany on piano or organ (with the organ, use soft foundation stops on the refrain and an eight-foot flute accompanying the cantor) at a gentle tempo (q = 84). Shape the second phrase dynamically, reaching a peak on the high notes. Or use a guitar, not strumming, but with the more classical finger-picking style.

The verses are best sung by a cantor with a secure yet gentle voice that can convey the gentle compassion of this text. Everyone can accompany the cantor by singing softly (or humming) the music of the refrain.

Enjoy the variety of musical obligatos, and feel free to experiment with different instruments. For example, two violins could play the recorder duo, or a saxophone might play the recorder part.

Here is one possible “map” for utilizing various musical layers with each repetition of the song:

keyboard introduction

keyboard and congregation

keyboard, congregation, and recorder on simple melody

keyboard, congregation, cantor (st. 1), and recorder on simple melody

keyboard, congregation, cantor (st. 2), and recorder duo

keyboard, congregation, and flute duo

keyboard, congregation, cantor (st. 3), and clarinet/recorder duo (Bb and C instruments)

congregation and recorder on simple melody

Ideas for Use

During the distribution of the elements at the Lord’s Supper.

As the thanksgiving to conclude the communion service. (Psalm 103 is historically the Psalm of Thanksgiving after communion.)

Can be especially appropriate during Advent and Lent.

Source

The community at Taizé (in France; www.taize.fr) is an ecumenical community of brothers who share a common concern for reconciliation between people and God as well as people with one another.

The main composer of music for the community of Taizé was the Paris composer Jacques Berthier (1923-1994), who left a wonderful treasury of short songs for worship. Most of his songs were formed after the ancient psalm tones and call-and-response worship style. Berthier’s musical gems are in worldwide ecumenical use.

Other Resources:

  • Purchase this song in a collection or recording from the Taizé Community and published by GIA Publications, Inc.
  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.
  • View and listen to this song in a worship service from Calvin College's Worship Symposium.

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Robert Batastini (b. 1942) and The Community of Taizé © 1991, 1998 Ateliers et Presses de Taizé, Taizé Community, France, GIA Publications, Inc., exclusive North American agent
  • Music: Jacques Berthier (1923-1994) © 1991, 1998 Ateliers et Presses de Taizé, Taizé Community, France, GIA Publications, Inc., exclusive North American agent
  • Reprint Information:

103D: The Tender Love a Father Has

Performance Notes:

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Ps. 103:13
st. 2 = Ps. 103:14-15a
st. 3 = Ps. 103:15b-16
st. 4 = Ps. 103:17a
st. 5 = Ps. 103:17b-18

Psalm 103 is one of the most beloved in the entire psalter. This paraphrase from the 1912 Psalter includes verses 13-18, which emphasize God's love for his frail human creatures. Such love is an example for our relationships in family life and, by extension, in all of God's family, his church. Other settings of this psalm are found at 103, 297, and 475.

Liturgical Use:
Worship that emphasizes God's compassion for his people; family life services.

Tune Information:

TALLIS' ORDINAL is one of nine psalm tunes Thomas Tallis composed for Matthew Parker's The Whole Psalter translated into English Metre (undated, but around 1567). This collection also included TALLIS CANON (441). TALLIS' ORDINAL received its name from its association with a revised translation of the Latin hymn "Veni, Creator spiritus" (425, 426) in the Ordinal (Ordination Liturgy) of the 1549 Prayer Book.

The earliest-known hymn tune in common meter, it was published with the melody in the upper voice, although at that time the primary melody was usually assigned to the tenor. The tune's structure is very simple: first and third phrases are identical, and the fourth phrase repeats the second one at the interval of a fifth below. Tallis provided the harmonization except for some added thirds in opening and cadence chords (try omitting those thirds for a more "authentic" sound). Sing in parts, perhaps reserving unison for the final stanza. A gentle accompaniment fits this text.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.
  • The following are alternative accompaniments for this tune, TALLIS’ ORDINAL

Alternative Harmonization for Organ and Descant Resources:

  • Archer, Malcolm. After the Last Verse. Kevin Mayhew ISBN 0 86209 502 6 [1995]
  • Mawby, Colin.  Hymns for Occasions. Kevin Mayhew ISBN 0-86209-568-9 [1994]
  • Noble, T. Tertius. Fifty Free Organ Accompaniments to Well-Known Hymn Tunes. J. Fischer 8430 [1949]
  • Proulx, Richard. Hymn Intonations Preludes & Free Harmonizations. Vol. VIII Selah 160-728 [1996]
  • Rawsthorne, Noel. 200 Last Verses. Kevin Mayhew ISBN 0 86209 189 6 [1991]
  • Shaw, Geoffrey. The Descant Hymn Book bk 2. Novello

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Psalter, 1912, alt., P.D.
  • Music (TALLIS ORDINAL 8.6.8.6): Thomas Tallis, ca. 1567, P.D.
  • Reprint Information:
    • Words and Music: both are in Public Domain. You do not need permission to reprint this song.

103E: My Soul Will Sing

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information:

  • Words and Music: Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townend © 2007 Thankyou Music, admin. EMI CMG Publishing, excl. UK and Europe, admin. by Kingsway Music/www.kingswaysongs.com
  • Reprint Information:

103F: Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven

Performance Notes:

Tune Information:

John Goss composed LAUDA ANIMA (Latin for the opening words of Psalm 103) for this text in 1868. Along with his original harmonizations, intended to interpret the different stanzas, the tune was also included in the appendix to Robert Brown¬ Borthwick's Supplemental Hymn and Tune Book (1869). LAUDA ANIMA is one of the finest tunes that arose out of the Victorian era. A reviewer in The Musical Times, June 1869, said, "It is at once the most beautiful and dignified hymn tune which has lately come under our notice."

Try singing in concertato fashion: the unison stanzas sung by the congregation and stanza 2 as well as the original stanza 4 (see below) sung by the choir in harmony, preferably unaccompanied.

Frail as summer's flower we flourish,
blows the wind and it is gone;
but while mortals rise and perish,
God endures unchanging on.
Alleluia, alleluia,
praise the High Eternal One.
-based on Psalm 103:15-17

Singers and accompanists will want to emphasize the melodic contours and not the marching rhythms emphasized by the bar lines. Organists, take advantage of Goss's interpretation of the various stanzas by playing the first stanza with solid and firm foundation stops, the second (if accompanied) with quieter sound, and the third with a very legato gentle sound on strings. Then open all the stops for a majestic conclusion on the fourth stanza.

Other Resouces:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.
  • The following are alternative accompaniments for this tune, LAUDA ANIMA

Alternative Harmonization for Organ and Descant Resources:

  • Archer, Malcolm. After the Last Verse. Kevin Mayhew ISBN 0 86209 502 6 [1995]
  • Burkhardt, Michael  As Though the Whole Creation Cried  vol. 2. Morningstar MSM-10-606 [2009]
  • Fedak, Alfred V. Hymn Intonations Preludes and Free Harmonizations. Vol III. Selah 160-723 [1992]
  • Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations for Organ. bk. 3 Ludwig O-10 [1986]
  • Mawby, Colin.  Hymns for Occasions. Kevin Mayhew ISBN 0-86209-568-9 [1994]
  • Noble, T. Tertius. Fifty Free Organ Accompaniments to Well-Known Hymn Tunes. J. Fischer 8430 [1949]
  • Rawsthorne, Noel. 200 Last Verses. Kevin Mayhew ISBN 0 86209 189 6 [1991]
  • Shaw, Geoffrey. The Descant Hymn Book bk 2. Novello
  • Sowerby, Leo. Ten Hymn Tune Descants. H.W.Grey CMR 2838 [1965]

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:

  • Hopson, Hal H. The Creative Use of the Piano in Worship. Hope 8392 [2008]
  • Porter, Rachel Trelstad. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000]

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Henry F. Lyte, 1834, alt., P.D.
  • Music (LAUDA ANIMA 8.7.8.7.8.7): John Goss, 1869, P.D.
  • Reprint Information:
    • Words and Music: both are in Public Domain. You do not need permission to reprint this song.

103G: A Responsorial Setting

Performance Notes:

  • For notes on this setting, see page 1087 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.
  • View and listen to this song in a worship service from Calvin College's Worship Symposium.

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Spanish © 1970 Conferencia Episcopal Española; English Peter M. Kolar © 1998 World Library Publications
  • Music: Peter M. Kolar © 1998 World Library Publications
  • Psalm Text: from Evangelical Lutheran Worship © 2006 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, admin. Augsburg Fortress Publishers
  • Tone: © 2011 Faith Alive Christian Resources
  • Reprint Information:
    • Words and Music: please contact World Library Publications
    • When reprinting the Psalm Text and Tone, please use the correct copyright line. Faith Alive Christian Resources gives you permission to reprint the Tone for use in a worship setting.