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Rejoice, the Lord is King!

Another one by Charles Wesley.  If the name sounds familiar to you, it should.  He also wrote five other hymns in the hymnal of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, as well as six thousand others not found in the LDS hymn book.  The five are:

Jesus, Lover of My Soul,
Ye Simple Souls Who Stray,
Christ the Lord is Risen Today,
Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,
Come Let Us Anew. 

The guy’s a heavyweight poet and lyricist for sure.  Not only that, he was also an Anglican minister, a contemporary of George Washington, and his big brother John was the founder of the Methodist church.  Not surprisingly, Charles grew up to be a minister, like his father and his brothers.  So did his son, and grandson.  How would you like to grow up in a family like that?

Rejoice, the Lord is King! was written as a poem, to celebrate the kingship of Jesus, as mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments, the only books of scripture available to Wesley at that time. We don’t know exactly when it was written, but it was first published in Wesley’s book, Moral and Sacred Poems, in 1744, and had been set to music as a hymn by 1770. It has since become a favorite of Christians around the world.

As the hymn gained in popularity, it attracted other composers including George Handel and William E. Fischer. Different churches have standardized on three separate tunes. The one most Mormons are familiar with is called, “Jubilate,” and was written in 1894 by Horatio W. Parker, an American organist, choirmaster, and composer who began composing at age 15. He composed “Jubilate” when he was 21, and already successful on both sides of the Atlantic.

Play this song rapidly. The metronome setting shows 160 eighth-notes per minute, but you may wish to count it in quarter-notes, as written in Hymns. I recast it in 8/8 time, to simplify the counting of sixteenth-notes. It was written in the key of C, which makes it easy to play. Only one chord is played in an unusual way. 

Play the Dm as it is shown in the chord chart, to ease the transition to the following notes. Instead of showing the position of the left-hand fingers in the chord chart with zeros, as usual, I have used the numbers 1 - 4, to show which finger goes where, with 1 = index finger, 2 = middle finger, 3 = ring finger, and 4 = little finger. As a rule, I just use zeros, as it doesn’t really matter which finger goes in which spot as long as you are comfortable, and using finger numbers gets confusing. But this time it’s important, so I have broken my rule. Fret the Dm in the refrain the same way, but play it as a broken chord. Do not strum or pinch it. That is why it is shown in lightface, italic type.

In the next-to-last measure, hold the single D note with lots of tremolo.  Since this note is found at the third fret, you can get a much better tremolo effect by vibrating the string across the neck, rather than along it, as you normally would. Notes fretted in the first three frets require this technique to achieve a strong tremolo.

This song is in the public domain.