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Jesus, Lover of My Soul

I have recast the tempo of this song from 3/4 to 6/8, to make the counting easier. However, this is not to say that it makes the counting easy. The tempo of the original, as written in Hymns, changes a lot and includes triplets in odd places. One of the oddest occurs in measures [7] and [9], where there is a triplet, whose first note is a rest, which is counted as one of the triplet notes, but is not played. If you are familiar with the song, just play it as it normally sounds. If not, you’ll have to count it carefully, until you are familiar with it. Count these “phantom” triplet notes as [blank]-two-three, with the last two notes equally stressed. I have indicated this in the tab by substituting a lower case r (for “rest”) for the unplayed note.

Every line of the song begins and ends with a partial measure, so the first measure only has two counts in it, the last two counts of the partial measure at the end of the last line. I always find this a bit confusing, and usually try to avoid split measures, but could not do so this time without making things worse. Just play it as though the final measure of each line and the first measure of the next line were a single measure. Which, in fact, they are.

This song actually has two verses, when sung. I left out the second verse, to fit the song on a single page, and because this is supposed to be an instrumental solo. If you intend to accompany a singer, just play it through twice. You can even play an extra verse of the tab unaccompanied, as a bridge between the two verses. Enjoy!

Barre chords
More than half the chords in this song are barre chords. If you are already familiar with barre chords, this is a good thing, as they are nearly all just a barred e-shape, or are based on it. If you aren’t completely comfortable with barre chords, this is not the best song for learning them. These barre chords aren’t particularly difficult, but you have to hold them for a relatively long time, while subtly altering them to pick up the melody notes, or even to change chords. You will find this very tiring if you are not used to holding barre chords. That’s why I recommend this song for advanced, or at least for intermediate guitarists.

If you are advanced enough to be playing this arrangement, the first two lines should give you no trouble at all. Just play the tab as written, and the melody will be brought out within the chords as tabbed. In measure [2], you don’t actually have to fret the full barred F chord. A simple, four-string F will do. I left out the chord chart for the four-string F, for simplicity’s sake.

The measures in the last two lines are another story. Remember to strum all chords in the last two lines. I left out the strum markings for clarity. There would be so many of them that they would be more confusing than helpful. Nearly all these chords are played with the barre at the VIII fret (eighth fret). In measures [12] and [17], this requires you to stretch your pinkie up to the twelfth fret. To play the full CVIII chord while doing this, you will have to barre the 4th and 5th strings with the ring finger. Be sure not to buzz on the 3rd string while doing this. If your ring finger will not bend backwards enough to clear the 3rd string, try damping that string, or you can just play the first three strings. It won’t sound as nice as a full barre chord, but the audience won’t notice.

Chord changes
You will have to barre a couple of strings with the pinkie, while holding the main barre with the index finger, when converting the CVIII to an F6, in measures [12] and [17]. Fret them with the edge of the pinkie. You don’t have to press very hard. You can fret the strings, then lift the pinkie without disturbing the rest of the left hand, which holds the CVIII chord throughout the phrase. Play the melody notes in the 10th fret the same way.

There is not much of a change from the GIII in [14] to the G7III in [15]. Your pinkie will already be in the 5th  fret. Just move it to the 6th fret, and you’ve made the change, with no need to disturb the other fingers. Why make things more difficult than they need to be?

The only really difficult chord change comes in measure [19], where you must transition from CVIII to GIII. This requires a fast and accurate change from the 8th fret to the 3rd. Remember to lift your fingers completely off the strings, or you’ll get an ugly string squeal. A fast and accurate change of five frets like this can be difficult to do, but it sets your hand up for the quick transition to the final C/G. To make it easier, I’ve tabbed it with a E on the open 1st string, instead of a full chord. You can play this note with your right hand alone, while moving your left hand from the 8th fret to the 3rd, giving you an extra beat to make the transition. Pros can do a five fret change like this in the blink of an eye without looking, but I try to give myself as much time as possible, and I always look. Hitting the wrong fret, just at the climax of a song, is a great way to spoil an otherwise perfect performance.

Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, was a prolific writer of hymns and poems. In his lifetime, he wrote thousands. This one is considered by many to be his best. It has been published in 2629 hymnals! There is an interesting story about its composition:

According to Mrs. Mary Hoover of Bellefonte, PA, her grandmother was involved in the creation of this hymn. Charles Wesley was preaching in the fields of Parish Killyleagh, County Down, Ireland, when his doctrines angered some local men, who attacked him. He sought refuge at a nearby farm, where the farmer’s wife, Jane Lowrie Moore, hid him in the milk house. When a mob arrived in pursuit, she went to the milk house on the pretext of offering them some refreshment, and told Wesley to go out the rear window and hide instead under the hedge, near a little brook. There, he composed the words to this hymn, with the cries of his pursuers all around him.

Mrs. Moore’s descendants still live there, and it is said the house has not changed much since Wesley’s time, according to the Cyber Hymnal website. The hymn has changed since then, however. Originally it had five verses, of which the LDS hymnal includes only the first two: (extra spaces added in the middle of each line to emphasize the internal rhymes).

Jesus, lover of my soul,   let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,   while the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide,   till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide;   O receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none,   hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone,   still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,   all my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head   with the shadow of Thy wing.

Wilt Thou not regard my call?   Wilt Thou not accept my prayer?
Lo! I sink, I faint, I fall —   Lo! on Thee I cast my care;
Reach me out Thy gracious hand!   While I of Thy strength receive,
Hoping against hope I stand,   dying, and behold, I live.

Thou, O Christ, art all I want,   more than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,   heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name,   I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am;   Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found,   grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound;   make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art,   freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart;   rise to all eternity.

Over the years, several musical scores have been written to accompany this hymn. Perhaps the most popular, though not the one used in Hymns, has been a melody and arrangement by Joseph Parry composed in 1879. The melody used in the LDS hymnal is titled “Refuge”, and was composed by Joseph P. Holbrook (1822-1888). I have been unable to locate any verifiable information about him.