Tune Information

Meter: Irregular with refrain
Incipit: 53322 33155 771
Key: g minor
Source: African American spiritual
Copyright: Public Domain


Go Down, Moses

When Israel was in Egypt's land,
Let my people go,
oppressed so hard they could not stand,
Let my people go.

Go to text page...


The spiritual is in the call-and-response pattern: a leader sings the verses with some rhythmic freedom, either unaccompanied or with only light accompaniment; the entire congregation sings the phrases "Let my people go!" and the refrain, probably in harmony. That practice fits well for stanzas 1-4, but the entire group should sing all of stanza 5.

The harmonization by John W. Work, Jr. (b. Nashville, TN, 1872; d. Nashville, 1925), was originally published in The Story of the Jubilee Singers (1896). Work is well known for his pioneering studies of African American folk music and for his leadership in the performance of spirituals. He studied music at Fisk University in Nashville and classics at Harvard and then taught Latin, Greek, and history at Fisk from 1898 to 1923. Director of the Jubilee Singers at Fisk, Work also sang tenor in the Fisk Jubilee Quartet, which toured the country after 1909 and made commercial recordings. He was president of Roger Williams University in Nashville during the last two years of his life. Work and his brother Frederick Jerome Work (1879-1942) were devoted to collecting, arranging, and publishing African American slave songs and spirituals. They published two collections: New Jubilee Songs as Sung by the Fisk Jubilee Singers (1901) and Folk Songs of the American Negro (1907).

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1987


You have access to this FlexScore.
Are parts of this score outside of your desired range? Try transposing this FlexScore.
General Settings
Stanza Selection
Voice Selection
Text size:
Music size:
Transpose (Half Steps):
Contacting server...
Contacting server...

Questions? Check out the FAQ

A separate copy of this score must be purchased for each choir member. If this score will be projected or included in a bulletin, usage must be reported to a licensing agent (e.g. CCLI, OneLicense, etc).

This is a preview of your FlexScore.
The Cyber Hymnal #7404
Text: When Israel Was in Egypt's Land
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #476
Text: When Israel Was in Egypt's Land
  • Full Score (PDF, XML)
  • Bulletin Score (PDF)
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
Worship and Rejoice #618
Text: Go Down, Moses


Instances (1 - 33 of 33)
TextPage Scan

African American Heritage Hymnal #543


Chalice Hymnal #663

TextPage Scan

Gather Comprehensive #715

Text InfoTextAudio

Glory to God #52


Hymnal 1982 #648

TextPage Scan

Hymnal Supplement 98 #825

Hymnal #164


Hymns for a Pilgrim People #453

Journeysongs (2nd ed.) #845

TextPage Scan

Lead Me, Guide Me (2nd ed.) #650


Lift Every Voice and Sing II #228

TextFlexscoreAudioPage Scan

Lift Up Your Hearts #42

Oramos Cantando = We Pray In Song #488

Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexscoreAudioPage Scan

Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #476

Santo, Santo, Santo #28


Sing With Me #71


Songs for Life #103


Songs of Zion #112


Songs of Zion #212

The Covenant Hymnal #119


The Cyber Hymnal #7404

TextPage Scan

The New Century Hymnal #572

Page Scan

The New National Baptist Hymnal #499

TextPage Scan

The New National Baptist Hymnal (21st Century Edition) #490


The Presbyterian Hymnal #334


The United Methodist Hymnal #448

TextPage Scan

This Far By Faith #87


Timeless Truths #89

TextPage Scan

With One Voice #670

TextPage Scan

Worship (3rd ed.) #508

Page Scan

Worship (4th ed.) #579

TextScoreAudioPage Scan

Worship and Rejoice #618


Worship in Song #294

Include 4 pre-1979 instances
Suggestions or corrections? Contact us


It looks like you are using an ad-blocker. Ad revenue helps keep us running. Please consider white-listing Hymnary.org or subscribing to eliminate ads entirely and help support Hymnary.org.