|Composer:||William J. Kirkpatrick (1899)|
|Meter:||188.8.131.52 D with refrain|
|Incipit:||55151 23213 45543|
|Source:||The Book of Psalms, 1831|
PRAISE JEHOVAH was composed by William J. Kirkpatrick (b. Duncannon, PA, 1838; d. Philadelphia, PA, 1921) and joined in the 1890s to this versification of Psalm 148, with the original seventh stanza becoming the refrain. The tune was published with an 1899 copyright date in Life Songs, a 1916 publication of the Mennonite Publishing House.
Kirkpatrick received his musical training from his father and several other private teachers. A carpenter by trade, he engaged in the furniture business from 1862 to 1878. He left that profession to dedicate his life to music, serving as music director at Grace Methodist Church in Philadelphia. Kirkpatrick compiled some one hundred gospel song collections; his first, Devotional Melodies (1859), was published when he was only twenty-one years old. Many of these collections were first published by the John Hood Company and later by Kirkpatrick's own Praise Publishing Company, both in Philadelphia.
PRAISE JEHOVAH (also known as KIRKPATRICK and AINOS) is a splendid example of the best of gospel hymn writing: a strong melody, a variety of rhythms, and some independence in the harmony parts (especially in the refrain). Well-suited to part singing, PRAISE JEHOVAH can be sung in the common stanza-refrain pattern, but the order of the text would suggest singing the refrain (which can also be considered st. 4) only after stanzas 1 through 3. Try antiphonal singing on the three stanzas; have everyone sing the refrain. Sing the dotted rhythms crisply to distinguish them clearly from the regular eighth notes.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook