Old 100th

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Old 100th
by Louis Bourgeois
Meter8.8.8.8 (L.M.)

"Old 100th" or "Old Hundredth" (also known as "Old Hundred") is a hymn tune in long metre, from the second edition of the Genevan Psalter. It is one of the best known melodies in many occidental Christian musical traditions. The tune is usually attributed to the French composer Louis Bourgeois (c. 1510  c. 1560).

Although the tune was first associated with Psalm 134 in the Genevan Psalter, the melody receives its current name from an association with the 100th Psalm, in a translation by William Kethe entitled "All People that on Earth do Dwell". The melody is also sung to various other lyrics, including the Common Doxology and various German Lutheran chorales. In that latter respect it was used by Johann Sebastian Bach as a cantus firmus in his chorale cantata Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir (BWV 130).


The Genevan Psalter was compiled over a number of years in the Swiss city of Geneva, a center of Protestant activity during the Reformation, in response to the teaching of John Calvin that communal singing of psalms in the vernacular language is a foundational aspect of church life.[1] This contrasted with the prevailing Catholic practice at the time in which sacred texts were chanted in Latin by the clergy only.[2] Calvinist musicians including Bourgeois supplied many new melodies and adapted others from sources both sacred and secular. The final version of this psalter was completed in 1562.[3] Calvin intended the melodies to be sung in plainsong during church services, but harmonized versions were provided for singing at home.


The original lyrics set to this tune in the Genevan Psalter are a paraphrase of Psalm 134:

{ \key g \major
\time 2/2
\set Score.tempoHideNote = ##t
\tempo 2=52
\set Staff.midiInstrument = "oboe"
\omit Score.TimeSignature
\override Score.BarNumber  #'transparent = ##t
\relative c'' {
\cadenzaOn g2 g4 fis e d g2 a b \bar"|" b2 b4 b a g c2 b a \bar "|" \break
g2 a4 b a g e2 fis g \bar"|" d'2 b g a4 c b2 a g1 \bar "|." }
\addlyrics {                                     %this matches more or less with the English given earlier:
Vous, saints mi -- ni -- stres du Sei -- gneur,  %Ye, holy ministers of the Lord
Qui, dé -- vou -- és à son hon -- neur,          %Who, dedicated to his honour
Veil -- lez la nuit dans sa mai -- son,          %Watch by night in his abode
Pré -- sen -- tez -- lui votre o -- rai -- son. }  %Present him your oration

Or, in English translation:[4]

You faithful servants of the Lord,
sing out his praise with one accord,
while serving him with all your might
and keeping vigil through the night.

Unto his house lift up your hand
and to the Lord your praises send.
May God who made the earth and sky
bestow his blessings from on high.

The Old Hundredth metrical setting from a 1628 printing of the Sternhold and Hopkins Psalter.

Old 100th is commonly used to sing the lyrics that begin "All People That on Earth Do Dwell," Psalm 100, a version that originated in the Anglo-Genevan Psalter (1561) and is attributed to the Scottish clergyman William Kethe.[5] Kethe was in exile at Geneva at this time, as the Scottish Reformation was only just beginning. The first verse is as follows:[6]

All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice;
Him serve with mirth, His praise forth tell;
Come ye before Him and rejoice.

This version was sung at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, with harmonization and arrangement by the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.

A hymn commonly sung to Old 100th is "Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow," using the text often referred to as the Doxology, written in 1674 by Thomas Ken, a bishop in the Church of England.[7] This hymn was originally the final verse of a longer hymn entitled "Awake, My Soul, and With the Sun,"[8] though it is most commonly sung by itself as a doxology. The traditional text is:

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Modernized versions of that text are also widely used. The melody can be used for any hymn text in long meter, that is, with four lines of eight syllables in iambic feet. The hymn From all that dwell below the skies, a paraphrasing of Psalm 117 by Isaac Watts with the Doxology as the final verse, is commonly sung to the tune.[9] In the Sacred Harp and other shape note singing traditions, the tune is sung with the text "O Come, Loud Anthems Let Us Sing," a metrical paraphrase of Psalm 95 from Tate and Brady's A New Version of the Psalms of David. The popular Hawaiian version Hoʻonani i ka Makua mau was translated by Hiram Bingham I and is published in hymnals.[10]


The tune first appeared in the Genevan Psalter, coupled with French metrical text for Psalm 134. Over the years, the tune was sometimes rhythmically modified. Below it is as set by Johann Sebastian Bach in the final movement of his cantata Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir (BWV 130).

{ \new PianoStaff <<
    \set Score.tempoHideNote = ##t
  \override Score.BarNumber  #'transparent = ##t
  \new Staff << 
    \new Voice \relative c'' {\set Staff.midiInstrument = #"church organ" \tempo 4 = 104 \voiceOne \clef treble \key c \major \time 3/4 \partial 4
    c4 | c2 b4 | a2 g4 | c2 d4 | e2\fermata \bar"" \break
    e4 | e2 e4 | d2 c4 | f2 e4 | d2\fermata \bar"" \break
    c4 | d2 e4 | d2 c4 | a4 b2 | c2\fermata \bar"" \break
    g'4 | e4. d8 c4 | d4. e8 f4 | e4 d2 | c2\fermata \bar "|."
    \new Voice \relative c'' { \voiceTwo 
    g4 | g2 g8 f | e4. f8 g4 | e c' b | g2
    g4 | g2 g4 | f e e | a4 g8 f c'4 | b2
    e,8 fis | g2 g4 | gis2 a4 | a g8 f g4 | g2
    g4 | g4. f8 g4 | a g c | c b8 a g4 | g2
  \new Staff <<
    \new Voice \relative c' {\set Staff.midiInstrument = #"church organ" \clef bass \key c \major \time 3/4 \voiceOne
    e4 | e2 d4 | c2 c4 | c g g' | e2
    c4 | c2 b8 a | b2 c4 | c4. b8 g'4 | g2
    c,4 | b2 c4 | b2 c4 | c4 b8 c d4 | e2
    d4 | c g c | c b a | g g'4.  f8 | e2
    \new Voice \relative c { \voiceTwo 
    c4 | c8 d e f g4 | a,8 b c d e4 | a e g | c,2
    c4 | c8 d e f g4 | gis8[ fis gis e] a g | f4 e8 d c4 | g'2 
    a4 | g8[ f e d] c d | e[ d c b] a g | f'4 d g | c,2
    b4 | c8[ b c d] e c | f[ e f g] a b | c4 g2 | c,2
   >> >> }

In other works[edit]

"Old Hundred" was the first work transmitted by telephone during Graham Bell first demo at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Boston, May 10, 1876).[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schuler, Dr. Louis E. "Duck". "History of the Genevan Psalter – Part 1". Credenda/Agenda, vol.13, no.1 (2007). Archived June 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Introduction to the Genevan Psalter". The Genevan Psalter. Archived from the original on 2010-03-28. Retrieved 2008-02-19.
  3. ^ Havergal, William Henry (1854). A history of the old hundredth psalm tune, with specimens. Mason Brothers. p. 13.
  4. ^ "The Genevan Psalter". Archived from the original on February 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-19.
  5. ^ "William Kethe". The CyberHymnal. Retrieved 2019-03-25.
  6. ^ "All People that on Earth Do Dwell". Hymnary. Retrieved 2017-08-26.
  7. ^ "Thomas Ken". The CyberHymnal. Retrieved 2019-03-25.
  8. ^ "Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow". The CyberHymnal. Retrieved 2019-03-25.
  9. ^ Church Publishing (1985). The Hymnal, 1982, Volume 2. Church Publishing, Inc. p. 380.
  10. ^ Hoʻonani i ka Makua mau at Hymnary.org; Hoʻonani i ka Makua mau at Huapala.org
  11. ^ Uwe Wolf (editor), Henry S. Drinker (translator). "Foreword", p. 4 in Johann Sebastian Bach: Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir (Lord God, we praise thee all of us) BWV 130 (Partitur/Full score). Carus, 2015
  12. ^ Luke Dahn. BWV 130.6 at bach-chorales.com(2017)
  13. ^ Michael Steinberg, The Concerto
  14. ^ The Old Hundredth Psalm Tune: All People that on Earth do Dwell. Oxford University Press. 31 March 1969. ISBN 978-0-19-354721-6. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  15. ^ The Hundred Days, p.111 (Vol. Book 19) (Aubrey/Maturin Novels) By Patrick O'Brian
  16. ^ Robert V. Bruce, Alexander Bell and the Conquest of Solitude, Cornell University Press, 1973, p.189.

External links[edit]