God, My Help and Hiding Place


Performance Notes:

Tune Information:

The tune TOKYO is based on the ancient Japanese Gagaku mode of musical composition. Gagaku is the name for all traditional Japanese court music, much of it dating back to the eighth century, with previous roots in Chinese music. Composed by Isao Koizumi (b. 1907; d. Tokyo, Japan, 1992) for Yamaguchi's text, TOKYO was first published in the English-language Japanese hymnal Hymns of the Church (1963).

Koizumi graduated from the Osaka University of Commerce in 1932. For the next ten years he taught at that school, was an organist in Tokyo, and then went on to work in the import-export business. He has served as the conductor of the Tokyo Choral Society and edited various hymnals, including The Hymnal 1954 for the United Church of Christ in Japan, The Sunday School Hymnal (1954), and Hymns of Praise (1967 edition). A writer and translator of books and articles on church music, Koizumi has also composed and arranged hymn tunes. He is considered a leading figure in modern Japanese hymnody.

Like much Asian music, TOKYO consists of only five pitches and is meant for unison singing. I-to-Loh, editor of Hymns from the Four Winds (1983), a collection of Asian American hymns, suggests that "ethnic instruments may be employed to double the melody or to accompany the piece." For this hymn he suggests an oboe, plucked lute, or zither, commenting that "an experienced accompanist may be able to simplify or improvise the accompaniment within the appropriate style after the congregation feels comfortable in singing the hymn." In any case, a keyboard accompaniment should be light, with no filling in of (Western) thirds in this open-fifth style.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.
  • The following are alternative accompaniments for this tune, TOKYO

Alternative Harmonization for Organ and Descant Resources:

  • Burkhardt, Michael. As Though the Whole Creation Cried. Morningstar MSM-10-555 [2001]
Song Audio: 
Psalm 71
Song Number: 
Projection and Reprint Information: 
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