Muscogee Hymn Suite

Jerod Tate


Performance forces:
traditional Mvskoke singer, bar — orchestra (2(alto/picc).2.2(b cl).2(cbsn) – – timp, 2perc, hp – str) — children’s chorus



Muscogee Hymn Suite is an orchestration of three traditional Muscogee (Creek) church hymns. One very unique artistic result of European contact is the American Indian church hymn. As missionaries fanned out across Indian Country they became the first to document our Native languages and create translations of The Bible and other Christian texts, including church hymns. This lead to a new series of a hybrid music, composed by tribal citizens. For Southeast American Indians (Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek and Seminole) this hybrid style of music is now over 200 years old and contains a vast repertoire. The music is unmistakably Native and created a third category of traditional music alongside stomp dancing music and our old folk songs. The hymn transcriptions of this work are based on the singing of Curtis Scott, a traditional Muscogee singer living in Oklahoma City. Below are recordings of the traditional hymns, sung by Curtis Scott: I. HESAKETVMESET LIKES (Prayer Hymn) Hesaketvmeset likes, God dwells, Nak omvlkvn hahicvtet, He created all things, Em penkalit, mekusapis, I fear Him, so I pray, Cv cukwvn es vkvsamis. I praise Him with my mouth. II. CEHOTOSAKVTES (Encouragement Hymn) Cehotosakvtes, cenaorakvtes, Do not be weary, do not be troubled, Momis komet, awacken, Keep striving, you all come, O vpeyvkvres, hvlwen. O we will go, to heaven. III. CE MEKUSAPEYVTE (Dismissal Hymn) Ce mekusapeyvte, We have prayed to You, Momusen tem vwahes, At this we dismiss, Cen herketvn pu ‘wahlvs, Give us Your peace, Momet ‘sepu wahecvs. And then dismiss us. Mohmen yvmv ekvnv, And then this earth, Enkvpvkake yofvt, When we leave it, Cen liketvn ‘roricet, And we get to heaven, Fekvpetvn pu ‘yaces. We want to rest.