Friday, 14 November 2014

Singing Our Carols

This rather long post gives notes for the performance of some of our carols at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum on 16th November 2014. Included are a song list, updates to some of the lyrics, the harmony parts to Sweet Chiming Bells, practice recordings for The Moon Shone Bright and The Holly and the Ivy, and an extra note about The Falmer Carol.

We had a practice session at the Beechwood on 12th November and probably Emily was the only one who was aware that I was recording some of this. I did in fact record the whole evening on a tiny mp3 player which happens to have a voice recording facility and this is the source of the recordings provided below. The quality isn't brilliant, but it is good enough to learn the songs from.

Keith D

List of songs

Emily provided us with this list of songs for the event; the order may be changed.
  • On Sussex Hills
  • The Holly and the Ivy
  • Deck the Hall
  • Sussex Mummers' Carol
  • Sussex Carol
  • The Moon Shone Bright
  • The Holly Bears a Berry
  • Sweet Chiming Bells
  • The Falmer Carol
  • Wassail! Wassail!
  • We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Updates to lyrics

These updates apply to the lyrics given in the SDFS Carols Songbook which is available on the Lyrics and Recordings page.

The Moon Shone Bright

In the last verse, third line, remove the word "So". The last verse, with the repeat of the last two lines, is now:

Our song is done and we must be gone,
We can tarry no longer here;
God bless you all, both little, great and small,
And God send you a happy new year!

God bless you all, both little, great and small,
And God send you a happy new year!

The Holly and the Ivy

Add "O" to the beginning of the chorus. NB every chorus!
Add "all" after "singing" in the last line of the chorus.
Replace "the" with "a" in the first line of the second verse.
Remove "the" from the second line of the second verse.

The first two verses, with chorus, are now:

The holly and the ivy
When they are both full-grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The Holly bears the crown.

O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing all in the choir.

The holly bears a blossom
As white as lily flow'r
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To be our sweet saviour.

O the rising of the sun …

Sweet Chiming Bells

Here's our recording from the Beechwood:
You can download the mp3 file here.

Download the score for the chorus with harmony parts here.

Piano recordings (computer generated) for the chorus:

Alto:

Bass:

Combined:

Download mp3 files for the chorus:  altobasscombined

The Moon Shone Bright

Here's our recording from the Beechwood:
You can download the mp3 file here.

Download the score here.

Piano recording (computer generated – a little fast, sorry):
You can download the mp3 file here.

NB It is known that a few of the notes we are singing here are not correct, however we decided to stay with this version for the time being as we have a performance in a few days. Please also note that this version is not identical to the recording from our workshop CDs which is provided on the Lyrics and Recordings page.

The Holly and the Ivy

We are singing this to the 'new' tune which almost everybody appears to know. However, as this has rarely been sung at the Beechwood (it's not on our list of 39 'approved songs' for public performance) and on our Lyrics and Recordings page there have been no clues at all to what this sounds like, I'm including it now for reference.

Here's our recording from the Beechwood:
You can download the mp3 file here.

Download the score here.

Piano recording (computer generated):
You can download the mp3 file here.

The Falmer Carol

The melody for this has already been provided in this post.

There's just one particular place in the song to draw attention to, where we often get the wrong note. This is when we sing the second note in the second line of each verse – the second line of the first verse begins Hymns sublime their way attending... and the mistake occurs when we sing the first syllable of sublime. It may be that some of us have heard this sung in different ways and we're not sure which is correct, so for the avoidance of doubt please read on and listen to the recordings.

At the start of the evening at the Beechwood we sang it like this, which is correct:


You can download the mp3 file here.

However, later in the evening we sang it incorrectly like this:


You can download the mp3 file here.
This is not the way to sing this!

If you're not sure of the notes, here's the beginning of the line on a piano:


You can download the mp3 file here.

Notice that both syllables of sublime should be sung on the same note. Similarly in the second line of the second verse, which begins Well might Angels..., we should be singing the same note for might and the first syllable of Angels.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much Keith, how lovely to hear ourselves! and great to be able to hear and practice the new things. The recordings are clear and great to sing along to. I look forward to singing them all again on Sunday!
    Emily

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  2. Thanks Keith.
    Have missed 2 Beechwoods, so this is great.
    Liz

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