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  1. #1
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    Some Origins For Christmas Music

    Origins of Various Christmas Songs


    Silent Night is a poem that was written in 1816 by an Austrian priest called Joseph Mohr. On Christmas Eve in 1818 in the small alpine village called Oberndorf it is reputed that the organ at St. Nicholas Church had broken. Joseph Mohr gave the poem of Silent Night to his friend Franz Xavier Gruber and the melody for Silent Night was composed with this in mind. The music to Silent Night was originally intended for a guitar and the simple score was finished in time for Midnight Mass.

    God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen was first published in 1833 when it appeared in "Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern," a collection of seasonal carols gathered by William B. Sandys. The lyrics of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen are traditional olde English and are reputed to date back to the 15th century although the author is unknown.. It is believed that this particular carol was sung to the gentry by town watchmen who earned additional money during the Christmas season. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen continues to be enjoyed. The lyrics to this simple carol are reputed to be one of the oldest carols.

    The First Noel is unknown in origin but is generally thought to be English dating back to the sixteenth century. There is a misconception that the First Noel was French and it is believed that this is because of the French spelling of Noel as opposed to the olde English Anglo-Saxon spelling of the word as in Nowell. After England was captured by the Normans numerous words were adopted from the Norman French language and Noel was re-spelt as Nowell, early printed versions of this carol use the Nowell spelling. The First Noel was first published in 1833 when it appeared in "Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern," a collection of seasonal carols gathered by William B. Sandys.

    Rector Phillips Brooks (1835-1903) of Philadelphia, wrote the words to O Little Town of Bethlehem in 1868, following a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He was inspired by the view of Bethlehem from the hills of Palestine especially at night time hence the lyrics of O Little Town of Bethlehem. His church organist Lewis Redner (1831-1908) wrote the melody to O Little Town of Bethlehem for the Sunday school children's choir.

    Away in a Manager is often the first carol that children are taught. Away in a Manger was originally published in 1885. The publication of Away in a Manger was in a Lutheran Sunday school book and this created the misconception that the lyrics of Away in a Manger were actually written by Martin Luther himself. The author is unknown. The music to Away in a Manger was composed by William J. Kirkpatrick in 1895.

    The words to the carol O Come All Ye Faithful was originally written in Latin (Adeste Fideles) and was intended to be a hymn, it is attributed to John Wade, an Englishman. The music to O Come All Ye Faithful was composed by fellow Englishman John Reading in the early 1700s. The tune was first published in a collection known as "Cantus Diversi" in 1751. In 1841 Rev. Frederick Oakley is reputed to have worked on the familiar translation of O Come All Ye Faithful which replaced the older Latin lyrics "Adeste Fideles".

    The words and lyrics for All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth are by Don Gardner. The first publication of the Christmas song All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth was in 1946.

    Believe it or not Jingle Bells , one of the most famous American Christmas songs, was originally written for Thanksgiving! The author and composer of Jingle Bells was minister James Pierpoint who composed the song in 1857 for children celebrating his Boston Sunday School Thanksgiving. The song was so popular that it was repeated at Christmas, and indeed Jingle Bells has been reprised ever since. The essence of a traditional Christmas is captured in the lyrics of Jingle Bells and the sound effects using the bells have become synonymous with the arrival of Father Christmas or Santa Claus to the delight of children of all ages.

    The words and music to the Christmas song Little Drummer Boy was composed by Katherine K. Davis, Henry Onorati and Harry Simeone in 1958. The lyrics of Little Drummer Boy consist of no less than 21 rum pum pum pum' - a major part of the song and therefore presenting an apparently easy task for the lyricist! However, Little Drummer Boy has been a huge hit for several artists. The most notable rendition was created by the most unlikely combination of Bing Crosby and David Bowie. This version of Little Drummer Boy was a massive hot for the artists and was in fact Bing Crosby's most successful recording since the legendary White Christmas.

    Religious symbolism of The Twelve Days of Christmas

    1 True Love refers to God
    2 Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testaments
    3 French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
    4 Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
    5 Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
    6 Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation
    7 Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
    8 Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudes
    9 Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
    10 Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandments
    11 Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles
    12 Drummers Drumming refers to the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

    The famous Christmas song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer started life as a poem created by an American advertising executive Robert May. He was requested to produce a poem that could be given away to children by the Santa Claus employed by Department Stores at Christmas! Working as an Advertising Executive Robert May had a natural flair with words and was able to compose the Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer poem which was specifically designed to appeal to children. This marketing ploy was a massive success and approximately 2.5 million Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer poems were given away in the first year of its publication! In 1949 the singer Gene Autry recorded a musical version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer composed by Johnny Marks.

    The famous Christmas song Winter Wonderland was first published in 1934. The composer was Felix Bernard (1897-1944) and the lyricist was Richard B. Smith (1901-1935). Probably the most popular versions of this classic Christmas song, Winter Wonderland, were recorded to high acclaim by the Andrews Sisters and Perry Como. The lyrics of Winter Wonderland have undoubtedly contributed to the magical vision of snow at Christmas together with the tradition of building snowmen and therefore turning fantasy into reality by creating a real Winter Wonderland.
    T
    he song White Christmas is undoubtedly one of the most famous and popular of all the Christmas songs. The music and lyrics for White Christmas were written by Irving Berlin in 1942 and originally featured in the movie Holiday Inn starring Bing Crosby. The lyrics of White Christmas struck a chord with the soldiers fighting in the Second World War and their families who were waiting for them back home. The song and recording of White Christmas by Bing Crosby with John Scott Trotter's orchestra and the Ken Darby Singers was so popular that it was later reprised in the movie called after its name - White Christmas. The film White Christmas once again starred Bing Crosby together with Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen.

    God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen was first published in 1833 when it appeared in "Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern," a collection of seasonal carols gathered by William B. Sandys. The lyrics of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen are traditional olde English and are reputed to date back to the 15th century although the author is unknown.. It is believed that this particular carol was sung to the gentry by town watchmen who earned additional money during the Christmas season. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen continues to be enjoyed. The lyrics to this simple carol are reputed to be one of the oldest carols.

    Mel Torme wrote The Christmas Song - Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose - first recorded in 1946 by Nat King Cole, is a true Christmas standard. According to Mel Torme, on a hot summer day, he saw a spiral pad on his piano with four lines written in pencil. They started, `Chestnuts roasting ... Jack Frost nipping ... Yuletide carols ... Folks dressed up like Eskimos.' Friend Robert Wells had written these lines in an attempt to cool off, at least mentally. Forty minutes later, the classic Christmas song was written.
    Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.
    [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]


  2. #2
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    Papa you got way too much time on your hands, but I enjoyed the post too much rep inbound.


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  3. #3
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    BEK
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    here is some more information about Christmas

    The Romans held a festival on December 25 called Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, "the birthday of the unconquered sun." The use of the title Sol Invictus allowed several solar deities to be worshipped collectively, including Elah-Gabal, a Syrian sun god; Sol, the god of Emperor Aurelian (AD 270–274); and Mithras, a soldiers' god of Persian origin. Emperor Elagabalus (218–222) introduced the festival, and it reached the height of its popularity under Aurelian, who promoted it as an empire-wide holiday.
    December 25 was also considered to be the date of the winter solstice, which the Romans called bruma.It was therefore the day the Sun proved itself to be "unconquered" despite the shortening of daylight hours. (When Julius Caesar introduced the Julian Calendar in 45 BC, December 25 was approximately the date of the solstice. In modern times, the solstice falls on December 21 or 22.) The Sol Invictus festival has a "strong claim on the responsibility" for the date of Christmas, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia. Several early Christian writers connected the rebirth of the sun to the birth of Jesus "O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born . . . Christ should be born," Cyprian wrote

    Pagan Scandinavia celebrated a winter festival called Yule, held in the late December to early January period. Yule logs were lit to honor Thor, the god of thunder, with the belief that each spark from the fire represented a new pig or calf that would be born during the coming year. Feasting would continue until the log burned out, which could take as many as twelve days. In pagan Germania (not to be confused with Germany), the equivalent holiday was the mid-winter night which was followed by 12 "wild nights", filled with eating, drinking and partying.As Northern Europe was the last part to Christianize, its pagan celebrations had a major influence on Christmas. Scandinavians still call Christmas Jul. In English, the Germanic word Yule is synonymous with Christmas, a usage first recorded in 900.


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by armsmaster270 View Post
    Papa you got way too much time on your hands, but I enjoyed the post too much rep inbound.
    Thanks! When you are retired and sedate you tend to have a lot of time........... Actually, I am only on the puter three times a day: 5:00 am to 1:00 pm; 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm; and, 9:00 pm to 5:00 am.

    In that regard, let me take this time to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!
    Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.
    [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]


  5. #5
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    Very enjoyable reading about the history of these carols. I am sure there are many that aren't mentioned. That being said, I would like to add one, if I may. It's my favorite, and a traditional one as well.

    "O Holy Night" ("Cantique de Noël") is a well-known Christmas carol composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem "Minuit, chrétiens" by Placide Cappeau (1808-1877), an accomplished amateur. Cappeau was asked to write a Christmas poem by a parish priest. It has become a standard modern carol for solo performance with an operatic finish.

    In the carol, the singer recalls the birth of Jesus. It was translated into English by Unitarian minister John Sullivan Dwight, editor of Dwight's Journal of Music in 1855 (note the abolitionist reference in the third verse: "for the slave is our brother"), and lyrics also exist in other languages.


    On 24 December 1906, Reginald Fessenden, a Canadian inventor, broadcast the first AM radio program, which included him playing "O Holy Night" on the violin. The carol therefore appears to have been the first piece of music to be broadcast on radio.


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    How many of us know that there are more than one or two verses for Jingle Bells?

    Jingle Bells


    Dashing through the snow
    On a one-horse open sleigh,
    Over the fields we go,
    Laughing all the way;
    Bells on bob-tail ring,
    Making spirits bright,
    What fun it is to ride and sing
    A sleighing song tonight

    Chorus:

    Jingle bells, jingle bells,
    Jingle all the way!
    O what fun it is to ride
    In a one-horse open sleigh

    A day or two ago,
    I thought I'd take a ride,
    And soon Miss Fanny Bright
    Was seated by my side;
    The horse was lean and lank;
    Misfortune seemed his lot;
    He got into a drifted bank,
    And away, we got upsot.

    Chorus:

    A day or two ago,
    The story I must tell
    I went out on the snow
    And on my back I fell;
    A gent was riding by
    In a one-horse open sleigh,
    He laughed as there
    I sprawling lie,
    But quickly drove away.

    Chorus:

    Now the ground is white
    Go it while you're young,
    Take the girls tonight
    And sing this sleighing song;
    Just get a bob-tailed bay
    Two-forty as his speed
    Hitch him to an open sleigh
    And crack! you'll take the lead.

    Chorus:


    Choose The Right. When you're doing whats right, then you have nothing to worry about.

    Not a LEO

    In memory of Sgt. Howard K. Stevenson 1965 - 2005. Ceres Police Dept.
    In memory of Robert N. Panos 1955 - 2008 Ceres Police Dept.









 

 

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