- Da Day Dawis (The Day Dawns)
- Hark The Bonny Christ Church Bells
- Taladh Slanair (Our Savior Thee)
- Taladh Chriosta (The Christmas Child’s Lullaby)
- Baloo Lammy
- Suid Leinibh (Rock Thee, O Child)
- Christmas Day I’Da Moorning
- Duan Nollaig
- Wexford Carol (Vocal Version)
- Wexford Carol (Instrumental Version)
- Oiche Nollaig (Christmas Eve)
- Cead Moladh Le Muire Beannaithe (All Praise To The Blessed Mary)
- Tra Va Ruggit Creest (When Christ Was Born)
- I Sing A Maid
- Don Oiche Ud mBeithell (I Sing Of A Night In Bethlehem)
- Irish Carol
- Sussex Carol
- Wren Song
- Seacht Suailci na Maighdine Muire (The Seven Joys of Mary)
- Sans Day Carol
- Righteous Joseph
- Chant de Noel (The Breton Carol)
- Gower Wassial
- O Deued Pob Criston (O Come All Christians)
- Please To See The King
- Nos Galan (Deck The Halls)
The arrangements in this collection employ the keys of C, G, D & F and require a 5 octave range (E2 to C6). Lever Changes are indicated between the staves while pedal changes are given below the bass staff. Fingerings and dynamics are also indicated, but only as suggestions. Please feel free to make these arrangements ‘your own’ by doing what is comfortable for you. Guitar chords are included with the arrangements for expanded ensemble performance possibilities.
Historical Information on Some of the Carols
Da Day Dawis or Da Day o’Dawye comes from the Shetland Islands off the northern coast of Scotland. The tune is probably of Norse origin and could date from the 1400’s. It is a fiddle tune which was played door to door before sunrise to call people to the church on Christmas morning, which made it a good choice to open this collection. It was played in a highly ornamented style, and the fiddler played open strings above and below the melody to create a drone. This arrangement attempts to capture the feel of this practice.
Hark The Bonny Christ Church Bells is an old Scottish hymn.
Taladh Ar Slanair is an older version of the famous Hebridean carol from South Uist which follows. It is a waulking song which was sung during the process of shrinking tweed cloth. This arrangement may be used as an introduction to Darhon Rees-Rohrbacher’s arrangement of Taladh Chriosta
Baloo, Lammy is a 17th century traditional Scottish carol.
Suid A Leinibh is a lullaby which was collected on the Isle of Skye and is possibly of Norse origin.
Christmas Day I’ Da Moorning is another Shetland Island fiddle tune.
Duan Nollaig is a Scottish chant which was probably sung door to door on Christmas Eve.
Wexford Carol was collected from a traditional singer in County Wexford. The English words were added later. I have also included Jennifer Pratt-Walter’s lovely arrangement for harp and solo instrument.
Irish Carol has words from Kilmore, South Wexford, which were probably added during the 17th century when the church made an effort to transform many ancient folk tunes into hymns and carols from their original ‘coarse’ form.
Sussex Carol was collected in 1904 where it had been heard sung in the streets of Dublin for years.
Wren Song comes from the Irish custom of men & boys hunting and killing wrens on St. Stephen’s Day (December 26). Then the boys, some playing instruments, would ask for money to bury the birds. RoJean Loucks contributed this lively arrangement.
Sans Day Carol was collected at Saint They (Day) celebrations in Gwennap in Cornwall. St. They was actually a Breton saint whose followers travelled to Armorican in Cornwall.
Righteous Joseph was collected from Elizabeth Hocking in Redruth, Cornwall in 1920. Miss Hocking, who was 84 at the time, learned it from her mother in the 1840’s.
Gower Wassail was collected on the Gower peninsula in Wales in 1928. This carol was sung by people as they travelled door to door to wish their neighbors ‘wes hail’ (be whole) or good health. The simgers would frequently carry a branch on which would be tied ribbons and other ornaments by the residents receiving the carolers.
Please To See The King comes from Pembrokeshire, South Wales and tells of the traditional killing of the wren by the king on St. Stephen’s Day.
Nos Galan is one of the many New Years’ carols I found while putting this collection together. I thought closing the collection with one would be appropriate and chose this, the most popular of the carols.