Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas and Holiday Music

A link to this fun blog post about the grammar and spelling in Christmas songs was posted on one of the group lists I belong to. I thought it was cute, and I especially liked the grammar lesson on the proper use of "lay." When I am writing I write all around that particular action so I don't inadvertently have someone "lay down on the couch." In the case of the carol, "Away in a Manger" the question is where Jesus puts his head.

"Away in a Manger" is one of my favorite carols, and I found several versions on YouTube, including this one by children.



I think this is at heart a child's song, and I love to hear sweet young voices singing it, but adults do it justice, too. I found this lovely rendition by Casting Crowns.



Another special carol is "Silent Night", and when I first started playing it on guitar, someone told me the song was originally written for guitar. I decided the check that fact out and here is what I found on Wikipedia:
The song was first performed on Christmas Eve 1818 at St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, a village on the Salzach river. The young priest, Father Joseph Mohr, had come to Oberndorf the year before. He had already written thelyrics of the song "Stille Nacht" in 1816 at Mariapfarr. The melody was composed by Franz Xaver Gruber, schoolmaster and organist in the nearby village of Arnsdorf. Before Christmas Eve, Mohr brought the words to Gruber and asked him to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for the church service. Both performed the carol during the mass on the night of December 24.
So I guess what I had been told was partially true.

Another interesting fact about "Silent Night" is that  it was sung simultaneously in French, English and German by troops during the Christmas truce of 1914 during WWI, as it was one carol that soldiers on both sides of the front line knew.

Here is a wonderful rendition of "Silent Night" sung in German by a young boy's choir.



I've always enjoyed the holiday music, and every year I could not wait for the radio stations to start airing the music. The carols all have such beautiful messages, as do some of the other songs. In addition to the traditional carols, I like "White Christmas", especially the Bing Crosby version, and "Silver Bells". Oh, and I can't forget "Frosty the Snowman" and "The Little Drummer Boy."  When my kids were young, those were the two most requested songs when I got out my guitar, and it still gives me great pleasure to play and sing and remember those eager smiles. It never seemed to matter to them if I hit every note just right.

Actually, there are so many holiday songs and carols I like, it would be impossible to list them all here. What are some of your favorites? Do they bring back happy memories? Do you have holiday music filling your home, your car?

3 comments:

Jeremy [Retro] said...

i cannot think what is my favorite traditional song for the holidays... thank you for the year and good tidings for 2014.

Maryann Miller said...

Thanks for stopping by, Jeremy. All the best to you for the New Year.

Yolanda Renee said...

My favorite is Silent Night! Thanks for posting - music makes the season!

Merry Christmas, Maryann!