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Carol Of The Bells Christmas Song

Carol Of The Bells

Year: 1904

Written By: Peter J. Wilhousky, Mykola Leontovich

This Christmas carol was composed by the Ukrainian Mykola Leontovych. Leontovych. 'Carol of the Bells' is a composition of a choral miniature work. The first composition was in 1904, but it wasn't until 1916, that it was to premier. In December of 1916, a student choral group performed the song at Kiev University. It premiered in the United States five years later in 1921 at Carnegie Hall. The carol tells of the tale of a swallow that decidedly flies into a household to deliver the message that the family within the household will have a bountiful year.

Leontovych originally created this piece of work as an assignment which was for a harmony course that he was taking. This was originally designed to be sung a cappella by mixed 4-voice choir. The song is focussed on what is believed to be a traditional folk chant. When creating this Ukranian carol, they used a hemiola. As well as this setting, Leontovych created two other settings, one was for an unaccompanied women's choir, while another was for a children's choir which had a piano accompaniment.

'Carol of the Bells' is characterised by its use of a four note motif as an ostinato figure which plays throughout the work. This ostinato figure happens to be an ancient pagan Ukrainian New Year's magical chant known in Ukrainian as "Shchedryk". The Ukrainian New Year was originally celebrated in April and "Shchedryk" means the Generous One.

In the 1930's, Peter Wilhousky created a copywrited English text of 'Carol of the Bells'. Alternatively, Minna Louise Hohman wrote a slightly different alternative version in 1947, which was called 'Ring, Christmas Bells'. This alternative English version featured more nativity based lyrics.

The hit comedy, South Park, created a cappella version of 'Carol of the Bells' In this episode ("Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics") Mr. Mackey sings the carol. Except, in Mr. Mackey's version there are subtle changes, for example he inserts his own catchphrase by getting rid of "All seem to say/Throw cares away" and instead replacing it with "All seem to say/Ding dong m'kay". In 2004, Guster decided to produce a parody of the song. Playing a changed version of the single called, 'Carol of the Meows'. This version by Guster made the significant change of replacing the lyrics with simulated cat noises. American sitcom, Family Guy, has also produced a parody of 'Carol of the Bells'. In fact, Family Guy has done a parody on two occasions in two Family Guy episodes. The first episode the parody featured in was called "Perfect Castaway" (this was a featured song on Peter's prospective Christmas album). The second parody appeared in the episode "Peterotica" (In this episode,Peter sings about working at Burger King).

 

Carol Of The Bells Lyrics

Hark! How the bells, sweet silver bells
All seem to say, 'Throw cares away.'
Christmas is here, bringing good cheer
To young and old, meek and the bold
Ding, dong, ding, dong, that is their song,
With joyful ring, all caroling
One seems to hear words of good cheer
From everywhere, filling the air
O, how they pound, raising the sound
O'er hill and dale, telling their tale

Gaily they ring, while people sing
Songs of good cheer, Christmas is here!
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas!
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas!

On, on they send, on without end
Their joyful tone to every home
Hark! How the bells, sweet silver bells
All seem to say, 'Throw cares away.'
Christmas is here, bringing good cheer
To young and old, meek and the bold
Ding, dong, ding, dong, that is their song
With joyful ring, all caroling.
One seems to hear words of good cheer
From everywhere, filling the air
O, how they pound, raising the sound
O'er hill and dale, telling their tale

Gaily they ring, while people sing
Songs of good cheer, Christmas is here!
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas!
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas!

On, on they send, on without end
Their joyful tone to every home.
Ding Dong Ding Dong

 

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