There are several tune settings for this well-known Christmas carol. Last year I posted the version that is the most popular version here in the United States. But there are other versions, including the one I am posting today. This version is also the one most often used in the UK, according to my friends from England. If you are from the Anglican tradition, this is probably the version you know.
I did some research on this tune. For some reason I thought maybe it was an old English tune, maybe even a folk song. I was surprised to discover the tune was actually composed by a member of the Methodist church here in the United States. How it became the tune used by the Church of England is probably an interesting story! Maybe it was chosen because it is really a lovely melody and very child friendly. Spanning just over one octave, it is easy to sing and play. The lilting melody has no dotted notes and fits the words perfectly. The harmony is charming and I hope to add a teacher duet one of these days.
I tried very hard not to put this in C position, but it really made no sense to force it into another key when the key of C works out so well for pre-reading this melody. I did have to add a hand crossing to play the A above middle C, but I don’t think that will be too much of a problem if your student started lessons a few months ago. I hope the diagram at the top will help with that.
For those of you who always ask, yes, I drew the pictures including the manger, the hand, and the keyboard in Photoshop. I engraved the score in Finale.
I have a traditional score that I’m using with some of my students that is exactly like this, except the notes are on the grand staff . If there is enough interest from the UK, I will also post it here.