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Once In Royal David’s City


Once In Royal David’s City

  • Vocal mp3 download
  • Lyric Sheet PDF download


Time Signature: 4/4                       Key: D Major

Once In Royal David’s City is a popular Christmas Carol. It was originally written as a poem, by Cecil Frances Alexander. The Carol was first published in 1848, in her hymnbook, “Hymns For Little Children.”

A year later, the English organist, Henry John Gauntlett, (1805 to 1876)  discovered the poem. He also set it to music. He edited many hymnbooks and wrote over a thousand hymn tunes.

“Once In Royal David’s City, to the tune of “Irby,” is his most famous.
(Source: Wikipedia)

The song starts with a two beat anacrusis. An anacrusis is one or more unstressed notes before the first bar line of a piece or passage. In order to keep the beat, children have to learn to listen ( and not rush in) for the first strong beat.

This occurs on the syllable “Roy.”  i.e. “Once in Roy -al.”

The same anacrusis  or upbeat rhythm is repeated at the beginning of each verse.

When learning to sing the song, they have to anticipate the anacrusis at the beginning of each verse. Melodically, the range of notes is just over an octave and children can sing it quite easily.

The phrases “stood a low_” and  “in a man_” both use the solfege d m s. These phrases are going up in “jumps” of 2 notes of  the scale, at a time.

Once In Royal David’s City has good phrases to hone  in – tune singing skills.

Teaching Points: anacrusis or upbeat, d m s, in – tune singing, traditional Christmas Carol.


Audio Single Song Once In Royal David's City audio single song Miss Mon’s Music children’s songs download mp3 lyrics classroom music children’s music Kindergarten Pre School education preschool traditional songs educational music Christmas mp3 song download digital download

  • Vocal mp3
  • Lyric Sheet

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Single Song Pack

Once In Royal David’s City is also available as a SINGLE SONG PACK with the following contents:

  • Vocal mp3
  • Instrumental mp3
  • Instrumental with melody mp3
  • Lyric Sheet PDF
  • Colored Poster PDF
  • Coloring Sheet PDF
  • Sheet Music PDF

Click on this link to go to Once In Royal David’s City Single Song Pack



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