We Wish You A Merry Christmas is a well known traditional English Christmas Carol. As with all traditional songs, there have been many versions. It was performed by carolers, wassailers and mummers in the nineteenth century, with a variety of tunes and lyrics.
Arthur Warrell, (1883-1939) an English composer and organist, is responsible for the popularity of this carol. In December 1935 he performed his elaborate four part arrangement with his own University of Bristol Madrigal Singers.
Warrell used the lyrics “I Wish You A Merry Christmas” and published the song the same year under the title “A Merry Christmas: West Country traditional song”. Subsequently, the lyrics were changed to “We Wish You A Merry Christmas and republished. It has been performed widely ever since.
I have decided to use a version that is shorter and doesn’t use verses to do with figgy pudding.
Musically, we have another 3/4 waltz beat, with it’s accent on the first beat of the bar, followed by two weaker beats. This lends itself to body percussion, with an action for the first beat and a different action for the next two weak beats. For example, clap, pat, pat.
Once body percussion is practised, we can then transfer the same concept to playing untuned percussion instruments and then to tuned instruments. The rhythms used throughout the whole song are simple, using only crotchets, quavers and minims.
Teaching Points: 3/4 waltz beat, accent, instruments, traditional Christmas Carol.
Audio Single Song
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Single Song Pack
We Wish You A Merry Christmas is also available as a SINGLE SONG PACK with the following contents:
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