Christmas Sheet Music – Carol of the Bells 2022

By | November 25, 2022

Carol of the Bells

Ukrainian composer Mykola Dmytrovich Leontovich wrote this amazing piece in 1916. Read more about Leontovich on his biography page. We he have over fifty arrangements of this delightful song on our website.

The Ukrainian word for “bountiful” gives this song its original name, “Shchedryk”. The song is based on a traditional folk chant and was one of many winter well wishing songs.

Black and White drawing of a swallow

The original song tells the story of a swallow flying into a household where he tells them of the plentiful year that they will have.

On January 13, New Year’s Eve on the Julian calendar, Ukrainian villagers, often girls or young women, would go from house to house, singing the New Year songs. Householders would reward them with gifts of baked goods or other treats.

The chant is based on a four note pattern called an ostinato and is within the range of a minor third.

The Ukranian Republic Capella made the song popular when it toured the West in 1920. The tour was directed by Oleksander Koshetz.  Peter J Wilhousky heard one of their performances and adapted it into an English Christmas Carol, ‘Carol of the Bells’.  He then copyrighted and published his new lyrics in 1936. His lyrics did not bare any similarlity to the original ones.  Following this, the song became popular in the US and Canada and went on to become associated with Christmas.

Church Bells

The song reminded Wilhousky of beautiful ringing bells and he captured that imagery in this in his lyrics

We love the performance of Carol of the Bells on YouTube by the Fairfield County Children’s Choir it is truly wonderful.

Lyrics

Carol of the Bells vs Shchedryk

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 the song
With joyful ring
All caroling (Oh, oh, ah)

One seems to hear
Words of good cheer
From everywhere (From everywhere)
Filling the air

Oh, how they pound (Oh, how they pound)
Raising their 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

Ah, ah, ah

Ding-dong, ding-dong
Ding-dong, ding-dong
Hark how the bells (Hark how the bells)
Sweet silver bells
All seem to say (All seem to say)
Throw cares away (We will throw cares away)

Christmas is here
Bringing good cheer
To young and old
Meek and the bold

Oh how they pound (Oh how they pound)
Raising their 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

Ah, ah, ah

Source: Musixmatch Songwriters: Peter Wilhousky / Mykola Leontovich

Bountiful evening, bountiful evening, a New Year’s carol;
A little swallow flew into the household
and started to twitter,
to summon the master:
“Come out, come out, O master,
look at the sheep pen,
there the ewes have given birth
and the lambkins have been born
Your goods [livestock] are great,
you will have a lot of money, by selling them.
If not money, then chaff from all the grain you will harvest
you have a dark-eyebrowed beautiful wife.”
Bountiful evening, bountiful evening, a New Year’s carol,
A little swallow flew.

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