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O Come, O Come, Emmanuel: A History

Before “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” was translated into English, this special Christmas hymn – originally in Latin – was born out of O Antiphons: a set of monasteric chants sung the week before Christmas as early as the 9th century. O Antiphons The O Antiphons are a set of chants used at Vespers (sunset/evening prayer) during…

The Christmas Song: A History

Picture this: it’s blistering hot, the middle of summer (1945). What do you do to stay cool? You think cool thoughts, of course. That’s what songwriters Bob Wells and Mel Tormé did, and that’s how The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) was born. Tormé said of the event: “I saw a spiral pad on…

Carol of the Bells: A History

One of the most recognizable Christmas tunes of all time is Carol of the Bells. However, the signature four-note melody, appropriately bell-like in sound and movement, has some surprising origins. Believe it or not, Carol of the Bells was not originally a Christmas song at all. Based on folk music, Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych wrote the original…

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: A History

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is one of the oldest existing Christmas carols. Yep, you read that correctly. Dated back to the 1500s and earlier, this English carol has actually gone through a lot of change and misinterpretation over the years. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” was written as a reaction to 15th century church music….

What Child is This? A History

One of the most beautiful and recognizable Christmas songs is “What Child is This?”. Believe it or not, the tune – an English folk song called “Greensleeves” – first appeared in the year 1580 (of course back then it was called “A Newe Northen Dittye of ye Ladye Greene Sleves”). Originally the lyrics were about…

Music Inspired by Winter: Tchaikovsky

It’s almost December! I hope you are all enjoying this season of love, family, and twinkling lights. 🙂 I personally love the cold weather – especially the snow and the music! And because Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” is a winter classic, that got me thinking. Has he written any other music inspired by winter? The answer is yes! So in…

Music Favorites Part 3

Music is hard. Doing this for a career is hard. It’s not your usual 9-5 job that you can forget about at the end of the day. It’s something that permeates your life, the good and the bad, whether you want it to or not. It resonates with and pounds against your soul and it…

O Come All Ye Faithful: A History (and FREE piano sheet music!)

Merry Christmas! Yes I know it’s still November, but I believe Jesus’s birth is something to be thankful for. 🙂 I’m celebrating a lot of things right now including (but not limited to) Thanksgiving, Christmas, family, and the opportunity to do what I love all the time – learn and write about, compose, and perform…

Music and Emotion

Have you ever noticed that certain music can make you feel a very specific way? Music is very powerful stuff. It can uplift and depress, agitate and calm. It can offer relief and comfort. Let’s examine this idea a little further. How Music Conveys Emotion Even though there are countless works of music in the world…