Exploring Music's Complexities

Christmas Folk Music

– Excerpts from Fireside Book of Folk Songs and Wikipedia

Christmas Carols

As noted in Fireside Book of Folk Songs (1).  The lively, gay quality of Christmas carols adds more than anything else to the joyous nature of Christ’s birthday.  The following paragraphs are excerpts describing several of the favorites.


Angles We Have Heard on High – “Telesphorus, Bishop of Rome, A.D. 129, ordained that “In the Holy Night of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior, all shall solemnly sing the “Angel’s Hymn,’” And so the Angel’s Hymn, which exists in many versions, became the first Christmas hymn of the church.”



O Little Town of Bethlehem – “The Verses were written by Phillips rooks, Bishop ofo Massachusetts, and sent out as a Sunday school song.  It has since become one of the most popular of the American Christmas carols.”


Jannette, Isabella – “In Provence and southern Europe the torches, or candles, of other ancient Jewish Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, played an important part in the Christmas celebrations.  This carol, from Provence, Is a beautiful example of the torch songs of that period.”




The Twelve Days of Christmas – “ A very old and unusual cumulative carol from England.  The twelve days of Christmas are those between Christmas day and Epiphany.”



Deck the Halls – A legendary carol from Wales.  It is one of the gayest and most beloved of the secular carols.”



Silent Night – This popular carol was composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr.  The version sung by Bing Crosby in 1935 is the fourth best selling single of all time (2).


  1. Happy Holiday




  1.  Boni, Margaret Bradford et al. Fireside Book of Folk Songs.  1947 ed. Simon and Schuster 16th printing.  pp 234-255.

2.  Silent Night.  https://en.wikpedia.org/wiki/Silent_Night.








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