Sheet Music: Carol of the Bells

TitleCarol of the Bells
Alternate titlesUkrainian Bell Carol
Ring, Christmas Bells
ComposerMykola Leontovych (1877–1921)
InstrumentationFlute trio
KeyG minor
Time signature3/4
Tempo152 BPM
Performance time1:20
Difficulty levelintermediate
Download printable scorePDF Sheet Music (82 kB) (preview)
Download audio tracksMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (661 kB)
Play-along accompanimentMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (671 kB)
Date added2009-10-20
Last updated2010-11-07
Download popularity index☆☆☆☆☆ 2.8 (popular)
Christmas carols, Traditional/Folk


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Tuesday 20 October 2009

Tune of the Day: Carol of the Bells

Ukrainian Christmas carol

This choral miniature work was originally composed by the Ukrainian composer Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych. Throughout the composition, Leontovych used a four note motif as an ostinato which was taken from an ancient pagan Ukrainian New Year's chant known as “Shchedryk”. The original work was intended to be sung a cappella (that is, without accompaniment).

The “Carol of the Bells” was premiered in 1916 by a choral group made up of students at Kiev University. It was introduced to Western audiences by the Ukrainian National Chorus during its concert tour of Europe and the Americas, where it premiered in the United States in October 1921 at Carnegie Hall. It was later adapted into an English language version in the 1930s. An alternate English version, “Ring, Christmas Bells”, with more explicitly Nativity-based lyrics, was written in 1947, and is also widely performed.