Sheet Music: Ding Dong Merrily on High

TitleDing Dong Merrily on High
Alternate titlesLe branle de l'Officiel
InstrumentationFlute and Guitar chords
KeyB-flat major
Time signature4/4
Tempo160 BPM
Performance time0:25
Difficulty levelintermediate
Download printable scorePDF Sheet Music (59 kB) (preview)
Download audio tracksMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (366 kB)
Play-along accompanimentMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (387 kB)
Date added2009-11-26
Last updated2009-11-26
Download popularity index☆☆☆☆☆ 0.2 (not so popular)
Christmas carols, Hymn tunes, Traditional/Folk


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Thursday 26 November 2009

Tune of the Day: Ding Dong Merrily on High

Traditional Christmas carol

This carol is a good example of a carol in the original sense of the word (i.e. a secular dance tune) evolving into a carol as it is understood today (i.e. a song for Christmas). The tune first appeared as a secular dance tune known as “Le branle de l'Officiel” (“The Officer's Brawl”) in Orchésographie, a late sixteenth-century study of French Renaissance social dance by Thoinot Arbeau. This manual provided critical information on social ballroom behavior and on the interaction of musicians and dancers. According to this manual, the “Branle de l'Officiel” was to be danced by “lackeys and serving wenches, and sometimes by young men and maids of gentle birth masquerading as peasants and shepherds”.

The song is particularly noted for the line “Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!”, where the sung vowel sound “o” of “Gloria” is fluidly sustained through a lengthy rising and falling melismatic melodic sequence.