I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

~ Christmas, Orchestral with a modern twist ~ 2016-12-16

My new arrangement of the classic Christmas song

Notes / Back story

Danielle has been asking me to record an album of Christmas songs for her. This was one of the ones on the list. I sat down at the computer two mornings ago with absolutely no idea what I was going to do with this song, and just started playing around. This is what came out; boy was I surprised!

Some more notable changes: I changed it to 6/8 from the original 4/4; this gives me a lot of freedom to vary the pulse. I do a lot of duplets (which ends up sounding like I'm switching from 6/8 to 4/4 and back). I also changed a lot of the chords, while staying mostly true to the original melody, except for the 3rd verse which I turned into the 'bridge' if you will.

I really love the accompaniment on this song. Others I've played it for; not so much. I'm worried that all the innovative things I'm so proud of are getting buried by my vocals. So here's an idea; I'm uploading the instrumental version as well as a separate post.


I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace - and good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

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