You’ve probably heard this song a thousand times in a thousand different ways. Because of it’s modal orientation, there are hundreds of possibilities for how to harmonize the melody. Music Theory aside, the melody is so great and memorable, that no matter what the harmonization sounds like, we all know what the song is.
The story behind this carol is nothing short of miraculous. The author of the hymn survived a near death experience which left him crippled. After this, he began writing hymns, which is where we got this beloved classic.
What Child Is This?
Today’s song is one of the most beloved Christmas tunes of all kind. It’s likability may stem from the enchanting melody which is borrowed from “Greensleeves,” though the lyrics fit extraordinarily well with the haunting melody of the song. Written in 1865 by William Chatterton Dix, the song was originally part of a hymn he wrote “The manger Throne.” Three verses were taken from this hymn and set to the tune we sing today.
You can hear this song on my Christmas Album, “”When The Snow Falls” (which is available on iTunes) as part of a medley on the last track. I found it quite fitting to put “What Child Is This?” in a song about the magi from the east travelling to find this child.