Today we feast our ears upon one of the most symbolic elements of the Christmas season. Bells. Bells have been a part of the Christmas season for centuries. At first they were thought to scare off demons and evil forces, but after that the became a device of celebration. They also serve as “attention-getters” which is why churches have used them for centuries to celebrate weddings and to gather their congregations.
Of course, there are a couple of kinds of bells when it comes to Christmas. There are the jingle bells and the church bells. The jingle bells serve as a safety device for horses and sleighs so that you don’t inadvertently step infront of an oncoming sleigh ride. You wouldn’t want to bring all the fun to an end. Then there are the church bells and attention getting bells. These are the kind you hear on doors in stores, the ones churches use and the ones the Salvation army uses to get your attention as you walk in stores to get your pocket change.
Written by James Lord Pierpont and originally published unter the title, “One Horse Open Sleigh.” It was originally written for Thanksgiving, but serves as a great song for the entire holiday season. I guess there is some controversy about seemingly insignificant aspects to the songs composition, specifically when and where he wrote the song. I guess that’s important, but I don’t know why. They song is still a success, so…
Was composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, first performed by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell, then first recorded by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards. However, the thing that is impressive about this song is just how many times it has been recorded. Wikipedia lists 189 times it has been recorded. I’m sure the numbers would be as impressive for songs like Jingle Bells, but since it’s Public Domain, it’s probably not kept track of. However, it was impressive to me.
Carol of the Bells
The tune for this song was in existence before the lyrics were set to it. The tune was entitled, “Shchedryk.” The title is still used by musicians who want to record the tune, but want to avoid having to pay royalties for the song. I guess the song will protected by copyright until 2048, so you’ll have to wait until then to record it with the lyrics for free. However, the tune is free for use, but I’m not sure if you have to use the Ukrainian name or if you can use the title “Carol of the Bells.”
Regardless of all that legal mumbo jumbo, it’s a beautiful song. We’re probably most familiar with the choral version, although the past several years we have been entertained with the Trans Siberian Orchestra’s arrangement. It’s a lively arrangement, and if you like rock, you should definitely check it out.