Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Six perfect fourths, a dominate octave skip, and, repeating melodic rhythm patterns highlight this storied carol.

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  • Grade: Fifth
  • Origin: England/German - words: Charles Wesley, 1739
    music: Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), 1840*
  • Key: F major
  • Time: 4/4
  • Form: ABCDE
  • Rhythmbeginners: | ta ta ta/ ti | syncopation, | ta ta ta ta | ta ta ta/a | ta ti ti ta/ ti | syncopation
  • Pitchesintermediate: So La Ti Do Re Mi Fa So La
  • Intervalsintermediatem3: Re\Ti, Fa\Re; M3: Do/Mi; P4: So/Do, Re/So8, Do\So, So8\Re, Do/Fa, Mi/La; P5: So\Do, Re/La; P8: So/So8 (dominante octave skip)
  • Musical Elements: notes: half, dotted quarter, quarter, eighth; vocal slurs, repeating melodic rhythm patterns, dominant octave skip
  • Key Words: world geography: England, Germany, Bethlehem; invention of the Gutenberg printing press, William H. Cummings, sacred, Christmas Carol, Christmas hymn, birth of Jesus, Bible story, hark, herald angels, glory, newborn, mercy mild, God, sinners, reconciled, triumph, angelic host, proclaim, Heaven, Prince of Peace, hail, righteousness, risen, healing, Sons of earth, second birth; abbreviations: heav'n (heaven), th'angelic (the angelic), ris'n (risen)

One hundred years after the words were written, Felix Mendelssohn composed a cantata to commemorate Johann Gutenberg's invention of the printing press. Music from this cantata was adapted by the English musician William H. Cummings to fit the lyrics of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”.

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