Christmas is a universal time of celebration, though the event is celebrated in different ways by different communities across the world. While Christmas is a single day, the Christmas period often involves a lot of preparations starting in November or even earlier. For many people Christmas also involves Music, and there are special pieces of music which are strongly associated with Christmas and rarely heard outside the Christmas period. A number of classical composers have written Christmas music or carols, such as Mendelssohn's Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and Holst's In The Bleak Midwinter, while other composers have in turn been inspired by carols and referenced them in their own works. The perfect example of this is the "Carol Symphony" by the composer Victor Hely-Hutchinson which uses O Come All Ye Faithful, God rest you Merry Gentlemen, The First Nowell and "Here We Come A-wassailing".
We provide a full list of Christmas Carols available on mfiles later below in this article but first let us consider the broader topic of Christmas Songs. Among the many songs and melodies we hear at Christmas are Christmas Carols, traditionally sung by Christmas carollers. Some Carols are Hymns celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, while other Carols are Folk Songs about Christmas events and customs. Many of these are centuries old having been handed down through the generations, but there are also many popular songs about Christmas which are more recent in origin (e.g. from films or albums) and these are also now set to become traditional at this time of year. To become a "Christmas Song" you only have to mention or suggest snow, snowmen, sleigh-rides, Santa Claus, bells, reindeer or a Christmas tree. Once you have written a successful Christmas Song, you can be assured that it will be played regularly on radio or television, in shops and in other public places.
Our Christmas sheet music is provided in a number of different versions, to cater for a range of different musical instruments. The main page for the following Carols shows the piano sheet music, but from there you can download sheet music for different instruments, and also midi and mp3 versions of the arrangements:
And here are a number of quite different arrangements for guitar by our friend Glenn Jarrett:
All our piano arrangements (listed above) include music for other instruments plus piano accompaniment. Here is a selection of examples to illustrate these arrangements, and within each piece sheet music is included so that the lead instrument can be replaced by many others:
You may have noticed that the music for some of the Christmas Carols above was composed by Classical composers. Other Christmas music by classical composers includes Bach's Christmas Oratorio, Handel's Messiah (with the famous Hallelujah Chorus), Corelli's Christmas Concerto, Berlioz's L'enfance du Christ (The Childhood of Christ) and Tchaikovsky's ballet "The Nutcracker". A popular piece from The Nutcracker is "The Sugar Plum Fairy" and on mfiles we have the sheet music for the Original Orchestral Version and this Arrangement for Piano. Here are some further suggestions for Christmas Music on external sites including classical, film and television music:
There are many good collections of Christmas Carols on CD or for download. Here is a small selection of Christmas albums with the focus on traditional Carols: