The First Noel – 17th Century English Carol – Easy Piano arr. with lyrics & sheet music
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The first Christmas or The First Noel
The First Christmas (in English , The First Noel , a The First Noël or The First Nowell ) is a Christmas carol traditional English , most likely from the 17th century , although it is also possible that it is earlier, from the 13th century.
In its present form it is original to Cornwall , first published in Carols Ancient and Modern (1823) and Gilbert and Sandys Carols (1833), both edited by William Sandys and arranged, edited and with additional lyrics by Davies Gilbert for Hymns and Carols of God .
Today, it is usually performed for four voices, to the arrangement by the English composer John Stainer , first published in his work Carols, New and Old , in 1871. Variations on its theme are included in the Carol Symphony by Victor Hely-Hutchinson .
The melody is unusual among English folk tunes in that it consists of a musical phrase repeated twice, followed by a chorus that is a variation on that phrase. All three phrases end on the third of the scale. It is believed to be a version of an older tune sung in a church gallery version; a reconstruction of this older version can be found in the New Oxford Book of Carols .
The tune is included, along with the Christmas carols Good Christian Men, Rejoice , God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen , and Come ye, lofty; eat, ye lowly , in the choral fantasy Christmas Day (1910), by Gustav Holst .
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The Annunciation to the Shepherds and the Adoration of the Shepherds are episodes in the Nativity described in the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke (Luke 2). The Star of Bethlehem appears in the story of the Magi (the Wise Men) in the Gospel of Matthew ; They do not appear in the story of the shepherds.
As with many traditional songs and Christmas carols, the lyrics differ in the books. The versions compared below are taken from the New English Hymnal (1986) (which is the version used in Henry Ramsden Bramley and John Stainer , Carols, New and Old ), Ralph Dunstan’s gallery version in the Cornish Songbook (1929), and Rev. Charles Lewis Hutchins’s version in Carols Old and Carols New (1916).