My friends, today, we are warming up the vocal chords and putting on our thinking caps. This is a challenge, of sorts, to discover how well you know Christmas music! Please listen carefully to the three songs below:
Can you label which of these tunes are a Christmas carol, a hymn or a Christmas song? Let’s try to distinguish the differences among these three styles of music and then we’ll check your answers.
Hymns, known as “chordal music” by professional musicians, are interchangeable melodies; they use different lyrics on specific tunes. But, they stand out from other music because they are religious in nature. Most of these formal poems are taken from the Book of Psalms and sung by congregations. Their words give praise, adoration or prayer addressed to God. The main focus is placed on positive and uplifting lyrics, not the music. The first Christmas hymn may be traced to 4th century Rome. It was called, “Jesus Refulsit Omnium” (“Jesus, Light of All the Nations”), written by St. Hilary of Poitier. Listen to this song below:
Carols, a French word meaning “circle dance,” is always accompanied by instruments. Their lyrics can be religious or non-religious, so some carols may also be considered a Christmas song or a hymn. (Are you second-guessing your choice above??) As a standard, Christmas carols are songs of religious topics, such as Jesus or the nativity scene, but without the sacred context. Lyrics tend to harmonize around Christmas themes or the winter season and are normally sung before the holiday. Carols will always celebrate the joy of Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ. As a result, wassailers (or Christmas carolers) select them to bring happiness to your home’s doorstep.
The oldest Christmas carol dates to Rome in the 4th century. Listen to this song named, “The Holly and the Ivy”:
For a little trivia, can you guess the most popular Christmas carol ever written? Its age goes all the way back to 1816, and it has a remarkable 733 copyrighted recordings since 1978. If you believe you know the answer, click below to see if you are correct:
The most popular music of the holidays, today, is known as Christmas songs. They are not overtly religious, but instead, they express verses of personal experiences at Christmastime or related things of the holiday. The music is very upbeat and secular in nature.
Once again, let’s play the trivia game! What is the best-selling Christmas/holiday song in the United States, and also the best-selling single of all time, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies worldwide? If you think you know the answer, click below:
Let us review the correct answers for the Christmas music heard at the beginning of this blog:
1) The Little Drummer Boy is a Christmas carol because it sings of the nativity scene with some religious undertones. It definitely celebrates the joy of Christmas and the coming birth of Jesus.
2) Oh, Come All Ye Faithful is a hymn as it gives praise and adoration to the Lord. It has uplifting and joyful verses.
3) It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas is a favorite Christmas song. It relates to all things Christmas with little alluding to religious events.
Now, since we are experts in differentiating a Christmas carol, song, and hymn, let’s turn up the volume on the radio and praise the Lord’s name to your favorite tunes. Regardless of the category the songs belong to, it is time to celebrate Christmas and the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ! Happy singing!
Please be sure to join us again on Sunday, December 2nd for another “Everything Christmas Blog”!
Give the gift that keeps on giving!