Quaker carol

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Source here.


  1. David Morris said,

    December 22, 2018 @ 4:55 pm

    Gosh, D major is pitching it high. It's usually in C, B flat or even A.

  2. Bill Benzon said,

    December 22, 2018 @ 5:00 pm

    I call infringement. They've just relabeled the score to John Cage's 4'33", though Cage wrote it in 4/4. But who can hear the difference?

    [(myl) Cage did it to Satie with Cheap Imitation, so turn about is fair play. Perhaps you didn't notice that the silences in this version were determined as a sophisticated function of a series of I Ching casts?]

  3. Lars said,

    December 22, 2018 @ 6:05 pm

    @David Morris, I thought so too, but scouring the web for autographs and looking at the German Wikipedia page has shown me otherwise. I knew that it was written for guitar originally, but really? D major?

    In any case, a silent music score shouldn't need neither key nor time signature.

  4. Gidklio said,

    December 22, 2018 @ 7:38 pm

    But if 4'33" has a time sig, it really really needs a tempo indication.

  5. Edith Maxwell said,

    December 22, 2018 @ 9:24 pm

    As a long-time Friend (and long-dusty holder of a Doctorate of Linguistics), not to mention an active card-carrying member of the Association of Bad Friends, I sit in expectant waiting to discern lyrics for this carol. While I have a good a laugh, of course.

  6. Geoff said,

    December 22, 2018 @ 11:05 pm

    Surely the time signature should be 3/4. 6/8 is a jig.

  7. Viseguy said,

    December 22, 2018 @ 11:52 pm

    @Geoff: The autograph bears out 6/8:


    There are myriad non-jig 6/8 compositions.

    [(myl) An image:


  8. Viseguy said,

    December 22, 2018 @ 11:56 pm

    Well, the link isn't working, so here is the Wikipedia article:


  9. Viseguy said,

    December 23, 2018 @ 12:07 am

    Think of each measure in Stille Nacht as having two beats, each divided into three pulses; the second set of pulses is softer than the first. ONE-2-3, two-2-3….


    In the Quaker tradition, I'll shut up now.

  10. David Morris said,

    December 23, 2018 @ 2:26 am

    I was vaguely aware that the original was in D because of the guitar accompaniment, but cannot recall seeing an arrangement in that key in 40+ years.
    The first ten arrangements I found for voice or choir online are one in G, one in A flat, two in A, three in B flat and three in C.

  11. rosie said,

    December 23, 2018 @ 2:53 am

    Anyone thinking that D major's a bit high: in Gruber's original setting, the tune is slightly different from the one used nowadays. In particular the penultimate line doesn't go up to the fourth degree (G, in D major). This makes it a little easier for the sopranos — their part's highest note is F#. For those for whom F# is too high, there is an alto line. What notes the tenors and basses were to sing the manuscript doesn't say. The same notes an octave lower, perhaps.

    Another factor is that the pitch standard in Arnsdorf 200 years ago might not have been anything like our familiar A=440. And guitars are easy to tune.

  12. cliff arroyo said,

    December 23, 2018 @ 4:26 am

    Sort of related:


  13. Philip Taylor said,

    December 23, 2018 @ 7:09 am

    Cliff — the original was amusing, but your "Bauhaus" offering is even better. Thank you !

  14. richardelguru said,

    December 23, 2018 @ 8:26 am

    And whilst on the subject of carols that can't (or shouldn't) be heard:

    Here We Come a Bovver Boy

  15. Ralph Hickok said,

    December 23, 2018 @ 9:39 am

    My wife, though not formally a Quaker, often Friends meetings at the meeting house just down the block from us. She owns a Quaker hymnal titled "Worship in Song" and it has actual notes and words and everything.

  16. Robert Coren said,

    December 23, 2018 @ 10:44 am

    This is by far my favorite version of this carol.

  17. Christine Bothmann said,

    December 23, 2018 @ 1:44 pm

    Still silent, but with lyrics and performance instructions:


  18. cM said,

    December 23, 2018 @ 1:44 pm

    Enough with the revisionist spreading of major jolly moods!

    It's obviously meant to be played in B minor, in a clear as night reference to BWV 232.

  19. Roger Lustig said,

    December 23, 2018 @ 9:39 pm

    I have a concern about measure 11.

  20. David Morris said,

    December 23, 2018 @ 10:36 pm

    And is there a 4-bar intro, or a 4-bar playout?

  21. stephen said,

    December 23, 2018 @ 11:13 pm

    This should be played on an air guitar, of course.


  22. David Morris said,

    December 24, 2018 @ 6:17 am

    @Roger: What's your concern? I can't see anything wrong with it.

  23. Jerry Friedman said,

    December 24, 2018 @ 10:48 am

    Stephen: This should be played on an air guitar, of course.

    I trust everyone who's interested knows that YouTube has videos of "4:33" played by various ensembles, including death-metal band.

  24. KevinM said,

    December 24, 2018 @ 7:48 pm

    @David Morris. Neither. Those shepherds had the blues.

  25. David Morris said,

    December 24, 2018 @ 8:10 pm

    The 16-bar blues, obvoiusly!

  26. David Marjanović said,

    December 25, 2018 @ 3:57 pm

    What's your concern? I can't see anything wrong with it.

    "I have a concern about something" is Quaker terminology for "the Spirit is moving me to do something".

  27. cliff arroyo said,

    December 25, 2018 @ 4:52 pm

    "The 16-bar blues, obvoiusly!'

    Today's challenge – sing "Silent night" over the backing for "Watermelon man"

  28. peterv said,

    December 26, 2018 @ 11:10 am

    A Cuisenaire Christmas? Emilie Voirin’s minimal nativity:


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