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God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen Arranged for Mountain Dulcimer

  • Ted
  • November 30, 2016
  • 0

The lyrics of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” author unknown, are reputed to date back to the 15thCentury, making it one of the oldest carols. It was first published in 1833, when it appeared in Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern, a collection of seasonal carols gathered by William B. Sandys. It is believed that this carol was sung to the gentry by town watchmen, who earned additional money this way during the Christmas season.
God rest ye, merry gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour,
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

In Bethlehem, in Israel,
This blessed babe was born
And laid within a manger
Upon this blessed morn
The which his mother Mary
Did nothing take in scorn
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

From God our Heavenly Father
A blessed angel came;
And unto certain shepherds
Brought tidings of the same:
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by name.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

“Fear not then,” said the Angel,
“Let nothing you affright,
This day is born a Saviour
Of a pure virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him
From Satan’s power and might.”
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

The shepherds at those tidings
Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest, storm and wind:
And went to Bethlehem straightway
The Son of God to find.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

And when they came to Bethlehem
Where our dear Saviour lay,
They found him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His mother Mary kneeling down,
Unto the Lord did pray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

 

Listen to Ehukai Teves play “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen.”

 

Playing Tips from Ehukai Teves:

One of the things I like about “God Rest Ye” is that it allowed me to arrange it with economy of motion for your left hand.

It is in the key of Bm, the relative minor to key of D, and easily played in DAd dulcimer tuning. No capo needed.

2
1. Using middle and ring fingers for the first 1 chord in measure one will give you economical finger movement in the music to follow.

 

2. This tune may be “fleshed out” with trills, chord substitutions or arpeggios during the held notes.

 

3. First ending leaves time for singers to breathe.

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