The Coventry Carol

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The Coventry Carol

3.00

Instant Sheet Music

This is a PDF download for the sheet music "The Coventry Carol," arranged for solo piano. This is a digital file you print from home.

Performance notes:

Here is one of the lesser-known Christmas carols. Unfortunately, this carol is best known for its use of a Picardy third (a raised third in the final cadence of a minor key); however, I think the lyrics are the most memorable part of this carol. Although a rather unlikely subject for a festive season, “The Coventry Carol” references the Gospel of Matthew in which King Herod ordered all male infants in Bethlehem to be killed — historically called the “Massacre of the Innocents.” With inconsolable grief, the mothers mournfully sing, Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child.

Throughout this arrangement, I’ve incorporated a gentle 6/8 lilt to give a lullaby effect in keeping with the words. Contemplating the mourning mothers singing to their lifeless infants is a powerful image and helps to communicate the despair and heartache they felt. In the second stanza, there is a definite sinister feel as King Herod jealously rages and sends out his soldiers to do their evil deed. Then in the final stanza, a simple accompaniment pattern paints the gently falling tears of the heartbroken mothers.

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