Carols with organ accompaniment

Whether you are planning an Advent or Christmas service, or a concert that will take place in a venue with an organ, these eight carols all feature interesting accompaniments that organists will love to play.

A Carol of Mary

Malcolm Archer

Setting his own text, Archer's new carol is specifically dedicated to Mary. Repetitions of 'Ave Maria' are interspersed between flowing melodies that rock gently in 3/4 time, while the central section offers brief introspection in the tonic minor. Accompanied by a supportive organ part throughout, the voices finish with a jazzy chord progression, leaving behind a warm, Christmassy feeling.

SATB (with divisions) and organ

4 ½ minutes

Easy

Published May 2020

A little child there is yborn

Malcolm Archer

A little child there is yborn is a cheerful and spritely carol with words celebrating the birth of Jesus. Supported by a busy organ part, the lilting vocal lines bounce between 4/4 and 7/8 and are coloured by Archer's rich harmonies. Originally published in Carols for Choirs 5.

SATB and organ

2 ½ minutes

Easy - Moderately Difficult

Published May 2020

Make We Merry

David Bednall

Make We Merry is an eight-movement piece which sets texts from the 15th to 19th centuries to a variety of choral textures with a highly characterful accompaniment. A vast array of sentiments is depicted, from quiet expectance and gentle wonder to boisterous jubilation, and the different movements provide a wonderfully paced journey through these moods. The final movement brings back motifs from the opening and grows to a thrillingly climactic ending to this exciting Christmas concert work. Also available in a version for upper voices. The optional brass and percussion parts are available to hire/rent. 

SATB and organ (with optional brass ensemble and timpani)

25 minutes

Easy - Moderately Difficult

Published July 2020

Silent night

Bob Chilcott

Chilcott's arrangement of this well-loved carol is gentle and expressive. Extended harmonies and suspensions beautifully colour the unaccompanied second verse, while the third verse is paired with an angelic soprano descant. Originally published in Carols for Choirs 5.

SATB and organ

3 ½ minutes

Easy

Published May 2020

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day    

Michael Higgins

This sparkling arrangement of the traditional English carol presents the familiar melody through a variety of textures, ranging from unison to five parts, and concludes with a soaring soprano descant. Light and rhythmic in style, it dances with joy and celebration, perfect for concerts and services.

SATB (with divisions) and organ

2 ½ minutes

Easy

Published April 2021

A Christmas Carol

Cecilia McDowall

This setting of the evocative poem by Chesterton is atmospheric and powerful. Showcasing McDowall's distinctive style, its minor tonality, subtle chromaticisms, and whole-tone scales portray the contrasting voices in the text to breathtaking effect.

SATB and organ

3 minutes

Moderately Difficult

Published June 2021

Whilst shepherds watch'd their flocks by night

Jane Savage, edited by Rachel Webber

Jane Savage's setting of the famous Christmas hymn ‘While shepherds watched their flocks by night' was written for the girls' choir of The Asylum for Female Orphans and published in 1785. Composed in a typically charming Georgian style, it lays claim to being the earliest surviving piece composed for the Anglican church by a woman composer.

Unison and organ

6 minutes

Easy

Published November 2020

Christmas Welcome

James Whitbourn

A celebratory carol in a lilting 12/8 metre, Christmas Welcome sets a joyful fifteenth-century text written by the English priest and poet John the Blind Audelay. Whitbourn employs textural contrasts and call-and-response style pairings of voices to great effect, and the soloistic organ writing allows plenty of opportunity for organists to explore the full range of their instrument.

SATB and organ

2 ½ minutes

Moderately Difficult

Published June 2020

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