What Child Is This
  • Hello Everyone,

    In starting to plan my after Christmas hymns for the Holy Family as well as the Epiphany, I came across a very interesting observation on the tune What Child Is This (Greensleeves). I was looking in the GIA Worship III edition as well as the GIA edition, both of them have a C sharp on the 16th note that is attached to the dotted 8th. Secondly, a d natural is in the same position set up on the 16th note that is attached to the 8th note. I have always learned this hymn with a c natural followed by d sharps on the two sections mentioned above. Both of the settings have texts by William Dix and are 16th century English melodies but the one from GIA is arranged by John Stainer.

    I have posted the Stainer setting on here for everyone to see as well as the other setting (the one that I learned as child)

    What is the correct setting to use now?? and more importantly, WHY the change??? I'm not upset over the change at all, I like both settings. Just some clarification would be great! :-)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    I don't like the GIA setting. It sounds odd to me, and is different from what I learned. I think GIA follows its own personal god, sometimes. LOL.
  • This is such an old tune that it may be impossible to find the "authentic" version. I suspect that it was originally a C# (dorian mode and all), but it's unlikely people were always faithful to a D natural.
    Thanked by 1PolskaPiano
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    The variety of versions has been discussed on the forum as recently as August:
  • I recall, last year or the year before, nearly running off the road when I heard on the radio this exquisitely amazing arrangement and performance by Paul Halley, Chorus Angelicus and Gaudemus (track one on the CD of the same name). It may be just this side of over the top, but it's exactly the way I'd love to have written it... and well worth the $1 download.

    (C-natural, BTW)
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Doesn't RVW "C-natural" on his Fantasia on Greensleeves? IIRC. Or does he mix them?
  • In fact, he raises it (in a transposed way).
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  • Yes, the RVW has a raised 6th (sometimes the 7th, others not).
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    The congregation will sing it how they're used to, regardless of what you play. (Learned the hard way...)
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,943
    The congregation will sing it how they're used to, regardless of what you play. (Learned the hard way...)

    Yep, learned the hard way. And not even Worship III could change "Infi-i-nite thy vast do-o-main..." back to the original tune.
    Thanked by 1ContraBombarde
  • Marajoy so true the congregation will sing it "their way"
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,536
    It would appear to be the case that GIA is fibbing, unless Stainer harmonized the tune more than once (Christmas Carols New and Old can be found at IMSLP). This tune makes a good case for a complete play-through introduction!

    What bothers me much more is where the breathing places should be: I imagine Stainer must have had a sprightly tempo in mind. This morning the dragging was really annoying, with catch breaths after "re-est" "swee--eet" >:-[

    On the bright side though, a whole year (two, actually) without "The First Noel"!
  • I’m actually not too big a fan of “Whose Kid is This?” I think I like the words; I just don’t like GREENSLEEVES.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    A Christmas carol that consists of questions is the precursor to "Mary, Did You Know?"

    So I'm not fond of it.
  • Perhaps some alterations of titles to a more definitive form might work towards making these beloved Christmas carols more accessible to naysayers like Mr. Chonak. See if you can guess what these newly titled carols used to be named. (And yes, your answer must be in the form of a question.)

    - That’s Baby Jesus
    - She Sure Did, and Most Likely Pondered It, Too
    - I’m Not Deaf, You Know
    - Anyone Who Thinks That The Odor of a Stable is Goodly Needs Their Sniffer Examined
  • GerardH
    Posts: 285
    Whence is that goodly fragrance flowing?
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • Carol
    Posts: 760
    I cannot figure what the last one is, but love the others!
  • "I'm not deaf".... is that "Do you hear what I hear?"
  • "Anyone Who Thinks That The Odor of a Stable is Goodly Needs Their Sniffer Examined" has got to be "Quelle Est Cette Odeur Agréable," no?
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • I'm not as interested in which book uses which accidentals....I'd more like to find an edition that uses the three full verse texts with "Nails, spear, shall pierce him through" and "Raise, raise the song on high" in the second and third verses respectively rather than a common refrain on all three.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • TCJ
    Posts: 832
    Ignatius Pew Missal has those verses.
  • Carol
    Posts: 760
    I recall singing "raise, raise the glass on high" once many years ago. Fortunately, I was in a choir and it almost went unnoticed.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,821
    Gerard, Chris, and Trent - you are ALL correct.
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,767
    Here is the Halley arrangement Richard was talking about. It is indeed quite stunning: https://youtu.be/YzW8M8aFPuA

    It is unequivocally the most original setting I've ever heard. Now I want to listen to the rest of Halley's arrangements... because if they are half as good as this one, I'm sure they are gold.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen