O Little Town of Bethlehem
And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
Matthew 2:6 KJV
About the Song
Words by Phillips Brooks
Music by Lewis Redner
Arranged by Sally DeFord
Here’s a very simple SATB or Solo arrangement of the familiar hymn. The melody is the original that was written to go with the words. (Many places use the “Forest Green” tune, which is also very lovely.) The SATB should be easy for choirs to learn in a practice or two, and the accompaniment is very simple.
This arrangement disappeared from the site for awhile because… well, I didn’t like it. The introduction and interludes were a bit awkward, and I wanted to rewrite them. Which I have done, so it’s back. 😉
I couldn’t decide how much to rewrite and how much to just leave as history, since this is one of the earliest arrangements on the site (1987). Though the new version bears a 2018 copyright, in the end I left the basic structure as it was, changing only the parts that bugged me most.
There’s a piano track available below, though there’s so much give in this one that it will probably only be useful for reference.
Sheet Music Downloads
Spotify, Soundcloud (inc. free downloads)
Recording by Josh Henn:
O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight
For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth
How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may his His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.
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