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What Child is This?

About the Song

Traditional words and music arranged by Sally DeFord.

Both versions of this arrangement are very simple, and easy to learn.  The two-part choir uses the traditional rhythms, but I messed with them a bit in the SA.  Either one can be used solo (as in the recording), but take some liberties with the rhythms or breathing will be a problem. 🙂

Listen (and free 128kbps MP3 downloads)

Recording featuring vocals by Roberta Stark:


What child is this who laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping.
This, this is Christ the King
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing
Haste, haste to bring him laud
The babe, the son of Mary

Why lies he in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian fear, for sinners here
The silent word is pleading
Nails, spear shall pierce him through
The cross be borne for me, for you
Hail, hail the Word made flesh
The babe, the son of Mary

Then bring him incense, gold and myrrh
Come peasant, king to own him
The King of kings salvation brings
Let loving hearts enthrone him
Raise, raise the song on high
The virgin sings her lullaby
Joy, joy, for Christ is born
The babe, the son of Mary

If you have questions, please check the FAQ
If you don't find your answer there, feel free to post your question here. 🙂


  1. Nefertity

    Do you have the accompaniment along with the different parts?

  2. Jerilyn Waterfall

    Is there a download of just the accompaniment?

  3. Sandi Clayton Burgess

    Love this arrangement. Is there flute obligato?

  4. MaRee Wilson

    Thank you Sally for providing such beautiful music for church use. I live in a very small branch and have been asked to do a choir which has been very challenging. Thanks to you I can find music which is very adaptable and available without having to purchase the music. We do not live in a area that provides easy access to church publications except through the internet and I am not that familiar with the process. Thank you for your kindness and your sharing.

  5. Selvadoss

    I am really very happy for listening to such a beautiful song with so nice voice.

  6. Amy

    Sally, thank you so much for making your music available. We had a women’s sextet sing this in December and it was absolutely beautiful!

  7. Carl

    Just wanted to thank you for all of your efforts to make your wonderful arrangements and compositions available to us poor folk. We use your stuff all the time in church, and I love it. My daughter and I are singing What Child is This in church this Sunday. So nice to have this music so easily available. You are a good person!

    Thanks again.



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