O Little Town of Bethlehem is a much loved Christmas carol that is a mainstay of most traditional Christmas carol services in the Western classical tradition. The words to O Little Town of Bethlehem were written by Bishop Phillips Brooks in the late nineteenth century. These piano arrangements of the carol are based on the traditional tune “Forest Green”.
O Little Town of Bethlehem Piano
I have produced 2 piano arrangements of this carol for you to download, print off and have a go at playing.
The 1st arrangement is an easy version. The right hand plays the tune and there is a simple left hand part where the shortest note value is a quarter note (crotchet).
Arrangement 1 – Easy Version
Arrangement 2 – Intermediate version
In the intermediate arrangement, I have added in an extra line of notes in the right hand to harmonise the melody line. It is very much worth practising the right hand on its own before combining the hands. The arrangement will work particularly well if you can play these accompanying right hand notes like a counter melody.
If it was a choir arrangement then this notes would form the alto part; if you can think of it as a part then this will help to make the notes “sing out”. I have added in some suggested fingering to help you with this.
The left hand bass part is a bit more complicated in the intermediate arrangement of O Little Town of Bethlehem. There is more movement than the easy arrangement, but the shortest note value is still only a quarter note (crotchet) so it should be reasonably straightforward.
O Little Town of Bethlehem Lyrics
The lyrics to O Little Town of Bethlehem speak of the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. Thy describe the nativity story and the implications of the birth of Jesus for the world. The last verse of the hymn is a triumphant call for Christ to come to us and be with us in our lives. This verse is often sung with a descant in the traditional carol service.
1. 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
2. O morning stars together proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King and peace to men on earth
For Christ is born of Mary and gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wond’ring love
3. How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is giv’n
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin
Where meek souls will receive Him, still the dear Christ enters in
4. O holy Child of Bethlehem descend to us we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel