CAROL OF THE BELLS | THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND DARK CHRISTMAS SONG

carol of the bells

Carol of the Bells is a Christmas song like no other. Its music introduces you in an atmosphere of beautiful darkness that mesmerizes. Learn about the story and best versions (which are a few 😄).

🏆 MOST POPULAR

Pentatonix Carol of the Bells

In 2014 the most famous American a cappella music band in the world, Pentatonix, covered this Christmas anthem.

💛 TREMBOL FAVOURITE

Katie Melua The Little Swallow

A choir version sung in the original language (Ukrainian). Katie Melua released this incredibly sensitive cover in 2016.

📀 LATEST

Lindsey Stirling Carol of the Bells

Violinist Lindsey Stirling’s 2017 instrumental version adds the beauty of the violin and a lot of punch.

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Trembol | “Carol of the Bells” Story

Its origin dates back more than 100 years, to 1916 in Ukraine, when the conductor of the Ukrainian Republic Choir commissioned Mykola Leontovych to compose a song for a choir based on traditional Ukrainian folklore. The earliest recorded version of Carol of the Bells is from 1922.

Mykola takes 4 notes from an anthology of Ukrainian music and creates a choral song dedicated to the new yearshchedrivyky”. Can you spell it? 😅

Oddly enough, in the Ukraine at the time, the New Year was celebrated on March 21, with the beginning of spring. Over time it changed to the same date we all celebrate now.

A few years later, in 1921, Mykola Leontovych was assassinated by a Russian agent, due to his thoughts in favor of independence.

Some historians say that it took Mykola 16 years to finish Carol of the Bells, time enough to create the most beautiful Christmas tune ever made 😊

Many years later, in 1936, another Ukrainian descent composer living in the United States, Peter J. Wilhousky, adapted it, preserving the music, and changing the lyrics. The song used to tell the tale of a swallow flying into a household to proclaim the bountiful year that the family will have, and now there are no birds but bells.

ukrainian bell carol

Mykola Leontovych, original composer (Image from musicafolcloricadeucrania)

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More songs that will excite you and their stories behind

🎻 Best instrumental versions of Carol of the Bells

Jennifer Thomas Carol of the Bells

Jennifer is a superb pianist who made an epic version of the song in 2014 on her album “Winter Wonderland”. This live recording with choir and orchestra is amazing.

The Piano Guys Carol of the Bells

They went from not selling a piano in their Utah store to selling millions of records making piano and cello versions of popular songs. In this video they merge “Carol of the Bells” with another Christmas song “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”. Gorgeous.

Tommee Profitt Carol of the Bells

Tommee has released the best 2020 Christmas album, “The Birth of a King. A few years before, he played a piano cinematic version of “Carol of the Bells”. Look at the speed at which he plays 🎹

This is what it says | Meaning, lyrics and translation of Carol of the Bells [Original Version]

Ukrainian lyrics

ORIGINAL LYRICS CAROL OF THE BELLS | UKRAINIAN

Щедрик щедрик, Щедрiвочка,
прилeтiла ластiвочка,
стала собi щебетати,
господаря викликати:

“Вийди, вийди, господарю,
подивися на кошару,
там овечки покотились,
а ягнички народились.

В тебе товар весь хороший,
будеш мати мiрку грошей,
В тебе товар весь хороший,
будеш мати мiрку грошей,
хоч не грошей, то полова:
в тебе жiнка чорноброва.”

Щедрик щедрик,
Щедрiвочка,
прилeтiла ластiвочка

LYRICS IN SPANISH

ORIGINAL LYRICS CAROL OF THE BELLS | SPANISH

Canción, canción, cancioncilla
Una pequeña golondrina voló a la casa
y empezó a silbar
llamando al dueño de la casa,

“¡ven! Ven pronto, amo,
mira tu granja,
Un redil de ovejas
con corderos recién nacidos.

Puesto que el ganado está sano,
tendrás mucho dinero.
Puesto que el ganado está sano,
tendrás un montón de dinero,
si no tendrás dinero, tendrás granos.
Tienes una mujer que es hermosa”.

Canción, canción, cancioncilla
una pequeña golondrina voló a la casa
y empezó a silbar.

Englihs lyrics

ORIGINAL LYRICS CAROL OF THE BELLS | ENGLISH

Tune, tune, little tune
A little swallow flew to the house.
and began to whistle
calling the owner the house,

“Come! Come soon, master,
look at your farm,
A sheepfold
with newborn lambs.

Since the cattle are healthy,
you will have a lot of money.
Since the cattle are healthy,
you will have a lot of money,
if you don’t have money, you will have grains.
You have a woman who is beautiful”.

Tune, tune, little tune
A little swallow flew to the house.
and began to whistle.

Meaning, Lyrics and Translation of Carol of the Bells [Current Version]

Englihs lyrics

CURRENT LYRICS CAROL OF THE BELLS | ENGLISH

Hark how the bells
Sweet silver bells
All seem to say
Throw cares away

Christmas is here
Bringing good cheer
To young and old
Meek and the bold

Ding-dong, ding-dong
That is the song
With joyful ring
All caroling (Oh, oh, ah)

One seems to hear
Words of good cheer
From everywhere (From everywhere)
Filling the air

Oh, how they pound (Oh, how they pound)
Raising their sound
O’er hill and dale
Telling their tale

Gaily they ring
While people sing songs of good cheer
Christmas is here

Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas
Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas

On on they send
On without end
Their joyful tone
To every home

Ding-dong, ding-dong
Ding-dong, ding-dong

LYRICS IN SPANISH

CURRENT LYRICS CAROL OF THE BELLS | SPANISH

¡Escucha! Cómo las campanas,
las dulces campanas plateadas,
todas parecen decir:
“Olvida las preocupaciones”

La Navidad ha llegado
trae consigo el júbilo,
a jóvenes y mayores
tímidos y atrevidos.

Ding-dong, ding-dong
Esa es la canción
Con alegre tañer
Todos cantando villancicos (Oh, oh, ah)

Uno parece que oye
palabras de júbilo
por todas partes
que llenan el aire.

¡Oh!, como palpitan (¡Oh!, como palpitan)
Alzando su sonido
sobre valles y colinas
Constando su cuento

suenan alegres
mientras la gente canta canciones jubilosas.
La Navidad ya está aquí.

Feliz, feliz, feliz, Feliz Navidad.
Feliz, feliz, feliz, Feliz Navidad.

Siguen y siguen mandando,
siguen sin cesar,
su animado sonido
a cada hogar.

Ding-dong, ding-dong
Ding-dong, ding-dong

Songwriters: M. Leontovich / Peter J. Wilhousky | Lyrics of Carol of the Bells © Fox Music A Division Of Classic Fox Records L, Jrm Music (Lyrics thanks to musicafolcloricadeucrania) | Background Image: Photo by Anton Sharov on Unsplash

Carol of the Bells sung by choirs 👧👦

Libera Carol of the Bells

Libera is a London boys choir aged 7-16. Their lyrical version of Carol of the Bells is very spiritual. They added in the chorus: “Gloria, in excelsis deo (Glory to God in the highest)”, sounding like angels 👼

(John Williams) Home Alone Carol of the Bells

You will remember the funny movie in which Macaulay Culkin stays Home Alone and does a thousand doggies to a couple thieves. The soundtrack is by the great John Williams and includes a superb choir version of Carol of the Bells.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Carol of the Bells

This is the cover with the largest choir and orchestra. As you will see in the video, they even ring real bells 🔔. It’s very cool.

Did you know...?

“Carol of the Bells” has been recorded in more than 150 versions with different arrangements, for both vocal and instrumental compositions.

A version of the song appears in the soundtrack of the video game “Batman: Arkham Origins”, as the Joker’s theme. We already mentioned that it was dark 😈

Much more| Ukrainian carols, commemorative coin…

  • You will see the similarity and confirm that the song has Ukrainian origin. Just listen to this traditional Christmas Carol: “Ой, сивая тая зозуленька (Oh!, gray cuckoo)”. They sound very similar, right?
  • In 2016 the National Bank of Ukraine released two commemorative coins of the centenary of Shchedryk (Carol of the Bells).

Technical Note about Carol of the Bells

  • It is a magnificent composition. A choral song for four voices that includes many musical elements such as: fugue (a contrapuntal composition in several voices that repeat the same melody at different pitches), ostinato (a series of notes that are repeated in several measures) and homophony (texture by which several voices make the same harmony at the same time forming chords).
  • The song is in B flat Major, and its well-known melody consists of a 4-note motif in a minor third chord: B♭ – A – B♭ – G.
Carol of the Bells motif
  • On IMSLP you will find the complete score, or if you’d rather start with an easy piano sheet: Musescore
hark of the bells
Carol of the Bells chords
Photo by Matt Mech on Unsplash

Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas Eve / SarajevoCarol of the Bells heavy metal version 🤘

TSO (Trans-Siberian Orchestra) consists of Savatage members, who previously released a very similar heavy version of “Carol of the Bells”, Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) in 1995.

This song has a beautiful and real story behind. There was a cello player born in Sarajevo who lived playing throughout Europe. He returned to Sarajevo as an elderly man, amid the Bosnian War.

Serbs were bombing Sarajevo every night and him, instead of hiding, day after day, went to the town square, took out his cello, and played Christmas carols.

When asked why he did such insanely thing, he said:

Is my way of proving that despite all evidence to the contrary, the spirit of humanity was still alive in this place

Christmas Eve (Sarajevo) uses both “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Carol of the Bells” melodies. You are going to love it!

carol of the bells
carol of the bells

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