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While  Shepherds  what?!?!

It all began with the idea that the "other tune" for the words "While shepherds watched" is, of course, the Yorkshire ditty "On Ilkley moor

bar t'hat".


Well, as the afternoon progressed other tunes got added, resulting in an exciting potpourri for choir and piano. The choir gets to sing "On Ilkla Moor", the Este psalter tune known to all, and also Auld Lang Syne


The altos, in their madrigalian way, get a sly English cadence!.


Meanwhile, the piano gets some sly references to "Sing a song of sixpence" and "Scotland the brave".


If any choral director fancies trying the piece out on his or her choir next year, here are the links for scores ...



While shepherds watched their flocks by night

(arrangement based on various melodies)

   (low version in G: ATBB)


While shepherds watched their flocks by night

(arrangement based on various melodies)

   (high version in C: SATB and piano)


While shepherds watched their flocks by night

(arrangement based on various melodies)

   (medium version in B flat: SATB and piano)




While shepherds watched their flocks by night,

All seated on the ground,

The angel of the Lord came down,

And glory shone around.


"Fear not!" said he, for mighty dread

Had seized their troubled mind.

"Glad tidings of great joy I bring

To you and all mankind.


"To you, in David's town, this day

Is born of David's line

A Saviour, who is Christ the Lord,

And this shall be the sign:


"The heavenly babe you there shall find

To human view displayed,

All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,

And in a manger laid."


Thus spake the seraph and forthwith

appeared a shining throng

of angels praising God who thus

addressed their joyful song


"All glory be to God on high,

And to the Earth be peace;

Good will henceforth from heaven to men,

Begin and never cease!"



Other Christmas pieces While shepherds  watched  their flocks -  on YouTube

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