Coventry Carol [PDF Download]
In the Middle Ages, mystery plays were performed in the streets of cities and towns as a way of telling bible stories to local people. Often they included songs, and this carol was sung as part of a mystery play acted each year in Coventry telling the Christmas story.
Christ’s birth was a joyful event, so why is this carol so sad? Well, Matthew’s Gospel tells of one particular grim event: Herod, King of the Jews at the time of Christ’s birth, was told by the Wise Men that a new King of the Jews had been born. To preserve his status as King, he ordered the massacre of all male children under the age of two, and this carol is a sad lament sung to the doomed children. Of course, because Christ was born in a stable he escaped – Herod did not think a king would be born amongst sheep and cattle!
Arrangement and teaching content
This arrangement alternates the tune between the hands, starting in the right and switching to the left for bars 5-7, with the same switch in the second half.
Pitched around ABRSM prep test level (or at the end of the first tutor book), this piece includes the pedagogical content of the sharp accidental, putting right-hand second finger over the thumb and simple hands together work.
David Blackwell & Karen Marshall
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