In dulci jubilo [PDF Download]
The poetic origin of this carol is that it was sung by angels to the 14th century mystic and Dominican monk Heinrich Seuse (Suso). In his autobiographical Little Book of the Eternal Wisdom, Suso tells of angels visiting him and singing and dancing this joyful song about the infant Jesus.
True or not, the song was known in Germany by the early 14th century. The text is unusual in being in two languages – Latin and German originally – but today is often sung just in English:
‘Good Christians all, rejoice, with heart and soul and voice … Christ is born today!’
There is a rich harmonisation by Bach, but a simple accompaniment with drones and light chords captures the dance-like nature of the carol.
Arrangement and teaching content
The piece is useful for working on three-time (always a challenge in the beginning stages) and also playing simple chords. Students can struggle to play both notes together at this stage.
In addition the piece also features the melody moving from right hand to left, stretching the little finger to play an A and also passing 2nd finger over thumb. The notation spans the two octaves above and below middle C.
David Blackwell & Karen Marshall
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For more information about Get Set! Piano, visit the publisher’s website.
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