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Angels We Have Heard On High

In this lesson we’re going to learn “Angels We Have Heard on High,” a Christmas carol with words and music based on a traditional French Christmas carol, “Les Anges dans nos campagnes”—or “Angels in our countryside—with unknown authorship. The carol describes the story of the birth of Christ as told in the Gospel of Luke. James Chadwick, an English Roman Catholic Bishop, penned the most common English translation in 1862.

The tune is usually set to the hymn “Gloria,” arranged by Edward Shippen Barnes, an American organist who lived from 1887­1958. In this lesson we’ll learn a jazz arrangement of the tune, building up from simply melody and accompaniment in the front half to rich inner voice­leading in the back half. We’ll play through two choruses, with a turnaround at the end of the first chorus and an ending to cap the second.

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