Stephanie Bennett plays her arrangement of “Sussex Carol”
Notes from the arranger
“On Christmas night all Christians sing to hear the news the angels bring.
On Christmas night all Christians sing to hear the news the angels bring.
News of great joy, news of great mirth, News of our merciful King’s birth! ”
This celebratory Christmas song was first published by Luke Wadding, an Irish bishop, in a 17th century collection called “Small Garland of Godly and Pious Songs”. It became known as “Sussex Carol” in the early 20th century upon being collected by British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, who heard it being sung by a folk singer in Sussex, England. He later included it in his choral settings, Eight Traditional English Carols and Fantasia on Christmas Carols.
This lever harp arrangement is in the key of G (with a short section in D mixolydian for variety, from measures 56 to 65). There are no lever changes. It is suited for harps with at least 34 strings.
The right hand has the melody most of the time, with the left hand accompanying; but the left hand gets to take center stage from measures 33 through 47; again from measures 86 through 89; and again at the end, from measures 100 through 106.
The YouTube video shows the pedal harp arrangement, which is exactly the same as the lever harp arrangement except that it is in the key of G flat instead of G; and it has ONE extra very low note at the very end. I hope you enjoy sharing this cheerful song with your listeners, during many happy holidays!
– Stephanie Bennett