Tag Archives: First Noel

Christmas Music: The First Noel

One sign of the Christmas season are the musicians who play the wonderful music. And one such way is the brass band. It was a common thing not too long ago to see a brass band–usually the Salvation Army–playing wonderful Christmas melodies on a street corner, city park, or in a concert. There is something about a brass band and Christmas music that just works. There is no way to really explain why and you could possibly go mad trying to figure it out. The old Philadelphia Brass Ensemble is still my favorite go to Christmas album. Sadly not available on Amazon right now but available on iTunes (Philadelphia Brass Ensemble:A Festival of Carols,1967) for purchase.

The First Noel is an English Christmas Carol possibly from the 18th century or earlier. Noel comes from the French word meaning Christmas or Christmas season. It can also be a first name as well (like Noel Coward). As we know the carol today, it was first published in Carols Ancient and Modernin 1823. Since then it has been edited with extra lyrics over the years. It usually is performed with a four-part arrangement though variations exist. The most common version sung is the New English Hymnal based on John Stainer’s Carols, New and Old(1871).