What Child Is This?

Song history lesson #2 –

Title: “What Child Is This,” also known as “Greensleeves.”

Author: The words of this song was written by William Chatterton Dix (1837 – 1898), a hymn writer who also wrote carols. The three verses were actually taken from Dix’ poem “The Manger Throne” and harmonized with the famous melody known as “Greensleeves.” The said melody was a traditional English melody that was popularly used in many texts during the 14th century.

Interesting Fact: The carol “What Child Is This?” was first published on Christmas Carols New and Old around 1867 and edited by Bramley/Stainer.

“What Child Is This?” is a popular Christmas carol that was written in 1865. At the age of twenty-nine, writer William Chatterton Dix was struck with a sudden near-fatal illness and confined to bedrest for several months, during which he went into a deep depression.[citation needed] Yet out of his near-death experience, Dix wrote many hymns, including “What Child is This?”. It was later set to the traditional English tune “Greensleeves”. The song has been covered by multiple artists.

You can also find the chord chart for this song on our Christmas Page.

Anyone interested in a free MP3 of “What Child Is This” by Barlowgirl?


It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

It’s that time of year once again.  And everyone is pulling out the old carols and favorite Christmas songs.  Have you ever wondered how some of these songs came about?  I do.  So I went looking …

“It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” is a poem and Christmas carol written byEdmund Sears. The lyrics first appeared on December 29, 1849 in the Christian Register in Boston.

Sears is said to have written these words at the request of his friend, W. P. Lunt, a minister in Quincy, Massachusetts. In 1850 Richard Storrs Willis wrote the melody called “Carol”. “Carol” is the most widely-known tune to the song in the USA.  In the UK the tune called “Noel”, which was adapted from an English melody in 1874 by Arthur Sullivan, is the usual accompaniment.

Author: Written by Edmund Hamilton Sears (1810-1876) who was also the pastor of the Unitarian Church in Wayland, Massachusetts.   Richard Storrs Willis, an American composer/musician, created the melody for “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear”.

Interesting Fact: Richard Storrs Willis is said to have been a student of Felix Mendelssohn.

If you are looking for some Christmas chords or tabs, be sure to peruse our Christmas song page.  We have your favorites.  We’re also hoping you’ll send in new versions redone by your favorite artists … like “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” by MercyMe.

Get the free MP3 of MercyMe’s “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear”

Free Christmas MP3s

Everyone loves Christmas music … so why not celebrate the season with some free music?  Like Casting Crowns?  You can get 2 free songs from their 2008 release Peace On Earth.

Or if you favor Jars of Clay, you can get God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen from their 2007 release, Christmas Songs .

Relient K also put out a serious yet whimsical Christmas release called Let It Snow Baby…Let It Reindeer.  They have a free track on there as well: I Celebrate The Day

Of course if you’ve had enough traditional songs and your kids are wanting something else … there’s always Curious George – A Very Monkey Christmas.

So, what is your favorite Christmas song?  Post your answer in the comments.