Yorkshire carol Sweet Bells (Kate Rusby): From BBC programme Songs of Praise (Carols from Yorkshire, Sunday 5 December 2010), presented by Aled Jones.

Sheet music (in F) is available on line, melody in abc (w/ PDF in standard notation), and midi file at http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/149.html — and in four-part harmony at: http://www.concertina.info/carols/files/learn/Sweet_Chiming_Bells/Sweet_chiming_bells.pdf

Sheet music at Mudcat Cafe/Digital Tradition can be converted to abc notation and transposed to D (down three semitones) at http://mandolintab.net/abcconverter.php.

Sweet Chiming Christmas Bells in the Masons Arms

David Burbidge
Published on Dec 13, 2011
Paul, Barbara, Will and Chris from the Keighley Road Jolly Wassaillers lead us in the singing of this lively carol with a chorus: “Sweet bells, sweet chiming christmas bells, they cheer us on our heavenly way sweet chiming bells” – which has connections with a Salvation Army jolly funeral hymn. We’re singing here in the Masons Arms at Strawberry Bank near Bowland Bridge (though a long way away from anywhere else) at the regular Sunday evening pub carol session organised by John Wood, the former postmaster of Bowland Bridge post office.

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Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music

While Shepherds Watched their Flocks is a Nativity hymn written by Nahum Tate in 1696, with its words entirely based on the Gospel of Luke. It is sung in the South Yorkshire village carols tradition to a lot of different tunes. Versions of this hymn are often named after their tunes, e.g. Winchester Old, Foster, Liverpool, Lyngham, Pentonville, or Sweet Chiming Bells.

video shows Rosie Hood and friends singing Sweet Chiming Bells at Cecil Sharp House, London, in December 2015:



University of Sheffield Concerts
Published on Dec 6, 2015
It’s time for another Sheffield carol. Here are the singers from The Royal Hotel in Dungworth singing Pentonville, a version of While Shepherds Watched. Video produced in collaboration with Soundpost.

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Jon Boden, Jess and Richard Arrowsmith, Gavin Davenport, Fay Hield and Sam Sweeney sang While Shepherds Watched both to the tune Pentonville and in the Sweet Chiming Bells variant at the Royal Hotel in Dungworth as the December 4 and 5, 2010 entries of Jon’s project A Folk Song a Day. He sang it alone with his concertina to the tune Lyngham on December 20.

http://www.afolksongaday.com/?p=1510 has audio file … the extra chorus seems to have landed out of nowhere, having little to do with the rest of the text, but adding a jolly little refrain that works beautifully in this chorus setting. Two down and no socks have been washed as yet!

Boden, who was born in Chicago in 1977, grew up in Winchester (in the UK), graduated in Mediaeval Studies from Durham University and toured with Bellowhead, band in residence at London’s South Bank Centre, also sang on Dec. 4 for the Folk Song a Day project a setting known by its tune name as PENTONVILLE “There are something like fourteen different versions of While Shepherds Watched sung around Sheffield. … It is a great lyric – so familiar that you don’t really notice it, but kind of perfect as a Christmas lyric.”

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The Bangor Community Choir (Côr Cymunedol) in Wales has this information at https://www.omniglot.com/songs/bcc/shepherdswatched.php:

This carol was written in around 1700 by Nicholas Brady and Nahum Tate, who was Poet Laureate. The original tune came Handel’s oprea “Siroe”. It’s also sung to a number of other tunes, including “On Ilkley Moor Baht’at”.

This is the Pentonville version written by William Marsh (c1780-1805) and arranged by Colin Douglas.

Also mp3 files of SABT parts and sheet music in F,

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David Burbidge
Published on Dec 2, 2008
This is one of the many versions of While Shepherds Watched, a lively version sung in many pubs around Sheffield,and Dentdale. This was the Friday evening session at the Old Harrow in Grenoside, the night before the biannual Festival of Village Carols organised by Ian Russell.

Pentonville Old Harrow pub Grenoside


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