One of the most fun things to do to prepare for the Christmas season is to listen to music. I have many free music lessons for Christmas here at Music in Our Homeschool, and even two Christmas courses full of Christmas music! Music of Christmas provides you with 3 years of music appreciation lessons and Christmas Carols Made Easy is a beginning singing course using Christmas songs. But, today let’s do a free 15-Minute Music Lesson for O Come O Come Emmanuel!
Music Lesson for O Come, O Come Emmanuel
This beautiful song is perfect to sing at the beginning of the Advent season each year, four Sundays before Christmas. In 2021, advent begins on November 28.
Let’s learn more about the background of this song today.
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The tune of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” is called VENI IMMANUEL, and it’s from an old French processional, 15th-century chant that was originally sung in Latin. The composer of the music is unknown.
Thomas Helmore, a priest in England, adapted the chant tune and published it in his The Hymnal Noted in 1854.
VENI IMMANUEL is in the Aeolian mode and can be sung in harmony throughout, but a common practice is to sing the stanzas in unison and the refrain in parts.
What is Aeolian mode? We are more familiar today with talking about major and minor scales, but in the Middle Ages, they wrote in 7 different church modes. The Ionian mode is now our major scale. The Aeolian mode is now the natural minor mode.
Watch this video to learn more about the church modes:
(If you’d like to study church modes further, here is a helpful handout.)
Click here to download some sheet music or an mp3 accompaniment.
Listen to O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Let’s listen to a few different versions of “O Come O Come Emmanuel.” Which do you like better?
(Feel free to just listen to the first minute or so of each if you’re trying to keep this lesson at 15 minutes or less.)
Chant version in Latin:
Modern slower, acoustic version:
Instrumental only version:
Voice only modern version (a cappella):
Upbeat modern version:
Download a Free Printable Pack to go with this music lesson
Here are three sheets that are perfect to use with the Free 15-Minute Music Lesson for O Come O Come Emmanuel.
Get a page to practice writing and playing an Aeolian mode scale
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