Here We Come A-Wassailing for String Quartet

By vaughan • 11th November 2010 • Posted in: Manor House Music Recordings

‘Here We Come A-Wassailing’ is included on the Manor House String Quartet‘s first album of string quartet Christmas carols, entitled ‘I Saw Three Ships and other carols’ (you can hear an excerpt from it by following the link). In old English, the word ‘Wassail’ is a wish for good health. The practice of going ‘Wassailing’ at Christmas refers to the practice of singing from door to door, hopefully being rewarded by a glass of spiced punch. This Christmas carol seems to have originated in the North of England and first appears in published form in the 1871 Oxford Book of Carols.

string quartet Christmas carols

A tinsel-filled string quartet Christmas concert by the Manor House String Quartet

It is a lively piece in 6/8 time which responded well to being treated with light spiccato bowing. The arrangement by violinist Vaughan Jones starts with the theme being stated in the first violin part, accompanied by close harmonies which give the impression of a merry dance. There is a small interlude before the melody has a second rendition with a very strong cello part in the bass. Later on, a sonorous melody is introduced with sprightly dotted rhythms which add a contrast to the main theme. The whole carol ends with the cello repeating the dotted rhythm with the violin playing a celebratory D over the top.

Vaughan particularly liked arranging this carol because it has such a traditional feel, yet the string quartet arrangement can make it sound quite classical at the same time – without taking away any of the cheerfulness!



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About Manor House Music

Manor House Music is a wedding string quartet and duo consisting of some of the UK’s finest musicians. Founded in 2005, and based on the borders of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, we’ve now performed for over 800 weddings, corporate events and private functions. We combine a high quality of musical performance with a large repertoire of dynamic arrangements and a desire to work closely with clients to ensure that every detail is just right for your event.



Tel: 07870 171194