‘Jingle Bells’ for String Quartet – ‘Jingle Bells’ was a must for the Manor House String Quartet‘s second album of Christmas carols ‘It Came Upon The Midnight Clear and other carols’ (you can hear samples of 23 carols by clicking on the link).
It’s perhaps the most popular Christmas tune of all time, however it’s history and development into the present day version is anything but straightforward. Originally penned and copyrighted by James Lord Pierpont in 1857 (and in this recording arranged by Vaughan Jones) under the name of ‘One Horse Open Sleigh’ , the original version is quite different than the one we all know nowadays. It has a distinctive harmonic progression more reminiscent of Brahms or Mendelssohn than a popular song and contained the memorable lyrics: ‘A day or two ago, I thought I’d take a ride, and soon Miss Fannie Bright, was seated by my side.’ If you would like a glimpse of the original, listen to the section which surprisingly transposes up a semitone and Pierpont’s version comes shining through!
Although I was originally a little wary of arranging this piece for quartet, I feel this version captures the excitement of the one horse open sleigh with more than a sprinkling of Christmas merriment!
You can also purchase the sheet music of Vaughan’s arrangement for the combinations of string quartet and string orchestra here: