11 December 2023

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This week it's all about: Christmas

This week's MaBaL theme will be all about Christmas tunes.

Around 100 AD, Christianity-themed hymns started taking over the previous pagan songs celebrating the Winter Solstice. More and more slow, solemn hymns started to emerge in the 4th century, and by the 12th, songs referring to Nativity themes and creatures had emerged. According to Oxford Dictionaries, one of the oldest printed carols is the ‘Boar’s Head Carol’, which dates from 1521. Apparently, it was traditionally heard annually at Queen’s College, Oxford as Christmas lunch was carried in.

Other traditional carols thought to be from the Middle Ages include ‘God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen’ and ‘While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night’. Carols and their words continued to be disseminated, even in the 16th century when Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans tried to ban the singing of carols.

Carols were being collected and printed widely by the 19th century. And in 1880, it’s believed the Christmas carol service was invented in Truro by an Edward White Benson, who later became the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Many of today’s most popular carols date from the 19th century with tuneful melodies, rich harmonies and Christmassy sounds abundant.

Christmas pop songs have long-aimed to reach the top spot on the UK Singles Chart on the edition preceding Christmas. These songs develop an association with Christmas or with the Advent season from their chart performance, but the association tends to be shorter-lived than for the more traditionally-themed Christmas Carols. Longer-lasting examples include Band Aid's 'Do They Know It's Christmas?', Slade's 'Merry Xmas Everybody' and Wham!'s 'Last Christmas'.

MaBaL (music at break and lunch) is music played through the school's speaker system during break and lunch.  Chosen by Mr Taylor, Lead Teacher for Music, this is designed to offer exposure to the curriculum in different ways, and support pupils' appreciation of music.

The focus is on one theme each week across a genre, a country or from history.  The theme could also link to the season or an event in school, such as the production.  Any further suggestions are welcomed - pupils should see Mr Taylor or email a.taylor@priory.lancs.sch.uk 

Tags: Music Learning for Life