THE MUSIC OF CHRISTMAS

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▲Kathy Kiefer

christmas-carols1

THE MUSIC OF CHRISTMAS

Christmas music comprises a variety of genres of music normally performed or heard around the Christmas season, which tends to begin in the months leading up to the actual holiday and end in the weeks shortly thereafter.   Music was an early feature of the Christmas season and its celebrations. The earliest chants litanies, and hymns were Latin works intended for use during the church liturgy, rather than popular songs. The 13th century saw the rise of the carol written in the vernacular, under the influence of Francis of Assisi.

In the Middle Ages, the English combined circle dances with singing and called them carols. Later, the word carol came to mean a song in which a religious topic is treated in a style that is familiar or festive. From Italy, it passed to France and Germany, and later to England. Christmas carols in English first appear…

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