12.24.2020 – Ding dong merrily

Ding dong merrily
In heav’n the bells are ringing
Ding dong verily the sky

I discard the haiku I was writing and decided quoting Oscar Wilde on Christmas Eve was just not right.

I will use it next week when thinking retrospectively on the year.

That being said, the Christmas Carol (defined by Wikipedia as “a carol (a song or hymn) on the theme of Christmas, traditionally sung at Christmas itself or during the surrounding Christmas holiday season) Ding Dong! Merrily on high was just playing on the Radio.

Followers of this blog will remember that I listen to Classic FM, an online radio station from London (where its is five hours ahead of local time so I know that somewhere somehow someone has made through the next five hours), and at Christmas time they load up their playlist with Christmas Music.

I enjoy as they do not include the American Music of stars and almost stars singing the classics of Rockin’ Round the Christmas Tree or I’ll have a Blue Christmas.

I mean I gots nothing against these recordings, lest I am taken for a ‘high-brow’ Christmas music snob.

And of course as I start writing, Rudolph the Red Nosed is played on my radio station and it was requested by some 4 year old in Sussex and the presenters spend the next 5 minutes talking about their childhoods and Rudpolph.

Which of course calls to mind Frasier Crane’s outburst on the song in an episode of Cheers, when he says, “the story of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is one of the most unrealistic and therefore potentially damaging in all of children’s music. It gives them a horribly distorted view of reality. First the other reindeer tease and then ostracize him. And then when his abnormality proves of service, they use him. In fact, not only do Donner, Blitzen, et al, not love him and laugh out loud with glee, but they doubly despise the bulbous-nosed little wimp.”

Which is odd because I also cannot but remember Martin Crane’s efforts to sing “Oh Holy Night” whenever I hear that carol.

But what is really odd is that the carol in question, Ding dong merrily …, sticks in my brain because one night long ago I was flipping the channels on TV at Christmas time and landed NBC’s Holiday Special featuring the CAST OF FRASIER and then out came, Frasier and Niles and Martin and Roz and Daphne (though truth be told I wasn’t watching the show back then and didn’t know who these folks were) and they troop down this extravagant holiday stage and line up and raise their mics and break out in, Ding dong merrily

I thought how in the world did their agents talk them into this one?

I read somewhere that you can tell when a star needs money or is truly desperate or some marketer is striking while the iron is hot and a holiday album is produced.

Not only is their money to made but 95% of the songs are no longer under copywrite.

Even the Brady Bunch cut a Christmas album.

BUT I DIGRESS.

As I said, Ding Dong! Merrily on high was playing and I thought I would write a stinging post about such goofiness and DING DONG the Witch is Dead Merrily on High.

Once again down the rabbit hole that is the World Wide Web.

I put Ding Dong! Merrily on high into the google and found out, to my suprise, that it is based on a French tune from the 1500’s.

The lyrics came along in 1924 by an English composer George Ratcliffe Woodward (1848–1934), and the carol was first published in 1924 in his The Cambridge Carol-Book.

This is all from Wikipedia which also notes:

The song is particularly noted for the Latin refrain:

Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!
[Glory! Hosanna in the highest!]

where the sung vowel sound “o” of “Gloria” is fluidly sustained through a lengthy rising and falling melismatic melodic sequence, extending the word to a 33 syllable long lyric.

I have to repeat that last line again.

The sung vowel sound “o” of “Gloria” is fluidly sustained through a lengthy rising and falling melismatic melodic sequence, extending the word to a 33 syllable long lyric.

Who knew?

Fluidly sustained through a lengthy rising and falling melismatic melodic sequence is quite a trick.

Extending the vowel sound “o” to a 33 syllable long lyric even more so.

It looks like this.

Christmas Carols are often like Christmas Packages.

Lots of surprises inside.

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