O Little Town Of Bethlehem – Swing – Beginner (Grade 1)

O Little Town Of Bethlehem – Swing – Beginner (Grade 1)

(US) $2.50

O Little Town Of Bethlehem is a slow swing arrangement of the Christmas classic in F major for beginner players at about the Grade 1 (ABRSM) standard.

Listen to clip:


Lewis Redner composed the melody to Phillips Brooks' carol O Little Town Of Bethlehem over 150 years ago. He recounts how it came about:

As Christmas of 1868 approached, Mr. Brooks told me that he had written a simple little carol for the Christmas Sunday-school service, and he asked me to write the tune to it. The simple music was written in great haste and under great pressure.

We were to practice it on the following Sunday. Mr. Brooks came to me on Friday, and said, ‘Redner, have you ground out that music yet to "O Little Town of Bethlehem"? I replied, 'No,' but that he should have it by Sunday.

On the Saturday night previous my brain was all confused about the tune. I thought more about my Sunday-school lesson than I did about the music. But I was roused from sleep late in the night hearing an angel-strain whispering in my ear, and seizing a piece of music paper I jotted down the treble of the tune as we now have it, and on Sunday morning before going to church I filled in the harmony.

Neither Mr. Brooks nor I ever thought the carol or the music to it would live beyond that Christmas of 1868.

(read more about it here)

With lyrics by Phillips Brooks, this laid-back arrangement moves along at a relaxed 86bpm and features swung eighth-note quavers. It's very tempting to rush this piece, so once you can play it all the way through, try playing along with the backing track to check your tempo.

For those who fancy a real tempo challenge, ask someone to turn down the volume of the backing track as you're playing along with it, and then a few bars later turn the volume up again - did you keep in time?

Take care with the light staccato notes, which occur at the end of each short phrase and in the last two bars of the piece. The final note of the piece features an acciacatura grace note in the right hand, which should be played as quickly as possible before the actual note.

O Little Town Of Bethlehem is the fourth piece in the book Christmas JukeBox Grade 1-2 and comes with 3 MP3 backing tracks:

  • Performance recording
  • Play-along backing track (bass, drums and guitar)
  • Slow-tempo practice backing track.

Additional information

Audio Downloads

Performance MP3, Playalong Backing, Slow Tempo Playalong Backing








Jazz Swing



Time Signature



Beginner (Grade 1)


Sheet music


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