Music You Can Read®

"O Little Town of Bethlehem"


"O Little Town of Bethlehem"
Additional Information

"O Little Town of Bethlehem" Lyrics, Text Format

Beginning syncopation, sharp supertonic (Ra),
and ascending submediant octave skip (La/La).

Click to hear melody.

  • Grade: Fifth

  • Origin: USA - Christmas Hymn, 1868 - words: Rector Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), music: organist Lewis Redner* (1831-1908)

  • Key: F Major

  • Time: 4/4

  • Form: ABCD

  • Rhythm: beginners: | ta ta ta ta | ta ti ti ta ta |
    | ta/a/a ta | ta ta ta/ ti | syncopation

  • Pitches: intermediate: So La Ti Do Ra Re Mi Fa So La
    - raised/sharp supertonic (Ra)

  • Intervals: intermediate: m2: Mi\Ra/Mi; m3: Mi/So;
    : Do/Mi; P4: La/Re, Mi/La; P5: Re\So; m6: Fa\La; M6: So/Mi; P8: La/La ascending submediant octave skip

  • Musical Elements: notes: dotted half, dotted quarter, quarter, eighth; pickup beat, sharp supertonic (Ra), submediant octave skip, syncopation

  • Key Words: USA geography: Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; world geography: Bethlehem; Bible story, Christmas Hymn, Christmas carol, sacred, birth of Jesus, thee (you), dreamless, stars, shineth (shine), everlasting, hopes and fears, Christ, Mother Mary, gathered, mortals, angels, wondering, morning, proclaim, holy birth, praises, God or King, silently, wondrous, imparts, blessings, heaven, meek, souls, receive, misery, charity, watching, faith, wakes, breaks, Christmas, holy child, descend, pray, cast, sin, tidings, abide, Lord Emmanuel

*original tune was titled: "St. Louis"


"O Little Town of Bethlehem"


O little town of Bethlehem how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light:
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.


For Christ is born of Mary: and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wond'ring love.
O morning stars together proclaim the holy birth!
And praises sing to God our King, and Peace to men on earth.


How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in.


Where children pure and happy pray to the blessed Child,
Where misery cries out to Thee, Son of the mother mild;
Where charity stands watching and faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once more.


O holy Child of Bethlehem descend to us, we pray,
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born to us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell,
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel.


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Additional Formats


"O Little Town of Bethlehem" Music Format
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pitch numbers

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letter names

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