Ding Dong Merrily on High

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"Ding Dong Merrily on High" is a Christmas carol. The tune first appeared as a secular dance tune known under the title "Branle de l'Official"[1][2] in Orchésographie, a dance book written by Jehan Tabourot (1519–1593). The lyrics are from English composer George Ratcliffe Woodward (1848–1934), and the carol was first published in 1924 in his The Cambridge Carol-Book: Being Fifty-two Songs for Christmas, Easter, And Other Seasons. Woodward took an interest in church bell ringing, which no doubt aided him in writing it. Woodward was the author of several carol books, including Songs of Syon and The Cowley Carol Book. The macaronic style is characteristic of Woodward’s delight in archaic poetry. Charles Wood harmonised the tune when it was published with Woodward's text in The Cambridge Carol Book. More recently, Sir David Willcocks made an arrangement for the second book of Carols for Choirs.

The song is particularly noted[3][4] 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.

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