The Holly and the Ivy

This is an online fiddle lesson for the Christmas hymn "The Holly and the Ivy."

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Genre: Gospel, Holiday, Celtic
Skill Level: Beginner
Key of A

You may download and use any of the MP3s and tablature for your personal use. However, please do not make them available online or otherwise distribute them.

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Video #1: Here is a video of me performing the Christmas song "The Holly and the Ivy."

The Holly and the Ivy - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. The Holly and the Ivy - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. The Holly and the Ivy - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.


"The Holly and the Ivy" is a traditional British folk Christmas carol. The song is cataloged as Roud Folk Song Index No. 514. The words of the carol occur in three broadsides published in Birmingham in the early nineteenth century.

An early mention of the carol's title occurs in William Hone's 1823 work Ancient Mysteries Described, which includes "The holly and the ivy, now are both well grown" among an alphabetical list of "Christmas Carols, now annually printed" that were in the author's possession.

The usual melody for the carol was first published in Cecil Sharp's 1911 collection English Folk-Carols. Sharp states that he heard the tune sung by "Mrs. Mary Clayton, at Chipping Camden." Sharp's manuscript transcription of Clayton's singing of the third verse, dated "Jan 13th 1909", is archived in the Cecil Sharp Manuscript Collection at Clare College, Cambridge and viewable online. The melody is notable in being confined to the notes of the hexachord.  The early nineteenth-century sources do not provide music for the carol. An 1868 collection of carols coupled the words of "The Holly and The Ivy" to an "old French carol."

source: wikipedia

The Holly and the Ivy

The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown

Refrain:
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

The holly bears a blossom
As white as lily flower
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To be our sweet Saviour

The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good

The holly bears a prickle
As sharp as any thorn;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
On Christmas Day in the morn.

The holly bears a bark
As bitter as any gall;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
For to redeem us all.

The holly and the ivy
Now both are full well grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown.
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