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Stanton’s E-Tools: Jukebox

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Piano Music with Special Effects

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I Saw Three Ships

Title: I Saw Three Ships


Voicing/Format: Unison/2 Part
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Arranger: Harris, Patricia Lou
Catalog #: 712-40870
Series: Christmas Anthem
Description: 9780687645015 Price: $1.80

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The history of this familiar carol is unsure although believed to be English in origin. Some mystery is connected to the interpretation of the "three ships" once thought to represent the three wise men, now considered to represent the holy family. This simple carol sets five stanzas of the text bringing variety through the accompaniment. The four-measure introduction establishes the flowing 6/8 meter with dancing eighth notes moving below the melody. Stanza four slightly slows the tempo, moves from F major to G major, adds chimes, and becomes more homophonic in the piano accompaniment, perhaps in reverence to Christ's birth. The eighth note pattern returns at stanza five with bells ringing and earth rejoicing. The piano accompaniment presents no unique challenges. The voice parts are doubled or at least harmonically supported throughout the anthem. The bell part is well suited to intermediate ringers. A separate part is included in the score. Vocal ranges are appropriate for middle elementary singers through adult.
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