Away In a Manger Alternate tune

Away in a Manger Kirkpatrick tune

There are several tune settings for this well-known Christmas carol. Last year I posted the version that is the most popular version here in the United States.  But there are other versions, including the one I am posting today.   This version is also the one most often used in the UK, according to my friends from England. If you are from the Anglican tradition, this is probably the version you know.

I did some research on this tune. For some reason I thought maybe it was an old English tune, maybe even a folk song. I was surprised to discover the tune was actually composed by a member of the Methodist church here in the United States. How it became the tune used by the Church of England is probably an interesting story! Maybe it was chosen because it is really a lovely melody and very child friendly. Spanning just over one octave, it is easy to sing and play. The lilting melody has no dotted notes and fits the words perfectly. The harmony is charming and I hope to add a teacher duet one of these days.

I tried very hard not to put this in C position, but it really made no sense to force it into another key when the key of C  works out so well for pre-reading this melody. I did have to add a hand crossing to play the A above middle C, but I don’t think that will be too much of a problem if your student started lessons a few months ago. I hope the diagram at the top will help with that.


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8 thoughts to “Pre-reading Away in a Manger, Anglican version

  • Alissa Sanders

    Thank you for all of your pre-reading materials, including your worksheets. I also teach very young students, and finding materials suitable and fun for them is always challenging.

  • Rita L. Spencer

    Dear Susan,
    I would love a simple on staff and and arrangement of this version. The Latter-day Saint children here in Utah sing it both ways!

    By the way, you are a great blessing! I am long since retired as a piano teacher, but still end up teaching just a few on a volunteer basis.

    • susanparadis

      Hi Rita.
      Due to popular demand, I will be posting this version in two different ways, a simple on the staff version that is primer level, except for the eighth notes, and a version that is about level 2 and will have some hands together playing, which may be a challenge to the students I give it to! I had no idea that this version was so popular in the US until I posted it on this blog! I have heard from so many teachers who like it! -Susan

  • Karen

    I would love to give the grand staff version to a couple of my students this year.

    At our church, my pastor has asked me to do both melodies for this carol alternating tunes for each verse. It actually worked! This is definintely my favorite of the two tunes, though.

    • susanparadis

      I will post an *on the staff* version very soon. However, it is just the single line melody, not a real arrangement. I am also working on an arrangement at about the late elementary level. Would you also be interested in that?

  • Leigh


    I LOVE the pre-reading Christmas songs, with finger numbers, NOT note names. I have a couple very, very beginners that these will be perfect for, so they can participate in the Christmas Mini-Recitals. I especially like the RH=red, LH=green notation.


  • Beverly Porter

    Susan, this is the tune we sing in Canada. The kids mostly know both tunes but they all know this one so please post the notated version for us.

  • Carol Dawn

    Thanks for this lovely version. The one we sing here, too. Very surprised it was written in the States. Will have to set one of the hymnologists at our Episcopal church here onto the import story.
    Am using more and more of your pre-reading songs.
    Thanks much!!


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