Silent Night

Possibly the most famous Christmas Carol of them all, it is over 200 years old.

It was composed in Austria in 1818 – the lyrics firstly by a young priest named Fr. Joseph Mohr, and the melody then by the local organist Franz Xaver Gruber. The English version was written by another priest – John Freeman Young – translated from 3 of Mohr’s 6 verses in New York City in 1859. Read more about it here.

It has a simple, somnolent yet extremely catchy melody and can be accompanied with the basic 3 chords, or with 23 (!).

Finally, according to, there are over 26,000 different versions of Silent Night on Spotify, meaning you could listen to a different rendition of the carol every night for 72 years.

If you were to pick one to which to listen, well the most famous version is possibly Bing Crosby’s, released in 1935 – the fourth best-selling single of all time. Crosby was a religious man and didn’t want to record the song, saying it would be like cashing in on the Bible, but was persuaded by a priest to do it and donate the royalties to charity.

It’s the featured song this week on my online tuition site and any aspiring (or established) musicians can challenge themselves with 6 questions on it here.

I'm Kieran and I play piano. Actually I do a bit more than just playing - I teach others how to play, and I write music, arrange it and host/produce shows.