The holiday season is a time for family, friends and loved ones. It’s a time where people get together to meet, talk, laugh and generally celebrate the season. A beautiful and special part of our celebration comes from the music we listen to. From timeless Christmas classics to the more modern adaptations, music has always been a big part of the holidays and will be for a long time to come.
Many of the original compositions for these classics works have passed into the public domain, as their copyrights have expired. Now, although the compositions have expired, new performances and productions of these works are being created to this day. When this happens, new copyrights arise. So, to be mindful of the performance rights is important, while we all enjoy the ability to reproduce theses works now in the public domaing.
Today, the following Christmas traditional pieces are in the public domain.
Click the title to access the YouTube video link for the piece:
Angels from the Realms of Glory (w. 1816 – W. James Montgomery, m. 1867 – Henry T. Smart)
Angels We Have Heard on High (w. 1700s French Carol, m. medieval French Carol Gloria)
Away in a Manger (W.J. Kirkpatrick) (1895 – w. anonymous, m. William J. Kirkpatrick adapted from J.E. Spilman)
God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen (ca. 1760 – w.m. English Traditional)Good King Wenceslas (1853 – w. John Mason Neale, m. Thomas Helmore)
O Come, O Come, Emanuel (1850s – w. translation John Mason Neale, Henry Sloane Coffin, m. French Hymn, 1400s)
O Holy Night (1847 – 1847 w. Placide Clappeau, French, English translation John S. Dwight, m. Adolphe C. Adam)
Silent Night (1818 – w. 1816, German Joseph Mohr, 1859 English tr. John Young, m. 1818 Franz X. Gruber)