Slim and
Super Slim
Carols
Flexible arrangements for
varied ensembles in
two or three parts

Harmony without Holes

|Introduction| |Slim Carols| |Rhythms| |Super Slim Carols| |Go to Carols|
Introduction

Most carol arrangements are based upon vocal SATB parts. With small, ad hoc ensembles, when it may be difficult to gather together an ensemble which can adequately cover this four-part harmony, it's possible that the harmonic texture will be incomplete.

Slim Carols are arranged in 3 parts so that the harmony is always complete. The arrangements are for variable, generic instrumentation. Super Slim Carols are arranged in two parts only but in such a way that almost any instrument can play the melody, and almost any instrument can play the other part, but the harmony is always complete.

Some of the carols are available in two keys with corresponding instrumental parts.

For each carol, you will see something like this:

carol heading

Here you have:

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Slim Carols

The Slim Carols are arranged in three parts: melody, middle, and bass.  For each carol  the following downloads are available:

Some of the middle parts have alternative, diamond shaped notes. These are supplied when, with a low-lying melody, there is no room to add a third to a final chord, leaving the harmony a bit thin. These diamond shaped notes do complete the harmony, but are placed above the melody notes.

alternative notes

These three-parts settings function without the presence of the keyboard part.

Please remember that the middle and bass parts are ONLY COMPATIBLE with these arrangments, NOT with standard hymn/carol arrangements. This is a result of: making sure that good harmony is used at all times, although only three parts are present; keeping the middle part within range of the violin; and making sure that the keyboard arrangement is within the grasp of most players.

The melody parts ARE COMPATIBLE with most, if not all arrangements.

Some carols have an irregular metre (not the same number of syllables in each verse) so, where the extra syllables may be present, small notes are supplied. If they are not needed, just play rests at these places.

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Rhythms

Generally, the accompanying parts are written with long or tied notes for the sake of simplicity. However, if preferred, the accompanying parts may follow the rhythm of the melody. For instance, the first couple of bars of The Holly and the Ivy are written like this:

example of smooth rhythm

but there is no reason why they can't be played thus:

example of smooth rhythm

Similarly, repeated notes may be tied at will, and vice versa.

Super Slim Carols

The Super Slim Carols are arranged in two parts only: the carol melody and a second part.The second part is so constructed that it is in double, or invertible counterpoint with the melody, which means that it doesn't matter if the melody is played by a double bass and the second part by a piccolo, or vice versa; the harmony will still be complete.  Of course, there is no restriction on the number or instruments playing any one part - just aim for some balance if possible.

Here is an electronically generated example of The Angel Gabriel with the melody at the top and the second part as a bass:

Melody at the top
Play
Pause

Here is an electronically generated example of The Angel Gabriel with the melody in the bass and the second part at the top:

Melody in the bass
Play
Pause
The second parts are NOT compatible with the three part arrangements on this site, nor with any other carol arrangement. They are SOLELY for use with an otherwise unaccompanied carol melodyl
Some of the second parts have alternative, diamond shaped notes. If the second part is being played by a low lying instrument, these diamond shaped notes will give a better sense of finality for a last verse.

alternative notes

For each arrangement the following downloads are available:

Although these Super Slim arrangements cannot be used with the Slim arrangements, they can be used in alternation, for the sake of variety.

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Go to the Carols

When you click on THIS LINK you will be taken to the Organists Online site, which is a repository of hymn and carol arrangements. Just scroll down past the display ads to reach the carol arrangements.