When I recorded this celebrated English traditional carol for the Christmas album Hope from on High in 2008, I took advantage of the studio setting to develop it into a creatively enhanced ensemble work, changing keys and lead instruments and rhythms and moods --- on hammered dulcimer, guitar, bowed psaltery, bamboo flute, silver flute, etc. --- to have it develop in the form of the action story of which the words tell.

In retrospect, why did I feel the need to do it that way?  Well, perhaps I intuitively was concerned that the beautiful, fetching folk melody, though quite lyrical, has a lot of repetitious features, and as an instrumental it would benefit from special treatment, rather than merely being played as a tune.

Recently I’ve had the desire to play this piece on solo hammered dulcimer and have had to consider how to treat it in a special way in this new live setting.  An informal video of the result is below.

Here are some of the thoughts that went into the current version:

Perhaps in your own arranging of tunes some of these concepts can be adapted for appropriate effect.

Merry Christmas!