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This arrangement is a peaceful arrangement for four acoustic guitars, hopefully in keeping with the original. The hardest part is guitar 3, which stands as a solo in its own right and is about grade 4 standard. The other parts are much easier so could be performed by a group of three players around grade 1/2 level and their teacher.
The original manuscript has been lost, however the music was composed by Gruber in 1818. Gruber’s composition was influenced by the musical tradition of his home. The melody bears resemblance to Austrian folk music.
Gruber published various arrangements of it throughout his lifetime and the Mohr arrangement (ca. 1820) is kept at the Carolino Augusteum Museum in Salzburg.
The carol has been translated into over 300 languages and dialects around the world, and it is one of the most popular carols of all time.
The song was sung simultaneously in English and German by troops during the Christmas truce of 1914, as it was one of the few carols that soldiers on both sides knew.
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