What Child Is This? sheet music

The lyrics of What Child is This? were written in 1865 by Englishman William Chatterton Dix, who lived from 1837 to 1898. Unlike many of the writers of Christmas carols, Dix’s career was not centered around the church, and he was not a preacher or minister -- by profession, he was the manager of a marine insurance company, and he spent his spare time writing poetry. He chose to set his poem to the song Greensleeves, which was composed anonymously during the Elizabethan era, or perhaps even earlier than that.

This version of What Child is This? is in the key of E minor. Along with God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen, it is one of the few Christmas carols that is in a minor key. Unlike the aforementioned carol, it is very somber in tone.

Note that in measures 18 and 26, there is a C sharp in the melody. Some versions of the carol have a C natural instead. Since the song was written approximately 500 years ago, and we don’t know who composed the melody, it is hard to say which note is correct. However, in this case I have chosen C sharp because it sounds a little bit happier than the C natural : ) Merry Christmas!

Select the song image below for a printable PDF of What Child Is This? The site will soon have versions of the carol in several other keys. You can also view and print the lyrics to What Child Is This?

For a countdown to Christmas, visit the How Many Days Until Christmas page. The Two Happy Bears are excited about the holiday and are eagerly counting every second!



What Child Is This? sheet music

Tap the image of the sheet music for a full-size PDF of What Child Is This?

Christmas music for selected instruments

Select an image below to view and print Christmas songs written for each instrument.

Christmas music for violin
Christmas music for viola
Christmas music for cello
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Christmas music for oboe
Christmas music for clarinet
Christmas music for bassoon
Christmas music for alto saxophone
Alto Saxophone
Christmas music for tenor saxophone
Tenor Saxophone
Christmas music for trumpet
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Christmas music for tuba
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Christmas music for piano
Christmas music lyrics

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Table of Contents for the Christmas Song Lead Sheets:

Angels We Have Heard on High
Auld Lang Syne
Away In a Manger
Deck the Hall
Ding Dong! Merrily on High
The First Noel
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
Good Christian Men, Rejoice
Good King Wenceslas
Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
Here We Come A-Wassailing
The Holly and the Ivy
I Saw Three Ships
In Dulci Jubilo
In the Bleak Midwinter
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
Jingle Bells (short easy version)
Jingle Bells (full version)
Jolly Old St. Nicholas
Joy to the World
O Christmas Tree
O Come All Ye Faithful
O Little Town of Bethlehem
Quelle Est Cette Odeur Agréable
Silent Night
The Twelve Days of Christmas
Up on the Housetop
We Three Kings
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
What Child Is This?

More Music and Educational Materials by Kyle Coughlin:

Learn about rhythm and improve your skills: Rhythm-In-Music.com

Free online metronomes that speak the beat: MetronomeBot.com

Sleigh Bell Metronome

Free blank sheet music paper: Music-Paper.com

Clarinet fingering charts and instruction: TheClarinet.net

Kyle Coughlin’s Publications: SkyLeapMusic.com