I Saw Three Ships is an anonymously composed carol that probably dates back to the 17th century. It is a catchy melody with repeating lyrics that tell a story of Christ and Mary sailing on ships to Bethlehem, which is a bit odd since the city is not near any large body of water. Perhaps the writer of the lyrics had some metaphor in mind.
Select the song image below for a printable PDF of I Saw Three Ships, or scroll down for links to many more arrangements in seven different keys in treble, bass, and alto clefs. The wind, brass, and string arrangements of the carol are all in the key of concert C, so all of those instruments can play the song together. You can also view and print the lyrics to I Saw Three Ships.
New! - I Saw Three Ships piano accompaniment parts are now available to accompany all instruments and singers, in free, printable PDF format.
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!
I Saw Three Ships with Fluffy and Ivy
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Tap the image of the sheet music for a full-size PDF of I Saw Three Ships.
Play-Along arrangements of I Saw Three Ships. These pages have versions of the carol for wind, brass, and string instruments for you to play with other musicians:
More keys! Select a link below for a printable PDF of I Saw Three Ships in any of the following keys, for treble, bass, and alto clef.