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Jingle Bells for Clarinet & Piano

By James Pierpont

Detailed Description

Clarinet in Bb & Piano - Easy/Beginner - Digital Download
Composed by James Pierpont (1822-1893). Arranged by James M. Guthrie, ASCAP. Christmas. Score, Set of Parts. 8 pages. Published by jmsgu3 (S0.298541).

Item Number: S0.298541

Jingle Bells arranged for Bb clarinet & piano. Jingle Bells is perhaps the most famous songs in American music history. James L. Pierpont published thesong as “One Horse Open Sleigh” in thelate 1850’s. Since its introduction, people began to insist that Pierpont wroteit for a Sunday school choir. However, it seems unlikely that such a secularsong would be considered appropriate during that historical period for Sundayschool.

Christmas Repertoire

Pierpont wrote the song forthe Thanksgiving holidays, but over time people began to think of it more as aChristmas song. Some choirs adopted it as part of their Christmas repertoire inthe 1860s and 1870s. Jingle Bells was first recorded in 1889 on a wax cylinder.


No one knowswhere Pierpont composed the song. One theory suggests he wrote it in MedfordMassachusetts in 1850. Sleigh races were certainly popular in 19thCentury Massachusetts. To this day, a commemorative placard appears in Medfordsquare claiming that it is the birthplace of Jingle Bells. Others suggest thathe wrote it in Savannah, Georgia where he was an organist and music director atthe Unitarian Church. This theory gains support from the copyright date of1857. We know he was living in Savannah by then.

Traffic Signals

Horse-drawn sleighs arerelatively quiet in the snow. Consequently, horses were usually equipped withbell-laden straps so as to avoid accidents at blind intersections. Sleighdrivers in 19th Century New England were constantly vigilant,listening for the sounds of approaching horse-drawn sleighs. The tune imitatesthe rhythm that the trotting horse bells produce.

Social Context

Jingle Bells was sung as a drinking song at local revelries: duringthe song folks would rhythmically jangle the ice in their glasses. A sleighride gave couples an opportunity to be alone together. The term “Jingle bells” is a poetic descriptive adjectivereferring specifically to the more accurate term sleigh bells. In manyarrangements, sleigh bells are used to accentuate the rhythm during the song chorus. 

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