The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

In Dulci Jubilo

For the Nativity, For Christmas

Words: Nun singet und seid froh, Attributed to Heinrich Suso (ca. 1295-1366). Folklore has it that Suso, hearing angels sing these words, joined them in a dance of worship.
See Good Christian Men, Rejoice, and these notes.

Music: "In Dulci Jubilo," 14th Century German melody
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / XML

A 14th century macaronic carol (i.e., mixed text German-Latin)

1. In dulci jubilo,
Nun singet und seid froh!
Unsers Herzens Wonne
Leit
in praesepio,
Und leuchtet als die Sonne
Matris in gremio,
Alpha es et O, Alpha es et O!

2. O Jesu parvule
Nach dir ist mir so weh!
Tröst mir mein Gemüte

O puer optime
Durch alle deine Güte
O princeps gloriae.
Trahe me post te, Trahe me post te!

3. O Patris caritas!
O Nati lenitas!
Wir wären all verloren
Per nostra crimina
So hat er uns erworben
Coelorum gaudia
Eia, wären wir da, Eia, wären wir da!

4. Ubi sunt gaudia
Nirgend mehr denn da!
Da die Engel singen

Nova cantica,
Und die Schellen klingen
In regis curia.
Eia, wären wir da, Eia, wären wir da!

Editor's Note:

This is one of a number of carols found in the 1582 collection, Piae Cantiones

Theodoric Petri, ed., Piæ Cantiones Ecclesiasticae et Scholasticae Veterum Episcoporum. (Gyphisuualdiæ: Augustinum Ferberum, 1582)

Sheet Music and Notes from Rev. George R. Woodward, ed., Piæ Cantiones. A Collection of Church & School Song, chiefly Ancient Swedish, originally Published in A. D. 1582 by Theodoric Petri of Nyland. (London: Printed at the Chiswick Press for the Plainsong & Medieval Music Society, 1910), Carol #6, pp. 8-9; Notes, pp. 210-214.

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See: The Christmas Songs in Woodward's Piæ Cantiones (1910)

Rev. Woodward's notes to VI. In Dulci Jubilo.

'Uff den heyligen Christag.' 'Ein alt Weyhnacht Lied.' A 'Macaronic,' i.e. 'Hybrid,' or 'Mischlied'; [Footnote 1] in this case partly in Latin, partly in Swedish. For many German versions of this deservedly favourite Christmas Carol, see Kehrein's 'Katholische Kirchenlieder' (1859), I, No. 108; Wackernagel, II, Nos. 640-647; and F. M. Böhme's 'Alt deutsches Liederbuch,' No. 528, a and b. The oldest form of the German words is quoted by Wackernagel and Böhme from Codex No. 1305 in the University Libr. at Leipzig, a MS. of the end of the fourteenth or beginning of the fifteenth century:

Footnote 1.

1. Said by Hoffmann von Fallersleben in Meister, I, No. 24, P. 179, to be the oldest example of a sacred 'mixed' song. The Council of Basel (1431) forbad the use in Church of hybrid Cantiones such as 'Ein verbum bonum et suave' (see Neal's preface to 'Sequentiæ ex Missalibus')

1. In dulci iubilo
singet und sit vro.
Aller unser wonne
layt in presepio,
Sy leuchtet vor dy sonne
matris in gremio
qui alpha est & o.

2. O Jhesu paruule
noch dir ist mir so we:
troste mir myn gemute
O puce optime,
durch aller iuncfrawen gute
princeps glorie,
trahe me post te.

3. Ubi sunt gaudia?
nyndert me wen da,
do dy vogelin singen
noua cantica,
und do dy schelchen klingen
in regis curia
Eya qualia.

4. Mater et lilia
ist iuncfraw Maria
Wir woren gar vertorben
per nostra crimina
Nu het fy uns erworben
celorum gaudia
O quanta gracia.

Another MS. of the fifteenth century at Breslau varies the fourth stanza thus:

Mater et filia
O iungfrau Maria:
hettest do ens nicht erworben
Celorum gaudia
So wär wir all verdorben
per nostra crimina
quanta gratia.

Kehrein reads . . . 'wir weren gar verloren | per nostra crimina | So hastu uns erworben | celorum gaudia | Maria hilff uns da!'

Luther altered this stanza, first in Babst's Gesangbuch (1545), I, No. 56, into 'O patris charitas | O nati lenitas | wir weren all verloren | per nostra crimina | so hat er uns erworben | celorum gaudia | Eya, wer wir da!'

The number of Catholick, Lutheran and Bohemian hymnbooks in which In dulci iubilo occurs, in one of its older forms, or set to the more modern words, In einem suszen Ton, Lob Gott, du Christenheit, and Mit einem sussen Schall, is too great to be counted.

For a long time the composition of In dulci iubilo, as well as of Peur natus in Bethlehem, was attributed to Peter Faulfisch, a native of Dresden, living at Prag, a friend of Johann Hus, circa 1412. But it is certainly of earlier date. Any doubts as to its authorship seem to be removed by a passage from Melchior Diepenbrock's 'Heinrich Suso's' [genannt Amandus] 'Leben und Schriften' (Regensburg, 1829), quoted by Meister, I, No. 24, p. 179. It may be safely considered the work of Heinrich Suso, the mystic, the friend Ioh. Tauler, of the family of the Counts of Mons, a Dominican Monk, who was born c. 1280, and died in 1365. A passage occurring in a MS. of the fourteenth century, quoted by Diepenbrock, p. 19, quite decides the matter. The writer recounts 'Wie eines Tages zu Suso himmlische Jünglinge kamen, ihm in seinen Leiden eine Freude Zn machen; sie zogen den Diener [Footnote 1] bei den Hand an den Tanz, und der eine Jüngling sing an ein frohlickes Gesänglein von dem Kindlein Jesus, das spricht [211] also: In dulci iubilo, &c. Like St. Dunifan and his Missa Rex splendens, we may well believe, that Beatus Suso learnt his In dulci iubilo not of man, but of an angel from heaven.

Footnote 1.
I.e. the servant, i.e. himself.

There is a striking similarity between stanza iv of In dulci iubilo, and the following beautiful extract from Suso's writings (see Diepenbrock, p. 233), concerning this Mater et filia: 'Ach fufze Königin, wie billig magfich dein frohlicker Name [Gefchlecht] freuen; denn verflucht war die erste Eva, dasz sie der Frucht je eritbisz; gesegnet fey die andra Eva, das fie uns die süsze himmlische Frucht je gebracht! Niemand klage mehr das Paradies; wir haben ein Paradies verloren, und haben zween Paradiese gewonnen. Oder ist sie nicht ein Paradies, in der da wuchs die Frucht des lebenden Baumes, in der alle Wollufi und Freude mit einander beschlossen war ?”

For this melody, in 1853 Neale wrote his Good Christian men, rejoice; see 'Carols for Christmas-tide,' No. vi [Good Christian Men, Rejoice]. Like that of Resonet in laudibus, the melody, now treated frankly as Ionian, was probably originally in the Mixo-Lydian Mode. For varying forms of the tune see Meister, I, No. 24; Böhme, No. 528 a and b; and Zahn, 4947, besides any of the following collections of music where In dulci iubilo has been harmonized, for voice or organ, by some of the master musicians of every succeeding age and generation.

(i) Georg Rhau's (1488-1548) 'Newe Deudsche Geistliche Gesenge' (Wittemberg), 1544; see Breitkopf and Haertel's 'Denkmaeler' (1908), Bd. XXXIV, No. ix, p. 6; à 4, Anon. setting; melody in Tenor.

(ii) Joh. Eccard (1533-1611): 'Fünfstimmige Tonisatze' (1597), No. cxx.

(iii) Lucas Osiander (1534-1604), No. 6: à 4 (1586); (?) Samuel Mareschall (1554-1640).

(iv) Leonard Schröter, circa 1572 : for 2 Quires.

(v) Seth Calvisius' ' Harmonia Cantionum Ecclesiasticarum' (1556-1615), No. X (1598), à 4.

(vi) Barth. Gesius' 'Geistliche deutsche Lieder' (1601); p. 16, à 4.

(vii) Joachim Decker (1611); No. xli, p. 202 of Gab. Husduvius' 'Melodeyen GB.' 1604; à 4.

(viii) Gothardus Erythræs (1608), No. xxix; à 4.

(ix) Melchior Vulpius (1560-1616), No. xv (1609).

(x) Michael Prætorius (1572-1621),
'Musæ Sioniæ' (1607, Jehnæ), Ander Theil, No. v, for Double Quire.
'Musæ Sioniæ' (1607), V, No. lxxx, à 2; No. lxxxi, à 3; No. lxxxii, à 4; No. lxxxiii, à 4.
'Musæ Sioniæ' (1609), VI, Nos. xxviii and xxix; No. xxxi (Schw. Fran.); No. xxxii (Marck.); No. xxxiii (Preuss. Seest.), all à 4.
'Polyhymnia Panegyrica' (Wolfenbüttel, 1618-9), No. xxxiv, for several Quires 'cum tubis,' etc.
For a 5 part setting (1597) from 'Mus. Sion.,' VI, No. clxi, see Winterfeld, I, M.-B., No. 120, p. 116.

(xi) Hieronymus Prætorius (1560-1629) in his Magnificat of the 5th Tone, Hamburg (1622), see Breitkopf's 'Denkmaeler,' XXIII, p. 143; à 8.

(xii) Heinrich Grimm (1637) in Joh. Dillinger's 'Newes Geist. Musikalisch Lustgärtlein' (1626), No. xviii, à 3.

(xiii) Joh. Hermann Schein (1586-1630), 'Cantional' (1627), No. xii, à 4.

(xiv) Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654), in his 'Achtstimmige Geist. Gesänge,' No. xv. [Winterfeld, II, p. 612.]

(xv) Joh. Crüger (1598-1662), No. 98 (1656), 'Praxis pietatis melica,' No. iii. Melody and fig. bass harmonized by Jacob Hintze (1622-1702): No. xlv in his 'Geistliche Kirchen Lieder.'

(xvi) Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707). Breitkopf, Bd. II, Part 2, No. 16. 'Orgel Compositionen.' See also Two-choral-preludes, ed. J. E. West (Organ). Novello, 1904.

(xvii) Gottfried Vopelius (1645-1775); 'Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch' (1682), p. 39.

(xviii) Friedr. Wilh. Zachau (1663-1712). Breitkopf, 'Denkmaeler,' Bde. XXI, XXII, p. 353, No. 30. Organ Fugue in G.

(xix) Joh. Gottfried Walther (1684-1748). Breitkopf, Bde. XXVI-XXVII (set as a Choralvorspiel à Clav. et ped.), No. 52, p. 126.

(xx) It is said to have appeared in Scotland, in the 'Gude and Godly Ballates' (1568). [See In Dulci Jubilo, Now Lat Vs Sing With Myrth And Jo ]

(xxi) 'Lyra Davidica' (1708), p. 7, treble and bass.

(xxii) Joh. Seb. Bach (1685-1750). For Vocal Harmonies see No. 143 of Bach's '371 Vierstimmige Choral Gesänge' (Breitkopf and Haertel), set to Latin and English words
     (i) 'The Cowley Carol Book' (1902), No. 12A [
In Dulci Jubilo - Woodward], and 
     (ii) in 'The Oxford Hymnal' (1909), No. 6.

In dulci iubius is to be found frequently in Bach's Organ Works: Band VII (Breitkopf), No. 29 (Canon in the 8ve.) ; 'Orgel büchlein,' p. 12 ; Bach's 'Werke für Orgel,' No. 106; Band VIII (Breitkopf), No. 106, p. 109; 'Bach Gesellschaft,' Band IV, Orgelwerke, p. 74, and again at p. 158; Choral Vorspiel, Org. 978, 1166, 25; and p. 12; 40, p. 74; Choral (variante) Org. 1217, No. 40, p. 158; 'Bach Gesellschaft' (1889), No. 115.

(xxiii) R. L. de Pearsall (1795-1856). See Novello's 'Part Song Book,' Second Series, and No. 16 in 'Kath. GB.' St. Gallen (1863).

(xxiv) Layriz (1855), No. 238.

(xxv) Hauschoralbuch (1887), No. 20. (M. Prætorius, 1607).

Editor's Note:

Some of the references in this text include the following:

Source: George R. Woodward, M.A., Piæ Cantiones. (London: Plainsong & Medieval Music Society, 1910), pp. 267-9. “List of Some of the Principal Works to Which Reference Is Made in the Foregoing Explanatory Notes.”

Sources of Latin hymns found in Piae Cantiones:

Copies of many of these works are available at the Internet Archive and Google Books.

See A Garritan Community Christmas for an MP3:
In Dulci Jubilo, Dan Powers

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