The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Resonet In Laudibus

For Christmas Day

Version 1

Words: Anonymous Authorship

Music: Resonet In Laudibus, German, Fourteenth Century
Also known as Nunc Angelorum, adapted by Thomas Helmore
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer
Meter: Irregular

1. Resonemus laudibus
Cum jocunditatibus
Ecclesiam fidelibus
Appanuit quem genuit Maria

2. Deus fecit hominem
Ad saum imaginem
Et similitudinem
Appanuit quem genuit Maria

3. Deus fecit omnia
Celum, Terram, maria,
Cunctaque nascentia
Appanuit quem genuit Maria

4. Ero nostro concio
In chrodis et organo
Benedictat Domino,
Appanuit quem genuit Maria

5. Et Deo qui venias
Donat et leticas
Nos eidem gracias.
Appanuit quem genuit Maria

Sheet Music from Nicola A. Montani, ed., The St. Gregory Hymnal and Catholic Choir Book. Complete Edition. (Philadelphia: St. Gregory Guild, 1920), #156, p. 241.

Resonet_in_Laudibus-St_Gregory-N156_P241.gif (53424 bytes)

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 #3, pp. 4-5, Notes p. 206.

pc-004.jpg (57720 bytes) pc-005.jpg (57359 bytes) pc-206.jpg (93218 bytes) pc-207.jpg (97306 bytes) pc-208.jpg (81605 bytes)

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

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

Notes by Rev. George R. Woodward to III. Resonet In Laudibus, pp. 206-208.

Of the fourteenth century. Often followed by Magnum nomen Domini, see Cantio No. LXXVIII, though the latter may be regarded as complete in itself. Wicel's 'Psalter Ecclesiasticus' (1550) refers to this Carol (in the vernacular Zion sampt den gleubigen) as one of the chief 'Jubelgesänge der heiligen Weihnachten, wie lie unsern Christlichen Vorfaren frölich gesungen.' The list includes Der tag der ist so freudenreicli (Dies est leticie); Ein kindelein so lobelich; Es ist das kind zu Bethlehem (Puer natus in Bethlehem); and In dulci iubilo.

According to 'Anal. Hymnica,' XX, P. 23, the oldest known form of Resonet cum laudibus is contained in the 'Mosburg Gradual' of the year 1360 (Cod. Univ. Monacen. 157). Wackernagel, II, No. 605, quotes the old German carol, Joseph, liber neve myn, from a Leipzig MS., No. 1305, of the end of the fourteenth or beginning of the fifteenth century, which was sung to this melody alternately with Sunt impleta and Magnum nomen Domini. Hoffmann von Fallersleben quotes it from another MS. at München of 1422. It occurs in several other fifteenth century MSS., and in sixteenth and seventeenth century printed books, Catholick and Lutheran, such as Spangenberg (1544), Babdt (155), Leisentrit (1567), and in 'Schöne alte Chatolifcbe Gesang und Ruff' Tegernsee (177); for a list of which see Meister, I, Nos. 27 and 28, [p. 207] and Bäumker, I, pp. 301-6. In more modern works it is to be found in Daniel, I, p. 327, and IV, p. 252. See also Wackernagel, I, Nos. 348-354, Kehrein, I, Nos. 94, 96, I25, and 126; besides the collections enumerated in Chevalier's 'Repertorium Hymnologicum,' vol. II, p. 467. Other information may be gleaned from Julian (1907), p. 1668 (i), under the heading Magnum nomen Domini, but especially from Franz Magnus Bohme's 'Altdeutsches Liederbuch' (1877), No. 521 a and 6.

Joseph liber neve myn, hilf mir wygen myn kindelin, with the answer, Gerne libe mume myn ich helf dir wygen din kindelin, is known as Maria's 'Wiegenlied,' or 'Cradle Song,' for various readings of which, and for rubrics concerning its manner of singing, the student is referred to Wackernagel, II, Nos. 605-610.

Numerous translations or parodies of Resonet cum laudibus and Magnum nomen Domini are to be found in German sacred song-books, such as Singen wir mit frölichkeit; Zion sampt den gleubigen; Wir loben all' das Kindelein; En natus est Emanuel; Uns ifl ein Kindlein heut' geborn; Es musz erklingen überall; Singt ihr lieben Christen all; Grosz und Herr ist Gottes Nam; Do Gabriel der Engel klar—all testifying to the immense popularity of this fourteenth century melody.

Neale's well-known carol, Christ was born on Christmas Day is not a close translation, but rather a free imitation of Resonet in laudibus. See 'Carols for Christmas-tide' (1853), No. iv; and 'The Cowley Carol Book' (1902), No. 4.

The Tune, at first probably Mixo-Lydian, came to be treated, in process of time, as a Lydian, and lastly as an Ionian mode melody. In slightly varying form, it may be found in most of the sixteenth and seventeenth century Gesangbücher; and in later books it occurs in Zahn, Nos. 20 and 8573, as well as in Layriz, Meister (Bäumker), and Bohme.

Bäumker, II, p. 283, remarks on the similarity between the fourteenth century tune of Resonet cam laudibus and Philipp Nicolai's much admired Wie shön leuchiet der Morgenstern (1599).

The Melody has been often harmonized (for four, five, xix, seven, or eight voices), amongst others, by the following musicians:

(i) Joh. Walther (1544), No. xlvii; (1551), No. li, à 5. See Winterfeld, I, Tonsätze, No. ii; and Michael Praetorius, 'Mus. Sion.,' V (1607), No. lxxxvii, to the words Joseph lieber Joseph mein. [208]

(ii) Leonhart Schröter (circa 1580), for four and eight voices. See Winterfeld, I, p. 342.

(iii) Samuel Mareschall, or Lucas Osiander,1 as No. 3 in the latter's ' Funfttzig Geistliche Lieder und Psalmen' (1586); teste Winterfeld, I, p. 471.

Footnote 1:

Although Matthæus Le Maistre (1566) and David Wolkenstein(1583) sometimes set the Plainsong in the highest part, Lucas Osiander (1534-1604) was the first to entrust the chief melody systematically to the upper voice. Hitherto it had been given to the tenor. See Winterfeld, I, p. 30, on early three, four, and five-part settings of the sixteenth and seventeenth century; Zahn, VI, No. 260, p. 73; and R. Eitner's 'Quellen-lexikon,' IX, P. 75.

(iv) Seth Calvisius (1586-1615) in E. Bodenschatz' 'Florilegium Portense' (1618), No. lxxxix, a six-part setting.

(v) Joh. Andreas Herbst (1588-1666); ibid. p. 25.

(vi) Michael Prastorius' 'Musæ Sion.,'V (1607), as Joseph lieber Joseph mein., No. lxxxvii, à 5 (already mentioned); and again in the same vol., as No. xci, set to the words Magnum nomen Domini [mit vier Tenoristen]; and again, as No. xci, as Resonet in laudibus, and Singt ir lieben Christen all, à 5.
'Musae Sion,' VI (1609), as Nos. xlvi, xlvii, xlviii, and liv, to the words Magnum nomen Domini; En natus est Emanuel, and Uns ist ein Kindlien heut' gehorn, à 5.

(vij) Hieronymus Prætorius (1560-1629). A setting for eight voices occurs after his Magnficat of the Fifth Tone (1622). Reprinted in Breitkopf and Haertel's 'Denkmaeler,' Band XXIII, p. 139.

Some of the resources mentioned in these notes include:

Elizabeth Poston, The Penguin Book of Christmas Carols (London: Penguin, 1965)

Resonet In Laudibus. Fourteenth century. Referred to by Wicel (1550) as ‘one of the chief Christmas songs of joy’. According to Dreves, its oldest known form is in the Mosburg Gradual of 1360. The words of Joseph, lieber Joseph mein (no. 28) were sung also to this tune, as were several other texts. It occurs in several fifteenth-, sixteenth-, and seventeenth-century printed collections, Catholic and Lutheran. The many versions and parodies of this carol’s text in German sacred songbooks are evidence of the carol’s immense popularity. The fourteenth-century melody exists in various versions and is to be found in most of the German sixteenth- and seventeenth-century songbooks and in Cantiones. For what not to do with the words see Introduction page 15. [‘wreath the holly, twine the bay’.]

Hugh Keyte and Andrew Parrott have a history of Resonet In Laudibus in The New Oxford Book of Carols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992),

Graphic Line

An English translation of Resonet In Laudibus is Christ Was Born On Christmas Day, Rev. John Mason Neale, in Carols for Christmas-tide, 1853, from Piae Cantiones, 1582.

Charles Hutchins, Carols Old and Carols New (Boston: Parish Choir, 1916), prints the Neale translation with four tunes:

George Ratcliffe Woodward reproduces the original four verses as commonly found in Christ Was Born On Christmas Day, and with the commonly associated tune, but with four additional verses and an additional tune.

Another translation is Now With Gladness Carol We, English Translation by the Rev. Ronald Knox, from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), Carol #165, pp. 12-13.

Two literal translations appear on the Memoria Press web site. One is a translation by Kira Maffet; the other is described as the official Memoria Press version. They are not reproduced here due to copyright.

Two other English versions under copyright include:

Another translation, "Let the Voice of Praise Resound" (Carol #55), is found in Hugh Keyte and Andrew Parrott, The New Oxford Book of Carols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992). The same tune is employed with "Joseph, Lieber Joseph Mein" ("Joseph, Dearest Joseph Mine"). Keyte and Parrott have an extensive history of "Resonet In Laudibus" following the translations.

Other Latin Versions

Compare: Christ Was Born On Christmas Night, lyrics by Bishop C. W. Stubbs, with two musical settings.

Sources of Latin hymns found in Piae Cantiones:

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

Print Page Return Home Page Close Window

Related Hymns and Carols