Okay, technically Carol of the Bells isn’t a Christmas song. At least it didn’t start out that way.
Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych originally wrote it to be a New Year’s carol, with lyrics telling the story of a swallow who flies into a home to tell everyone there how awesome the next year is going to be. The now-familiar English lyrics about ringing bells and having a merry, merry, merry Christmas were written over two decades later, without Leontovych’s involvement.
(There are more of these “unintended” Christmas songs than you might think. My Favorite Things, for example, has zero to do with Christmas and hardly anything to do with winter, but that doesn’t stop people from playing it during the holidays. Heck, even Jingle Bells was originally written for a Thanksgiving pageant!)
Anyway, over on one of my favorite internet hang-outs, The Accordionist Forum, someone was recently looking for an accordion-specific arrangement of Carol of the Bells at the beginner-to-intermediate level. I figured I’d try my hand at arranging one myself, and here it is:
I guess it wound up being a lot closer to “intermediate” than “beginner”. If that extra melody line midway down the second page is giving you trouble (those notes played with your thumb), feel free to leave it out and just play the top part, substituting the same fingering you use in the rest of the piece.
And try not to take it too fast! Most people blaze through this song, but Leontovych’s score indicates that it should be played Allegretto, which is brisk, but still not quite as fast as Allegro.