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December 7

"O Come, All Ye Faithful", the English translation of "Adeste Fideles", has always been my favorite Christmas song. Although the origins of the text are not entirely clear (at one time, the lyrics were attributed to St. Bonaventura), it is believed that both the words and music were written between 1740 and 1743 by John Francis Wade, an English Catholic layman living in France. The original four verses were in Latin, and were translated into English by Frederick Oakeley in 1841. Four other verses were written and translated by others. I have included the original four verses in English and Latin.

Though I love this hymn, it was difficult to play on the banjo, due to some difficult fingering. For this recording, I've tuned the banjo down a step into Open F (fCFAC). This reduced the tension on the strings, making some of the fingering easier. It also lets the banjo ring a little more, which I think sounds nice (though I don't know if that is easy to hear in the recording). Also, F is much more comfortable for me to sing in, so I wanted to try this tuning out (though I promise not to subject you to any of my singing).

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O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)

Words: John Francis Wade, circa 1740-1743; translated by Frederick Oakeley, 1841.
Music: ADESTE FIDELES, John Francis Wade, circa 1740-1743.


O come, all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant,
O Come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem!
Come, and behold Him, Born the King of angels!

O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

God of God, Light of Light,
Lo! he abhors not the Virgin's womb;
Very God, Begotten not created.


Sing, choirs of angels, Sing in exultation!
Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God, all Glory in the highest!


Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, Born this happy morning.
Jesus, to Thee be all glory given;
Word of the Father, Now in flesh appearing.



Adeste Fideles laeti triumphantes,
Veníte, veníte in Bethlehem.
Natum vidéte, Regem Angelorum:

Veníte adoremus, Veníte adoremus
Veníte adoremus Dóminum

Deum de Deo, lumen de lúmine,
gestant puellae viscera
Deum verum, genitum non factum:


Cantet nunc io chorus Angelórum
cantet nunc aula caelestium:
Gloria in excelsis Deo:


Ergo qui natus, die hodierna
Jesu, tibi sit glória
Patris aeterni Verbum caro factum:


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