GLORIA (French)

Tune Information

Meter: with refrain
Incipit: 33355 43323 53213
Key: F Major or modal
Source: French Carol Melody
Copyright: Public Domain


GLORIA is the French noel tune traditionally associated with this text. The popularity of this carol stems from its refrain–all those cascading phrases in which human beings imitate the angels' chorus. Try using the refrain by itself as a short choral introit during the Christmas season, perhaps with the Baroque performance practice of dotted rhythms to add a subtle touch of beauty! The repeat of the melody in the refrain permits variation in performance; for example, a small choir in the balcony could sing the first refrain line, and the entire group could join in on the second refrain line (the effect of a few angels beginning the hymn and then being joined by more and more angels). Play with light organ registration until the refrain.

The tune is also known as IRIS because of its association with James Montgomery's "Angels from the Realms of Glory" (354), which was first printed in the Sheffield Iris (Montgomery, ed.).

The harmonization is by Edward S. Barnes (b. Seabright, NJ, 1887; d. Idyllwild, CA, 1958) and was first published in The New Church Hymnal (1937). Barnes studied at the Lawrenceville School, Yale University, and the Schola Cantorum in Paris. He was organist and choirmaster at two New York City churches – Church of the Incarnation and Rutgers Presbyterian – and in Philadelphia at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. From 1938 to 1954 he served as organist at the First Presbyterian Church in Santa Monica, California. Barnes contributed to the Presbyterian Handbook to the Hymnal (1935) and wrote piano and vocal works as well as anthems and liturgical music.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

See also IRIS. IRIS is very similar to GLORIA, but does indeed have a different contour to the melody.


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  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
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  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
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Text: Angels We Have Heard on High
  • Angels_We_Have_Heard_on_High.sib (SIB, Scorch)
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Text: Angels We Have Heard on High


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