Ukrainian Bell Carol

The Ukrainian Bell Carol (also called Carol of the Bells, or Hark How the Bells) is incredibly popular and beautiful.

Ukrainian Bell Carol piano music

Please scroll down the page for the link to the printable PDF.

This arrangement is EASY

Though it is very beautiful and flashy, it is surprisingly easy.  

This ever-popular Christmas song, though originally a choral piece, is a great favorite at my studio. All my students learn it eventually. 

Suitable for some first-year students

Many beginners can learn this piece (particularly older students), as long as they have the coordination to master the four-note figure which the right hand repeats over and over again. ("TAH, tee-tee Tah, TAH, tee-tee Tah.")

Hark How the Bells piano music

Start with the right hand, alone

When introducing it, I always give them just the right hand motif the first week, because it is unexpectedly tricky!  It's easy for the fingers to feel like they are getting tangled up.

Accent beat 1

Try this:  whether the RH  is playing the figure "c, b-c, a", (or the LH as in the very beginner versions), the execution of that tricky figure repeated over and over again is facilitated by a feeling of DROPPING the hand onto the keys on each beat 1: 

HARK how the bells, SWEET sil-ver bells, ALL seem to say, THROW cares a-way...

Three beats can be hard

This helps with the feeling of three beats as well, which doesn't feel natural to beginners.

A great many of them come back the next week playing four equal quarter notes (sounding like the beginning of the "Dies irae -- Day of Wrath!" not "Hark, how the bells!"), and wondering why all the spark seems to have gone out of the song.

A Middle C version of the Bell Carol

I have written an easier version of the Carol of the Bells more suitable for real beginners, using the Middle C notes with which they should be familiar.

Though not having the flash and sparkle of this longer version, the beauty of the music still comes through and seems to satisfy kids at the beginning level, and they work at it happily.

An easy transition from one arrangement to the next

But a student who is past Level 1 may be able to play this song in just a few days, learning the essentials all in one lesson.  Just today I showed one of my Level 2 students this piece, and it was a snap for him.  

Before we even touched the piano keys, we looked through page 1 to see what was happening, then tapped the right hand ostinato rhythm on the piano fall board while I pointed at the left hand melody notes, tapping them with the left hand and singing the melody.

Students are frequently surprised to find that the Bell Carol is originally a choir song, not a piano piece.

A video from the Straight No Chaser Men's Group

A few "helper" notes

You will notice just a few notes with note names in the note heads in this arrangement.

This same arrangement, but with more "helper notes" (letters in some of the keys) can be found at my page "Note-Naming Worksheets."

Easy piano Carol of the Bells

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

A harder, fancier version, is found in FJH's In Recital with Christmas Favorites Book 3. That Gm arrangement incorporates more themes from Ukrainian Bell Carol than my simple version above, and is quite beautiful.

(In the FJH book there are 13 carols in all, including a -- THANKFULLY-- shortened version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," "Up on the Housetop," an unusually pretty arrangement of "O Christmas Tree," an easy but sweet "I Saw Three Ships," a mysterious "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," and duet arrangements of "Pat-a-Pan" and "Good King Wenceslaus".)

And there is a challenging but beautiful and mesmerizing arrangement of the Carol of the Bells in this George Winston book!

One of my students played it in recital last Christmas, and she and we all enjoyed it very much.

Some rote learning is inevitable here

Hark How the Bells is easily learned by rote, though I'm not saying not to have them read the notes!

But your kids will be able to PLAY this piece long before they can READ it easily, and long before they meet treble C,D and E in their Faber Piano Adventure books, not to mention f# and g#, which the song uses on page 2.


The piano music link:



Download the Ukrainian Bell Carol free Christmas sheet music



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Can I Print This? 
Is it okay to print this? Dana: Yes, I have put this sheet music here for people to use, so you are free to print it out.

George Winston's Version of Carol of the Bells - Can I Get It from You? 
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About the Author

Dana Thynes

Hi, I'm Dana!  (Say that like "Anna".)  I'm the owner of Music-for-Music-Teachers.com, and a newer site, SingTheBibleStory.com.

Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and have added a few other instruments along the way, plus an interest in arranging and composing music.

You can find out more about me and the reason for this website at my About Me page.