Away in a Manger (alternative tune): Mastering Christmas Carols on the Piano and Keyboard

Check out our complete series on mastering Christmas Carols on Piano and Keyboard.

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How to play Away in a Manger on the piano or keyboard. Note that this is an alternative (some might say the original) version of the melody. The British version of Away in a Manger is also available.

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Away In A Manager: Introduction

Like Silent Night and We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Away in a Manger is in 3/4 (Waltz) time.

It’s written here in F major, which is a comfortable key for most people to sing it in.

Away In A Manager: Main Melody

The melody is quite different to the alternative version. There’s more variation here, though there is a hint of repetition between the two halves.

Here’s the complete melody written out on the treble clef stave, as you’d play it with the right hand:

Away in a Manger melody score

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Listen to the melody (MIDI file, should play directly in your browser. Alternatively, iTunes or Quicktime will play it).

Those notes are:

– – C | C Bb A | A G F | F E D | C C | C D C | C G E | D C F | A C | C Bb A |
A G F | F E D | C C | Bb A G | A G F | G D E | F

Away In A Manager: Single Note Bass Line

Here’s how to add a single bass note to each bar to add a little harmony. In fact, it only uses three different notes — C, F and Bb.

Away in a Manger simple bassline score

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Listen to the MIDI file

Away In A Manager: Melody and Accompaniment

The final version features the playing of chords in the right hand, with the melody note as the highest, plus two bass notes an octave apart in the left hand.

Note that the lowest one or two notes in each right hand bar are held for the duration (three beats) while the melody notes are played. This can either be done by physically holding the notes down (if comfortable), using the sustain pedal, or a combination. See what sounds the best — generally sustaining a whole bar when there are only a few melody notes in each will still give a pleasing sound without fear of notes running too much into one another.

Away in a Manger accompaniment

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Listen to MIDI file

Away In A Manager: Lyrics

Away in a manger,
No crib for His bed
The little Lord Jesus
Laid down His sweet head

The stars in the bright sky
Looked down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay

The cattle are lowing
The poor Baby wakes
But little Lord Jesus
No crying He makes

I love Thee, Lord Jesus
Look down from the sky
And stay by my side,
‘Til morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus,
I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever
And love me I pray

Bless all the dear children
In Thy tender care
And take us to heaven
To live with Thee there

I hope you find this guide useful for helping you to play Away in a Manger.

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Series Index: Mastering Christmas Carols on the Piano and Keyboard