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What Child Is This Acapella What Child Is This Acapella


What Child Is This Acapella

Written by: Lotti Mcminn

[What Child Is This Acapella] is a mesmerizing acapella rendition of the classic Christmas carol, showcasing stunning harmonies and vocal talent. Experience the beauty of acapella music with this enchanting performance.

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Welcome to the enchanting world of acapella singing! In this article, we will dive into the captivating realm of acapella music and explore the unique charm it brings to popular songs. Specifically, we will delve into the enchanting Christmas carol “What Child Is This” and discover its transcendent beauty when performed acapella.

Acapella singing, characterized by the absence of instrumental accompaniment, allows the human voice to take center stage. It showcases the incredible vocal skills and harmonization abilities of the singers, resulting in a breathtaking musical experience. With the absence of instruments, the performers rely solely on their voices to create intricate melodies, harmonies, and rhythmic patterns that evoke deep emotions in listeners.

“What Child Is This” is a classic Christmas carol that dates back to the 19th century. It is based on the melody of the traditional English folk song “Greensleeves.” The timeless lyrics, penned by William Chatterton Dix, beautifully depict the wo-nder and awe surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ. The song has become a staple in Christmas music, symbolizing the joy and wonder of the holiday season.

When performed acapella, “What Child Is This” takes on a whole new dimension. The absence of instruments allows the singers to explore different vocal techniques, creating a unique and enchanting rendition of the song. Acapella arrangements often highlight the intricate harmonies and vocal dynamics, bringing out the emotional depth of the lyrics.

In the following sections, we will explore the history of “What Child Is This,” delve into remarkable acapella arrangements of the song, and examine the importance of acapella in music education. Get ready to be captivated by the exquisite beauty of acapella singing as we embark on this journey into the world of “What Child Is This” acapella renditions.


Acapella Singing: Definition and Background

Acapella singing is a unique form of vocal performance that showcases the pure harmonies and melodies created solely by the human voice, without the accompaniment of musical instruments. The term “acapella” originates from the Italian phrase “a cappella,” which translates to “in the chapel style.” This style of singing has been practiced for centuries, dating back to early religious music compositions.

One of the defining characteristics of acapella singing is the emphasis on close vocal harmonies and intricate vocal arrangements. Without the support of instruments, acapella groups rely on the blending of their voices to create complex harmonies and rich textures. This requires a deep understanding of vocal techniques and the ability to listen and respond to the other singers in the group.

The origins of acapella singing can be traced back to Renaissance sacred music, where vocal polyphony reached its peak. Composers such as Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Josquin des Prez composed intricate choral works that were meant to be performed a cappella. These compositions showcased the beauty and power of the human voice, highlighting the importance of vocal purity and precision.

Over time, acapella singing expanded beyond the realms of religious music. In the 20th century, vocal groups like The Mills Brothers, The Andrews Sisters, and The Beach Boys popularized the genre with their tight harmonies and innovative vocal arrangements. This led to the emergence of acapella groups in various genres, including doo-wop, barbershop, and pop music.

With the advancements in technology, acapella singing has experienced a resurgence in recent years. Shows like “Pitch Perfect” and “The Sing-Off” have brought acapella into the mainstream, inspiring a new generation of singers to explore this vocal art form. Online platforms, such as YouTube and TikTok, have also provided a platform for acapella groups to share their performances with a global audience.

Acapella singing is not just about creating beautiful music; it also fosters a strong sense of teamwork and camaraderie among the singers. The close harmonies and intricate vocal parts require a high level of coordination and communication within the group. Each member plays a crucial role in creating the overall sound, fostering a deep sense of musical and interpersonal connection.

Throughout history, acapella singing has proven to be a powerful and timeless form of musical expression. Its ability to convey emotions and create intricate harmonies solely through the human voice continues to captivate audiences around the world. As we explore the acapella rendition of “What Child Is This,” we will witness the transformative power of acapella singing in bringing this beloved Christmas carol to life.


The History of “What Child Is This”

The history of the timeless Christmas carol “What Child Is This” can be traced back to the 19th century. The melody of the song is believed to have originated from the traditional English folk song “Greensleeves.” However, it was the addition of the deeply moving lyrics by William Chatterton Dix that truly transformed the song into a beloved Christmas carol.

William Chatterton Dix, an English hymn writer, wrote the lyrics to “What Child Is This” in 1865. The poem, titled “The Manger Throne,” was published in a collection entitled “Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern.” Dix was inspired to write the lyrics after a near-fatal illness that left him bedridden for several months. During his recovery, he contemplated the wonder and significance of the birth of Jesus Christ, which served as the inspiration for the poignant words of the carol.

The original lyrics of “What Child Is This” paint a vivid picture of the scene at the manger, inviting listeners to reflect on the humble birth of Jesus and the eternal significance of His coming. The powerful opening line “What child is this, who laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping?” immediately captures the attention and imagination of the listener, setting the stage for a heartwarming and introspective journey through the carol.

The carol gained popularity in England and eventually made its way to the United States. It quickly became a cherished Christmas song, capturing the essence of the holiday season and the message of hope and salvation brought by the birth of Christ.

Over the years, “What Child Is This” has been recorded and performed by countless artists, each bringing their unique interpretation to the carol. From traditional choral arrangements to contemporary pop renditions, the carol continues to resonate with audiences of all ages and musical preferences.

Through its moving lyrics and timeless melody, “What Child Is This” reminds us of the profound significance of the nativity story and the transformative power of Christ’s birth. The carol invites us to reflect on the meaning of Christmas and to celebrate the hope and joy that Christ’s arrival brings to the world.

As we explore the acapella renditions of “What Child Is This,” we will discover how this beautiful carol continues to inspire and touch the hearts of listeners, transcending time and cultural boundaries.


Acapella Arrangements of “What Child Is This”

“What Child Is This” lends itself beautifully to acapella arrangements, allowing the full potential of the human voice to shine through. As acapella groups reimagine and reinterpret this classic Christmas carol, they bring a fresh perspective to the song, revealing new layers of emotion and creativity.

The absence of instrumentation in acapella arrangements of “What Child Is This” creates a sense of intimacy and purity. The focus is solely on the voices of the performers, allowing their harmonies and vocal techniques to take center stage. Acapella groups often explore intricate vocal arrangements, weaving together different vocal parts to create mesmerizing harmonies that capture the essence of the carol.

Some acapella arrangements of “What Child Is This” stay true to the traditional melody and harmonies, highlighting the beauty of the original composition. These renditions showcase the power of the human voice to evoke emotions and transport listeners to the manger scene, where the miraculous birth of Jesus took place. The purity and clarity of the voices in these arrangements create an ethereal atmosphere, immersing the audience in the timeless beauty of the carol.

Other acapella arrangements take a more contemporary approach, infusing the carol with elements of jazz, soul, or pop music. These innovative interpretations bring a fresh energy and modern flair to “What Child Is This,” while still maintaining the essence of the original composition. By incorporating vocal improvisation and rhythmic vocal percussion, acapella groups add a captivating and dynamic element to the song.

Some acapella arrangements of “What Child Is This” showcase the versatility of the human voice by exploring different vocal techniques. From soaring sopranos to resonant basses, the range and diversity of vocal talents within acapella groups allow for a rich and varied interpretation of the carol. Vocal effects such as vocal runs, vocal trills, and beatboxing can also be incorporated, adding depth and complexity to the performance.

Furthermore, acapella arrangements often highlight the storytelling aspect of “What Child Is This” by using vocal dynamics and phrasing to convey the emotions and narrative of the lyrics. The performers skillfully blend their voices to create moments of intensity and intimacy, captivating the audience and drawing them into the story of the nativity.

Overall, acapella arrangements of “What Child Is This” offer a unique and enchanting experience for both performers and listeners. By harnessing the power of the human voice and exploring innovative vocal techniques, acapella groups breathe new life into this timeless Christmas carol, ensuring its continued relevance and impact in the world of music.


Notable Acapella Performances of “What Child Is This”

“What Child Is This” has been performed acapella by numerous talented artists and groups, showcasing the versatility and beauty of this beloved Christmas carol. Here are some notable acapella performances that have left an indelible mark:

1. Pentatonix: The Grammy-winning acapella group Pentatonix is renowned for their exceptional vocal abilities and seamless harmonies. Their rendition of “What Child Is This” is a true masterpiece, blending their distinct vocal styles to create a powerful and emotionally captivating performance. The group’s innovative vocal arrangements and impeccable timing bring a fresh perspective to the carol, enchanting listeners with their signature sound.

2. BYU Vocal Point: Known for their energetic and dynamic performances, BYU Vocal Point delivers an unforgettable acapella rendition of “What Child Is This.” Their tight harmonies and flawless vocal technique bring a sense of joy and celebration to the carol, while their passionate delivery and stage presence add an extra layer of emotional depth to the performance.

3. Home Free: Home Free, a renowned country acapella group, infuses their unique style into their rendition of “What Child Is This.” Their rich vocal harmonies and soulful interpretations create a warm and inviting atmosphere, evoking feelings of comfort and nostalgia. Their acoustic approach to the carol adds a touch of authenticity and simplicity, allowing the powerful lyrics to shine through.

4. Straight No Chaser: Straight No Chaser delivers a delightful acapella performance of “What Child Is This” with their signature blend of humor and impeccable vocal skills. Their creative vocal arrangements and spontaneous comedic interactions make their rendition a true crowd-pleaser, showcasing the fun and lighthearted side of acapella music.

5. Voices of Lee: The acapella group Voices of Lee brings a compelling and heartfelt performance to “What Child Is This.” Their seamless vocal blend and precise harmonies create a sense of unity and reverence, capturing the Christmas spirit with their rendition. The group’s emotive delivery and attention to detail make their performance of the carol a truly transcendent experience.

These notable acapella performances of “What Child Is This” not only demonstrate the immense talent of the artists but also highlight the rich and diverse interpretations that acapella music can bring to a classic Christmas carol. Through their captivating vocal techniques and heartfelt deliveries, these performances breathe new life into the timeless beauty of the carol, leaving a lasting impression on audiences worldwide.


The Vocal Techniques in Acapella Renditions

Acapella singing showcases the incredible range and versatility of the human voice, allowing performers to explore a variety of vocal techniques that bring depth and richness to their renditions. In acapella arrangements of “What Child Is This,” these vocal techniques play a crucial role in enhancing the overall musical experience and capturing the essence of the carol.

1. Harmonizing: Harmonizing is a fundamental technique in acapella singing, where singers create additional melodic lines that blend together to create harmonies. In “What Child Is This” acapella arrangements, performers skillfully harmonize their voices to add depth and texture to the song. The harmonies can be simple or complex, depending on the arrangement, and contribute to the overall emotional impact of the performance.

2. Vocal Percussion: Vocal percussion involves using the voice to emulate percussive sounds, such as drums or cymbals. By incorporating beatboxing or vocal effects, acapella groups can create rhythmic patterns and add a dynamic element to their renditions. In “What Child Is This” acapella performances, vocal percussion can contribute to the overall groove and energy of the song, enhancing the listener’s engagement and enjoyment.

3. Vocal Runs and Ornamentation: Vocal runs are a series of rapid, melodic variations on a single note or series of notes. In acapella renditions of “What Child Is This,” performers can incorporate vocal runs and ornamentation to add flair and expressiveness to their performances. These embellishments showcase the vocal agility and technical prowess of the singers, infusing the carol with a touch of virtuosity.

4. Dynamics: Dynamics refer to the variations in volume, intensity, and expression within a musical performance. In acapella renditions of “What Child Is This,” singers can utilize dynamics to create contrast and enhance the emotional impact of the lyrics. They can seamlessly transition from soft and intimate moments to powerful, soaring sections, adding depth and nuance to the overall interpretation of the carol.

5. Vocal Texture: The texture of an acapella performance refers to the way the various vocal parts interact and blend together. Whether it’s a duet, trio, or full ensemble, acapella groups carefully craft the vocal texture to create a seamless and harmonious sound. In “What Child Is This” acapella arrangements, performers focus on achieving a balanced and cohesive vocal texture that brings out the beauty and complexity of the carol.

These vocal techniques, among many others, contribute to the unique and captivating nature of acapella renditions of “What Child Is This.” They showcase the skill and artistry of the singers, elevating the carol to new heights and inviting listeners on a profound and emotional musical journey. Through the careful use of harmonies, vocal percussion, ornamentation, dynamics, and vocal texture, acapella performers create breathtaking interpretations that capture the heart and soul of the beloved Christmas carol.


The Importance of Acapella in Music Education

Acapella singing plays a significant role in music education, offering a range of benefits for students of all ages. It provides a unique opportunity to develop crucial musical and vocal skills, fostering creativity, teamwork, and a deep appreciation for the power of the human voice.

One of the key advantages of acapella in music education is its emphasis on vocal technique and harmony. By singing without instrumental accompaniment, students are challenged to listen carefully to one another, blend their voices, and create harmonies. This develops their ear for pitch and enhances their ability to recognize and create musical intervals, fostering a strong foundation in music theory.

Acapella singing also helps students develop their individual vocal skills. They learn proper breathing techniques, vocal placement, and intonation as they strive to blend and match the voices of their peers. This focus on vocal technique encourages students to explore and expand their vocal range, expressiveness, and control, leading to improved vocal abilities and a greater sense of confidence in their singing abilities.

Moreover, acapella music education promotes teamwork and collaboration. To create cohesive harmonies, students must work together, actively listening and responding to one another’s voices. This not only develops their musical skills but also cultivates valuable interpersonal skills such as communication, cooperation, and mutual respect. The process of creating harmonies in an acapella group fosters a sense of camaraderie among students, teaching them the importance of unity and collective effort in achieving musical excellence.

Acapella singing can also ignite students’ creativity and encourage them to explore musical arrangements and interpretations independently. By allowing students to experiment with vocal harmonies and vocal percussion, acapella empowers them to take ownership of their musical journey, fostering a sense of artistic expression and individuality.

Furthermore, acapella singing provides students with performance opportunities that showcase their talent and hard work. Whether it’s performing in school concerts or participating in acapella competitions, students gain valuable experience in public speaking, stage presence, and self-confidence. These performance experiences not only develop their musical abilities but also equip them with transferable skills that can benefit them in various aspects of their lives.

Lastly, acapella singing exposes students to a wide range of musical genres and styles, broadening their musical horizons and fostering an appreciation for diversity in music. Students can explore different cultures, historical periods, and artistic expressions through acapella arrangements, deepening their understanding and connection to music as a universal language.

The importance of acapella in music education cannot be overstated. It promotes skill development, teamwork, creativity, and a love for music. Whether it’s through harmonizing, vocal technique, collaboration, or performance opportunities, acapella provides students with a well-rounded musical education that prepares them for a lifelong journey of musical discovery and expression.



In conclusion, acapella singing brings a unique and captivating dimension to the beloved Christmas carol “What Child Is This.” The absence of instrumental accompaniment allows the human voice to shine, showcasing the incredible vocal talents, harmonies, and emotions that can be achieved through acapella renditions.

From its origins in religious music to its modern-day popularity, acapella singing has proven to be a powerful and timeless form of musical expression. It allows singers to explore a range of vocal techniques, including harmonizing, vocal percussion, vocal runs, and dynamics, creating breathtaking performances that resonate with audiences of all ages.

Notable acapella groups and artists have left their mark with their exceptional renditions of “What Child Is This.” Through their innovative arrangements, impeccable harmonies, and passionate deliveries, they have breathed new life into this classic carol, captivating listeners and evoking the wonder and reverence of the nativity story.

Furthermore, acapella singing holds significant value in music education. It fosters the development of crucial skills such as vocal technique, music theory, teamwork, creativity, and self-expression. Through the process of harmonizing and performing in acapella groups, students cultivate not only musical abilities but also interpersonal skills and confidence that extend beyond the realm of music.

As we reflect on the enchanting world of acapella singing and its impact on “What Child Is This,” we come to appreciate its power to transcend boundaries, touch hearts, and bring people together through the universal language of music.

So, let us embrace the beauty and magic of acapella singing and continue to celebrate the wonder and joy of “What Child Is This” in all its melodic and harmonious glory.

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