- First Published: Music, 1799; lyrics, 1820-1824.
English lyrics unknown.
- Key: Major
History of “O Tannenbaum”
“O Tannenbaum” (lit. “fir tree” *) is among the most beloved Christmas carols in German-speaking areas, and thrives elsewhere in translated or instrumental form. Its melody is a traditional German folk tune of unknown origin, whose music was first officially printed in the 1799 publications Melodien zum Mildheimischen Liederbuch and Deutsche Volkslieder. The lyrics, however, are thought to be much older, and were likely based on an Old German ode to the fir titled “O Dannebom.”
As for the Modern German carol, the author of its first verse remains unknown; but since the verse appeared in August Zarnack’s 1820 songbook Weisenbuch zu den Volksliederen für Volksschule, it is often credited to him. The other two German stanzas were probably written by poet and composer Ernst Gebhard Anschütz, and first appeared four years after Zarnack’s version.
- More on the carol’s history at HymnsAndCarolsOfChristmas.com
- Complete bilingual lyrics with chord progression
* Tanne = fir; Baum = tree. The German term for “Christmas tree” is “Weihnachtsbaum.”
Learn “O Tannenbaum” on Piano
Complete piano sheet music for “O Tannenbaum / O Christmas Tree” in the key of F Major. This arrangement is chord-happy, contains English and German lyrics, and is available in simple and elaborate form – both of which are suitable for vocal accompaniment.Choose from the following printer-friendly formats: