One Horse Open Sleigh, The
1. The One Horse Open Sleigh
James Pierpont copyrighted and published The One Horse Open Sleigh while he was living in Savannah, Georgia in 1857. It may have been composed in 1850 in Medford, Massachusetts, or later in Georgia. In 1859, it was republished with the additional title, Jingle Bells. It has become, by far, the most popular secular Christmas piece worldwide, even though the lyrics do not mention Christmas at all.
The original melody in the chorus was transformed fairly quickly into the melody most people are familiar with today, but sources are not sure exactly when this took place. This particular arrangement by James L. King III uses the original melody, harmonic progressions and lyrics as published in 1857. It sounds surprisingly fresh while still being traditional: the accompaniment uses typical Alberti bass patterns in common use during the period of time. It is an effective simplification of the original.