“Carol of the Bells” is a popular Americanized version of a Ukrainian Christmas carol. It is a choral work by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych as “Shchedryk“ and translated, or rather, adapted to English by Peter J Wilhousky who wrote and Americanized the lyrics. Leontovych’s composition was in turn, set to the words of an ancient Ukrainian carol performed during the celebration of the New Year.
The song is recognized by a four-note ostinato motif (see image to the right). It is a holiday favorite throughout the English-speaking world, having been arranged hundreds of times for different genres, styles of singing and settings. For example, it was been covered by artists and groups of many genres: classical, jazz, rock, and pop. It has also been featured in films, television shows, and parodies.