Joy To The World Piano Sheet Music
For many of us, Joy to the World is the only context in which we will ever hear the name Isaac Watts (1674-1748)—but in the eighteenth century, Watts was a lively contributor to sacred music, writing over 500 hymns and sacred songs. Joy to the World was first published in 1719, as part of the collection The Psalms of David: Imitated in the language of the New Testament, and applied to the Christian state and worship.
It might also come as a surprise to us that Joy to the World was not originally written as a Christmas hymn at all; based on Psalm 98, it is actually a hymn of triumph to celebrate Christ's Second Coming at the end of time. Perhaps this is why of Watts' entire original hymn text, we use only the second half today.
The music that accompanies Joy to the World was, for many years, attributed to George Frederic Handel, due to some similarities between its melodic line and similar melodic motifs in various Handel choruses (in Messiah, among other works). In fact, however, the music was arranged and adapted by Lowell Mason in 1839, using a tune that over the ages has come to be known as "Antioch."
Whatever the tune may be called, Joy to the World is among the most beloved of all carols—especially in North America, where it far outstrips the publications of any other Christmas hymns in recent history. So, as you play or sing Joy to the World, think of all the people over the centuries who have been uplifted and celebrated with this music…and listen as "heaven and nature" sing along!