Christmas Music Everyone Should Know, Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson

Another popular Christmas composition is "Sleigh Ride," by American composer Leroy Anderson. Since it first was performed in 1950, this song has become a mainstay of Christmas concerts.

Leroy Anderson was a very creative composer who composed music in a light, fun and often humorous style that often described a specific event or thing. For instance, one of his best know works is called the "Waltzing Cat." The 2 minute, 30 second song uses a violin to imitate a cat's meow and the song even ends with a dog barking and chasing the cat. 

"Sleigh Ride," describes a winter's day and a sleigh ride through the country. Leroy Anderson does a few things to help enhance the music so it better describes the scene. For instance, he uses three percussion instruments to mimic the sound the horse and driver would make. 

First, you hear sleigh bells like they were attached to a trotting horse. This is one percussion instrument you only here at Christmas time. 

First, you hear sleigh bells like they were attached to a trotting horse. This is one percussion instrument you only here at Christmas time. 

Second, hollow, wooden tempo blocks are used to make the sound of horse hooves clip-clopping. 

Second, hollow, wooden tempo blocks are used to make the sound of horse hooves clip-clopping. 

Third, an instrument called a slapstick is used to make the sound of a whip that is used to drive the horses.  

Third, an instrument called a slapstick is used to make the sound of a whip that is used to drive the horses. 

Finally, at the end of the song you will hear a horse whinny produced by a solo trumpet playing with the instrument's valves pressed halfway down. 

These creative ways to make sound effects give "Sleigh Ride", and many other works by Leroy Anderson, a unique quality that is vivid and enjoyable. 

Encourage your kids to listen for the instruments and their effects described above as you play this lively song.

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