O Come O Come Emmanuel

This is an Advent hymn, which is a translation of a paraphrase of a set of plainchant antiphons used with the Magnificat at Vespers over the final days before Christmas.  These usually referred to as the "O Antiphons", because each one starts with O ....

It was translated from Latin by  English Anglican priest, scholar and hymnwriter, John Mason Neale (1818–1866), in the mid 19th century.

It is almost always set to the tune VENI EMMANUEL which was set from a 15th century funeral hymn by Thomas Helmore in in 1856.

Published versions have almost-always been in the key of Em, but by request the sheet music below is in the slightly lower setting of Dm.


This section may contain affiliate links: I earn from qualifying purchases on these. Free downloads are provided where possible (eg for public domain items).


Choir with organ, professional recording:

Traditional choir:

Choir with piano, on-screen lyrics:

Contemporary setting - band - with on-screen lyrics:

Solo singer with various backing:


O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

    Rejoice! Rejoice!
    Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.

O come, Thou day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times once gave the law,
In cloud and majesty and awe.

O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of humankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

ABC Notation

T:O Come, O Come Emmanuel
C:Tune: Unknown - 15th century VENI EMMANUEL
C:Words: John Neale - translation of a 12th century Latin text
Z:abc-transcription www.GodSongs.net
D2| "Dm" F2 A2 "F" A2 A2 | "Gm"G2 B2 A2 "C" G2 |"F"F6 "Gm"G2 |
w:1~~~O come, O come, Em-man__u-el, and
w:2~~~O come, Thou Rod of Jes__se, free Thine
w:3~~~O come, Thou Day-Spring, come__ and cheer our
w:4~~~O come, Thou Key of Da__vid, come, And
w:5~~~O come, O come, Thou Lo_rd of might, Who
"F" A2 F2 "Bb" D2 F2 | "Gm"G2 E2 D2 C2 | "Dm"D6 "Gm"G2 |
w:1~~~ran-som cap-tive Is__ra-el, That
w:2~~~own from Sa-tan's ty__ran-ny. From
w:3~~~spir-its by Thine ad__vent here, dis-
w:4~~~op-en wide our hea__ven-ly home; Make
w:5~~~to Thy tribes, on Si__nai's height, in
G2 D2 D2 E2 | "F" F4 E2 D2 |"C" C6 "Dm"F2 |
w:1~~~mourns in lon-ely ex_ile here, un-
w:2~~~depths of Hell Thy pe_ople save, and
w:3~~~perse the gloo-my clouds_ of night and
w:4~~~safe the way that leads_ on high, and
w:5~~~an-cient times did'st give_ the Law, in
"C" G2 A2 "F" A2 A2 | "Gm"G2 B2 A2 "C" G2 | "F"F6 c2 |
w:1~~~until the Son of God__ ap-pear. Re-
w:2~~~give them vic-t'ry o'er__ the grave
w:3~~~death's dark sha-dows put__ to flight.
w:4~~~close the path to mi__se-ry.
w:5~~~cloud, and ma-je-sty__ and awe.
"C"c6 "Dm"A2 | "Am" A6 "F"A2 |"Gm"G2 B2 A2 G2 |
w:joice! Re-joice! Em-man__u-
"Dm"F2 G2 "F"A2 F2 | "Bb" D2 F2 "Gm"G2 E2 | D2 "Am" C2 "Dm"D4- |D4 z2|]
w:el shall come to thee, O Is__ra-el_.

Ref:  What is ABC

See more ...

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mary, after a year unable to sing, I have finally completed my arrangement of this beautiful hymn. The video is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLQj3BtwQws