History and Sheet Music for "Adeste Fideles"

Adeste Fidelis/O Come, All Ye Faithful

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History of "Adeste Fideles" Lyrics and Chords

  • First Published: Disputed
  • Key: G Major

The person responsible for the music and lyrics to “Adeste Fideles” is still disputed today; however, the 1947 work by Dom John Stephan, OSB, The Adeste Fideles: A Study On Its Origin and Development concludes the author to be John Francis Wade.

Wade’s version was written between 1740–43 with four Latin verses. In 1822, three additional Latin verses were added by Abbé Étienne Jean François Borderies; and in 1850, another Latin stanza by an unknown contributor found its way into the carol.

The earliest known example of an English translation of the tune dates to 1789 and includes slightly different lyrics than what we have today. The most popular modern English adaptation was translated by Frederick Oakeley, D.D. in 1841, and was first seen in print in the 1852 F. H. Murray publication A Hymnal for Use in the English Church. But, Oakeley only translated Wade’s original four verses, leaving the other four up to William Thomas Brooke, whose version was printed in the 1885 Altar Hymnal.

Over the years, numerous English translations were published, and even appeared with a few titles, including “In Nativitate Domini Hymnus” and “The Portuguese Hymn.”

Playing "Adeste Fideles/O Come, All Ye Faithful" on Piano

Get the complete sheet music (with lyrics) for piano, written in the key of G major. This arrangement is simple and to the point, with full chords and a light melody; perfect for the beginner pianist or anyone who needs a background for vocals.