This page features two different melodies to the song Away in a Manger. Like many carols, the author of the lyrics to the song is unknown. Also, like several other carols, the lyrics have been set to music by more than one composer. In the United States, the best known version of Away in a Manger is by the American composer James R. Murray. The most popular version of the song in Great Britain and other parts of the world is by William J. Kirkpatrick, who was born in Ireland but immigrated to the US at an early age.
James R. Murray lived from 1841 to 1905 and studied with the well known American teachers Lowell Mason and George Root at the Musical Institute in North Reading. During the Civil War, Murray was a musician in the army, and after that he made a career as a teacher, composer, and magazine editor for The Song Messenger and The Musical Visitor. He published his music to Away in a Manger in 1887, as part of the book Dainty Songs for Little Lads and Lasses. Select the image below for a printable PDF of Away in a Manger by James Murray.
William J. Kirkpatrick lived from 1838 to 1921 and studied music in Philadelphia. Like Murray, he enlisted in the military as a musician at the beginning of the Civil War in 1861. However, his position of Fife-Major was terminated in 1862, and he was sent home. Kirkpatrick earned a living as a carpenter, church organist, and hymn writer. Eventually, he devoted himself completely to music and published his melody to Away in a Manger in 1895, in a collection of songs called Around the World with Christmas. Select the image below for a printable PDF of Away in a Manger by William Kirkpatrick.
Choose one of the song images below for a printable PDF of Away in a Manger by Murray or Kirkpatrick, or select links to many more arrangements in seven different keys in treble, bass, and alto clefs. Find the appropriate range for your voice or instrument, or go directly to the pages for the wind, brass, and string arrangements that allow you to play the carol with other instruments. You can also select an instrument image at the bottom of the page for more Christmas songs for your instrument. There is also a lyrics page for Away in a Manger.
More keys for each version of the carol: