The best Christmas tunes are not only popular in other countries, but also found in our own, according to a new research study.
“We can make our own Christmas music,” said lead researcher Dr. Michelle Loo of the University of Waterloo.
“It’s just a matter of getting inspiration.”
In the study, Loo and her colleagues at U of W’s Department of Music and Dance surveyed more than 2,000 music lovers about their favourite Christmas songs, including Christmas classics such as The Reindeer and The Nutcracker.
They also asked music fans about their own Christmas songs.
The results showed that more than two-thirds of the listeners who had chosen a Christmas song said they’d made their own.
“This means that we can create our own festive music that’s uniquely Canadian,” Loo said.
“Our findings provide a powerful, yet concise, framework to explore and understand the diverse ways in which Christmas music has been used in Canada, including traditional traditions and new ones.”
A lot of Christmas music is based on a traditional theme or song, such as the Reindeers or The NutCracker, she said.
The study also found that the most popular Christmas songs include the traditional holiday classics, such the Reggae, the Ritz and the Christmas Song.
Loo, who is now a doctoral candidate at the University’s Department, said her findings were based on an analysis of online metadata, rather than on actual song lyrics.
“We wanted to get the most out of the study by focusing on a large, well-known and iconic song,” she said, referring to the Christmas classics.
“There’s no real definitive list of the best Christmas songs on the Internet.
Our aim was to identify what’s being used in popular Christmas music in Canada.”
The study’s authors said they hope their study will encourage more people to learn to make their own music, which they call the “digital Christmas.”
“Our study suggests that there is a lot of creativity to be found in the music of many Canadians, including the more traditional songs,” said study co-author Andrew Fenton, a postdoctoral researcher in the Universitys department of Music.
“But it’s important that these musical expressions are well-crafted, not merely sung and performed.”
The researchers also noted that some of the songs included in the study were actually the ones people already know, such a reindeer song or the Christmas song of a Christmas tree.
Loo said she’s hoping that other researchers will explore the ways that people create their own songs and songs that are familiar to them.
“I think there is an important opportunity for us to bring these songs into the world of music and explore how they might be incorporated into other forms of media,” she explained.
“It could be a fun project for music educators, musicians, composers, or any other person who might want to make a song or a piece of music.”
The paper, titled “A digital Christmas: How to make your own music from the lyrics of popular Christmas classics,” will be published online on Nov. 15 in the journal PLOS ONE.