Away in a Manger Piano Sheet Music (FREE!)

Looking for arrangements of Away in a Manger Piano sheet music? I have an easy and intermediate version to share with you today! This free PDF sheet music is for the classic version of Away in a Manger that is more popular in the United States (there are actually 2 versions—but more information about that soon!)

Keep reading for the history and tips on playing Away in a Manger, or scroll down for the sheet music download buttons.

How do You Play Away in a Manger on the Piano?

Away in a Manger can be played many different ways on the piano. Like most songs, there are a variety of ways you can arrange the chords & notes to get different sounds and embellishments.

Traditionally, the hymnal arranges Away in the Manger with intervals in each hand forming chords.

However, you can easily play this song in a more flowing way, with richer harmonies. OR, you can jazz it up. I’ve heard many different arrangements of this song!

For this sheet music, we’ll go very simple with the easy version—block chords in the left hand and melody in the right hand. For the intermediate version, we’ll go for a pretty, flowing sound with pedal

Who Wrote Away in a Manger?

The history of Away in a Manger is actually quite interesting! For many years, the lyrics were attributed to Martin Luther (which is funny, since I am writing this post on Reformation Day).

However, time and research has since proved this wrong. According to classic FM, the current theory is that “the carol originated in the US, in the Evangelical Lutheran Sunday School’s 1885 collection Little Children’s Book for Schools and Families.”

As for the melody, there are TWO versions, both found in hymnals, yet popular in different places.

The first melody is called “Cradle Song” and is best known in the UK and Ireland. When you look up sheet music for Away in a Manger, this version comes up more.

The second melody, known as “Mueller” is popular in the United States. This is the melody I grew up singing. Since I couldn’t find a lot of easy piano versions of it on the internet, I decided to make my own—hence this post!

More Christmas Sheet Music:

Interested in learning more piano music for Christmas? I’ve also arranged the following songs in several versions:

Away in a Manger Chords/Key

I decided to arrange Away in a Manger in the key of C. While the standard key for singing is F, I went with C because it is easier, and sounds better for the “Mueller” version of the carol on the piano. F just sounds either too low or too high in this version.

What chords will you need to know?

Well, it depends on the version you choose. I kept the easy version VERY simple. You’ll just need to know C major, F major, and G7 in its simplified form.

For the intermediate version, I added just a few more chords so the harmony would get some variance: A minor and D minor.

Tips for Playing Away in a Manger on Piano

As you learn this song, there’s a few things you’ll want to focus on to make the most of your practice time:

  • Make sure your left hand doesn’t overpower your right hand. The melody is in the right hand, so you want that to really shine!
  • Practice this song with AND without the pedal! For the final version, I recommend using pedal as it will add a nice touch. However, when you’re learning it, you’ll want to practice without pedal to make sure you’re playing legato and getting all the notes/chords.
  • Don’t forget to think about dynamics. Away in a Manger is a softer song, so you don’t want to play with too much force. Think of it like a lullaby!

Away in a Manger Piano Sheet Music PDFs

Let’s get right into the downloads now, so you can start learning the Away in a Manger right away, just in time for Christmas!

Easy Version

away in a manger intermediate piano sheet music

The PDF below is for an easy version of Away in a Manger in the key of C major. This is the easiest key to play this song in if you are just starting out. The left hand of this song sticks to one position using the C chord, F chord, and G7 chord. Nice and simple! The right hand moves around a bit and does not stay on a 5 finger position, which is probably the trickiest part for beginners. Take your time while learning this part!

Intermediate Version

away in a manger intermediate piano sheet music

If you have a little more experience at the piano, this version is for you! In the intermediate version of Away in a Manger, you’ll play some intervals, like thirds and sixths, to add some depth to the right hand. The left hand is a bit more flowing than the easy PDF, and there will be a few extra chords like D minor and A minor.

Full Lyrics

Verse 1
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay,
The little lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

Verse 2
The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little lord Jesus no crying he makes.
I love thee, lord Jesus! Look down from the sky,
And stay by my bedside till morning is nigh.

Verse 3
Be near me, lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay
Close by me for ever and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And fit us for heaven to live with thee there.


Away in a Manger is a beautiful Christmas carol with 2 different melodies! This well-loved carol is sure to make your home brighter as you play it on piano this season! Follow these practice tips and pretty soon you’ll be able to play this song for your family and friends.

Check out O Holy Night, Joy to the World next!