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Let It Snow: Mastering Christmas Songs on the Piano and Keyboard

October 15, 2011 by  

Check out our complete series on mastering Christmas songs on Piano and Keyboard.

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A very popular Christmas song is “Let It Snow”. Here’s how to play a simple arrangement of it.

Introduction

Here, Let It Snow is written and played in the key of C Major, and has a 4/4 time signature.

C major makes the higher notes more comfortable to sing, but you could transpose up (or indeed down) if needed.

Main Melody

Hum through the melody and you’ll notice that this effectively has A-A-B-A phrasing. That is, the first phrase is repeated (with only one or two differences in notes/timing) then followed by a different section before returning to the first phrase again.

The melody notes you need to play are:

- – - G G | G G F E D | C G – G G | D C D C | B G – A |
A A G F E | D – - B A | G G F E E D |
C – - G | G G F E D | C G – G G | D C D C | B G – A |
A A G F E | D – - B A | G G F E E D |
C – - B C | D E D B G | D – - B D | C C B A G A |
B – - B C | D E D B G | D – - – | G F E F G A |
G – - G G | G G F E D | C G – G G | D C D C | B G – A |
A A G F E | D – - B A | G G F E E D | C – - – |

Here’s the complete melody written out:

Let It Snow melody score

(Download this as a PDF file)

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

You may want to add some artistic license to all of the dotted eighth notes (quavers) followed by sixteenth (semiquaver) notes, depending upon how you like the phrasing to sound. I know different recording artists have done things slightly differently. Remember, the printed music is only there as a guide for you to add your own performance nuances to, and not an absolute rule.

Fingering

There are a number of octave stretches which, unless you have a very large hand, you’re likely to want to play from thumb to fifth (little) finger (or reverse, for descending octaves).

There are a number of passages where notes descend, not with all consecutive notes in the scale, but it should still be easy enough to finger appropriately. Where there are six notes in a downward run (see bars 2 and 3 for an example) you can play the first five notes with fingers 5,4,3,2 and 1 (thumb) before reaching over with your index finger to play the next note, then switching back to the thumb ready for the next significant interval (in this case, from bar 3 to bar 4).

Continued below...

In bars 18 through 20, you’ll want to ensure you switch fingers when appropriate so that you don’t “run out” of fingers later on.

Single Note Bass Line

Below is a simple bass line for the carol using just one note at a time. From bar 2 onwards, the bass line alternates between a bar of two half notes and a bar of one whole note.

Here’s the printed music:

Let It Snow bassline score

(Download this as a PDF file)

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Adding harmony and fullness with chords

In the final version of Let It Snow, I’ve added two- and three-note chords to the right hand, always with the melody note as the highest note. The bass line has also been slightly altered to fit with the harmonies.

Here’s the printed music.

Let It Snow chords score

(Download this as a PDF file)

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

We hope you found this guide useful. Feel free to leave comments below if you have any questions or suggestions.

Check out our complete series on mastering Christmas songs on Piano and Keyboard.

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