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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Mastering Christmas Songs on the Piano and Keyboard

December 1, 2011 by  

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

Click on any of the music scores to view/print higher resolution versions

This guide will show you how to play simple arrangements of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.

Introduction

Here, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is written and played in the key of C Major, and has a 4/4 time signature.

Main Melody

Here are the melody notes you need to play:

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

Here’s the complete melody written out:

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer melody score

(Download this as a PDF file)

Feel free to alter the timing of the notes to make the music “flow” better. Remember, musical notation is not an exact science and there’s room for your own interpretation of the music.

Here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Single Note Bass Line

Below is a simple bass line for the song using just one note at a time. Most of the time you simply play one whole note (semibreve) per bar, with the exception of bar 11 which contains two half notes (minims).

Here’s the printed music:

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer simple bassline score

(Download this as a PDF file)

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Walking Bassline – Octaves

To inject a bit of movement into the piece, here’s a walking bass line comprised of quarter notes (crotchets).

Generally in each bar you play a bass note followed by a note one octave above, then repeat.

Continued below...

Bar 19 has two different sets of octave intervals. The first starts on D and the second on G.

In the final bar hold the third note (C) for two beats.

Here’s the printed music:

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer walking bass score

(Download this as a PDF file)

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Walking Bassline with Right Hand Chords

In the final version of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, I’ve added three-note chords to the right hand to give fullness and a richer harmony.

Generally there’s a chord to play on the first beat of each bar. Try to hold the lower notes of the chord while you play the melody over the top. Using the sustain pedal will really help smooth the sound out.

Watch out for bar 19 which contains two half note chords.

You’ll notice that the bass line has changed slightly in bar 16 to add a bit of interest. However, the song doesn’t sound bad if you play the original version of that bar (a repeat of bar 15).

Here’s the printed music:

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer walking bassline with 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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