As With Gladness Men of Old: Mastering Christmas Carols on the Piano and Keyboard


See the complete series of Mastering Christmas Carols.

As With Gladness Men of Old: An Introduction

As With Gladness Men of Old is written and played here in the key of G Major, and has a 4/4 time signature.

As With Gladness Men of Old: Main Melody

As With Gladness Men of Old features three distinct sections, with parts 1 and 2 repeating the melody and part 3 ending each verse.

Fingering is fairly straightforward. Note from bar 8 to 9 there is quite a large interval moving from thumb to third finger. This may seem a bit of a stretch but it does help in allowing other notes to be easily played.

Here’s the complete melody written out:

As With Gladness Men of Old melody page 1

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And here’s what it sounds like:

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As With Gladness Men of Old: Single Note Bass Line

Below is a simple bass line for the carol using just one note at a time.

Although the first and second lines repeat melody, the accompanimnet varies slightly. Compare bar 2 with bar 6.

Note also the timing between melody and bass in bar 10. While the first two melody notes of the bar are a dotted quarter note followed by an eighth note, the bass line features two quarter notes. This means you will play the first treble clef and bass clef notes together, followed by the second bass note, followed by the second treble note, finishing with the third half notes together.

If you struggle to work out how this sounds, try dividing each beat into two ‘pulses’. The D dotted quarter note in the treble clef is held for three pulses while the quarter note D in the bass clef is held for just two pulses. You then play the F# in the bass which also lasts two pulses, but as you count the second pulse you also play the C in the treble clef, which lasts only one pulse. The positioning of the notes written on the stave also give a hint as to where the notes are played in relation one another.

As With Gladness Men of Old bass line page 1

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And here’s what it sounds like:

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As With Gladness Men of Old: Adding Harmony And Fullness With Chords

In the third version of As With Gladness Men of Old, I’ve added primarily three-note chords to the right hand.

Adding chords increases the potential for harmony, so it’s worth noting there is quigte a difference between the first and second lines. Compare bars 3 and 4 with bars 7 and 8. The number of chords increases on the second line, with some interesting chords adding colour second time around.

As With Gladness Men of Old chords page 1

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And here’s what is sounds like:

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See the full range of Christmas carol lessons we’ve published.