Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: Mastering Christmas Songs on the Piano and Keyboard


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 “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: Introduction

Here, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas is written and played in the key of C Major, and has a 4/4 time signature.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: Main Melody

Here are the melody notes you need to play:

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

Here’s the complete melody written out:

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas melody score

(Download this as a PDF file)

There are five distinct sections to the melody. The first eight bars are almost repeated in the second set of eight bars, with a slight variation in bars 14 and 15.

This is followed by a middle section of eight bars, then eight bars that echo the second phrase.

The final four bars close the song.

Take a look at the melody and you’ll see it’s comprised of many runs of arpeggios (broken chords) and descending scales. For example, bar one is an ascending C major arpeggio starting on the root and moving to E, G and the C octave. This is followed by bar two which is a run of five notes descending in the scale of C major from the fifth note (G) to the root (C).

In bar 5 you’ll see a C major arpeggio starting on the major 3rd note (E) and rising to G, C and the E octave. Bars 6 and 7 feature a seven note descending C major scale starting on the second note (D) and going down to the lower E.

Interestingly, at the start of the final phrase (last line, bar 33) there’s a rising F major arpeggio.

If you listen to the recording below it may sound a little regimented. This is because it’s played exactly as the musical notation dictates. Feel free to alter the timing of the notes to adapt it to the timing you like, adding your own performance nuances.

Here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Continued below...

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: 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 two half notes (minims) per bar.

Here’s the printed music:

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas bass line score

(Download this as a PDF file)

And here’s what it sounds like:

Listen

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: Bass Line and Chords

Here’s a full-blown version of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas with right-hand chords. This version really brings out some of the wonderful harmonies in the piece.

Note that the bass line has been altered a little from the previous example.

There are quite a few chord changes particularly on the third line. Do make an effort to play them, practicing the transition between them, as it really is worth it.

Here’s the printed music:

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas chords music arrangement

(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.