With Christmas just around the corner, you may find that as a pianist / keyboard player your talents will be called upon to accompany the singing of Christmas carols and Christmas songs.
This thought could fill you with dread, or it could excite you though you don’t really know where to start. In this mini series, I’ll take a look at some of the more popular carols, and show you ways of learning and playing them quickly and simply no matter what your proficiency (having said that, if you are already a virtuoso on the piano, you may be better off buying the sheet music and practising the full arrangements yourself)
Carols often seem complicated, and because they’re only called for during a short period of time in the year, they’re not always polished.
Many carols are really hymns, and if you’ve tried to play fully embellished versions of hymns you’ll know they often involve many chord changes and ‘special’ chords that add colour.
Though that’s very nice, often the song can be vastly simplified and still sound good – certainly good enough for a sing-song around the piano or taking out to the local hospital with an amateur choir. Often it’s enough to be able to pitch the tune or play a basic bass and accompaniment to keep singers in tune.
So, if carols fill you with trepidation but you’d really like to have a go, even if you only get to play one or two in a way that pleases you, stay tuned! You may be surprised how simple carols can really be!
- Angels From The Realms Of Glory
- As With Gladness Men of Old
- Away in a Manger
- Away in a Manger (alternative tune)
- Deck the Halls
- Ding Dong Merrily on High
- Good Christian Men Rejoice
- Good King Wenceslas
- Hark the Herald Angels Sing
- In The Bleak Mid-Winter
- I Saw Three Ships
- It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
- Joy to the World
- O Come All Ye Faithful
- O Little Town of Bethlehem
- O Little Town of Bethlehem (Second Attempt)
- Once In Royal David’s City
- See Amid The Winter’s Snow
- See Him Lying On A Bed Of Straw (Calypso Carol)
- Silent Night (A Major)
- Silent Night (C Major)
- The First Noel
- The Holly and the Ivy
- We Three Kings of Orient Are
- We Wish You A Merry Christmas
- While Shepherds Watched
3 thoughts on “Mastering Christmas Carols on the Piano and Keyboard: An Introduction”
uhhh….i dont play piano…but my bro. does…and uhhh….this helped him.
Thanks, these are helpful for the rusty former player. I have searched high and low for a simple transcription of All Through the Night. Your versions allow me to start slowly and build up! This is a terrific service. Thanks.
Glad you enjoyed them Toni. I have several more that I’m planning to add, so hopefully next year there’ll be a lot more to choose from.