See Him Lying On A Bed Of Straw (Calypso Carol): Mastering Christmas Carols on the Piano and Keyboard


See the complete series of Mastering Christmas Carols.

See Him Lying On A Bed of Straw (Calypso Carol): An Introduction

See Him Lying On A Bed of Straw (Calypso Carol) is written and played here in the key of C Major, and has a 4/4 time signature.

See Him Lying On A Bed of Straw (Calypso Carol): Main Melody

Each verse is split into two distinct melodic phrases which are very similar to one another. Bars 5-8 reflect very closely bars 1-4. Then when you look at bars 9 and 13, although the melody is different, the rhythmic pattern and general shape is the same.

Here’s the complete melody written out:

See Him Lying On A Bed of Straw (Calypso Carol) melody page 1

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And here’s what it sounds like:

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See Him Lying On A Bed of Straw (Calypso Carol): Single Note Bass Line

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

Each note is a whole note, taking a single bar each. All the notes are either C, F or G.

See Him Lying On A Bed of Straw (Calypso Carol) bass line page 1

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And here’s what it sounds like:

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See Him Lying On A Bed of Straw (Calypso Carol): Single Note Bass Line Extra

Below is a slightly enhanced bass line for the carol using just one note at a time. This gives a ‘walking bass’ feel to the carol. All notes are quarter notes (crotchets). The verses tend to ‘walk’ in arpeggio-style while the chorus ususally features two identical notes follwed by two lower identical notes, with the exception of bar 14.

The bass line broken chords in the verse are effectively – 1/5: C major 2/6: F major 3/7: G major.

See Him Lying On A Bed of Straw (Calypso Carol) moving bass line page 1

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And here’s what it sounds like:

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See Him Lying On A Bed of Straw (Calypso Carol): Adding Harmony And Fullness With Chords

In the final version of See Him Lying On A Bed of Straw (Calypso Carol), I’ve added primarily three-note chords to the right hand. The bass line is generally the same as that of the enhanced bass line shown above, with a couple of changes to aid with the additional harmonies.

Initally this may look much more complicated, and indeed, with the carol itself being quite fast in tempo, it will need some dexterity to play the chords correctly and in time. However, many of the chords only vary by one note from the previous one, or maintain very similar shapes, with few large jumps.

Pay close attention to the new harmonies added in bars 12 and 13. This is achieved with bar 12’s third chord being a B augmented, and bar 13’s third chord being an A major in first inversion.

See Him Lying On A Bed of Straw (Calypso Carol) 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.