The song of the week is 'Silent Night' in the key of C.
Silent Night is played in 3/4 (waltz) time: 3 beats per measure; guitar rhythm = boom-chuck-chuck, i.e., bass note, strum, strum.
The first recording is to help with finding the melody of the song on your instrument. I suggest attempting to work with this (i.e., finding the melody by ear, either with or without the additional help provided by being able to see where the notes are being played on the keyboard: left = lower in pitch; right = higher in pitch) before taking a look at any of the melody sheets.
The next two recordings are examples of the song being played on bluegrass instruments. The final recording features harmony vocals.
Silent Night in C How to Play Melody on Keyboard
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IF1_FcdeDqY (the melody, as played on piano, key of C)
Blue Mountain Boys - Silent Night/JingleBells
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDiJCb5vJZc (key of A)
Luke Lenhart Family and Friends -- "Silent Night"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7oUEpZHcaQ (key of G)
Reno & Smiley - key of Db (a half-step higher than C) - song starts at 5:13
The chord progression I use for Silent Night is:
In the key of C:
Banjo: to capo or not to capo
For banjo players, I recommend playing the song without a capo. This way all your melody notes can be found within the first five frets of the instrument. The highest note of the melody is the F note on the 3rd fret of the 1st string. The lowest melody note is the C note that results from tuning your 4th string down to a C. But, since this note occurs in the melody only once (at the very end of the form), and since it would make it inconvenient to get other parts of the melody if one were to tune the 4th string down to a C (C tuning), I recommend staying in G tuning and simply playing the last 2 notes of the melody (D note followed by a C note) an octave higher (i.e., open 1st string followed by 1st fret of 2nd string). The reason why I suggest playing the last 2 notes an octave higher, instead of just the very last note, is for no other reason than that it makes it less noticeable that one has jumped up an octave higher than where one would ordinarily expect the melody to be. If a banjo player were to capo on the 5th fret and play as if in G, then the highest melody note would be on the 15th fret of the 1st string! And there would be no melody notes on the 4th string. For banjo players who are unaccustomed to playing in the key of C without a capo, or are not quite sure what rolls, filler notes, or other Scruggs-style frills to put around the melody for playing a break for this song, I suggest just playing the melody as is for a break. (See the banjo tab melody sheet attached to this email.)
Guitar: to capo or not to capo
In contrast to what I recommend for banjo players, for guitar players who wish to work out a Carter-style break (i.e., strums added between some of the melody notes) for Silent Night, I suggest capoing to the 5th fret and playing as if in G. This way one can get all the melody notes on the 6th through 2nd strings - which tends to work better for most Carter-style breaks - instead of the 5th through 1st strings. But some may find it easier to play this type of break in the key of C without a capo, since all the melody notes can then be found within the first 3 frets instead of the first 4 frets. For this reason, in the attachments, I have included two guitar tabs of the melody, one in C and one in G.
In the mandolin tab of the melody attached here, the 3 lines written above certain (longer) melody notes indicate where one may wish to use tremolo as a way to embellish the melody.
Silent Night - banjo tab
Silent Night - mandolin tab
Silent Night - guitar tab 1
Silent Night - guitar tab 2
Silent Night - melody in C
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Jason's Beginner Jam Blog 2017 - 2018
Songs regularly called at the Beginner Bluegrass Jam and links from Jason's "Song of the Week" emails. (from Renee)
in alphabetical order