O Christmas Tree: A Fun & Playful Piano Arrangement
Here is a transcript of the video if you would like to follow along:
Good morning and Merry Christmas. This is Duane and I’d like to talk today about O Christmas Tree, arranging O Christmas Tree: A Fun & Playful Piano Arrangement in a little more interesting way than it would appear in sheet music.
For one thing, you can play O Christmas Tree with just two chords. Did you know that? No matter what key you play it in, it’s just the one chord and the five chord. Watch. Let’s do it in the key of C based on the scale of C just to keep it simple. That’s the C chord, G chord, C, G, C, G, C, G, C, G. You see just the one and the five chord. Let’s do it in the key of F. The key of F is based on the scale of F so the one chord is the F chord and one, two, three, four, five, the five chord would be the C chord. Let’s see if we could do in just two chords there. One, five, one, five, one, one. If we did it in the key of G. Five, one, five, one. Okay?
Now, I’d like to add a few more chords. Not many, maybe just two other chords. What I’d like to do, in the place of the five chord, I’d like to substitute the one, six, two, five chord progression. The one, six, two, five chord progression is the one you probably know, like this. Okay? It’s the one chord and then the six chord in some form. We’re not going to use it in its minor form. Then the two chord. Then the five chord. Watch as I play O Christmas Tree and just use those chords.
I just used four chords. Now I’m going to use another chord and end on C chord. Okay now, let me show you the voicing first of all. Instead of just holding the chords, I’m using a chording style. One, two, three … and so on B1, I hit a low C, and then I voice the C chord. Instead of the C chord like that, I put it in an open voicing in a stacked fourth formation, starting on the third, then hitting the sixth and then the ninth. Okay? I’m starting on low C. See that? Just a little Charlie Brown favorite, a little more contemporary.
For the G chord, G7th, I simply move up my left hand. It’s like my hand is frozen from that chord, that C chord, I just move up one, one white, and I move my bottom note up one, my note, my next one up one, my top one up one. See that? C to G7. That’ll function as G7. What that is is a seventh, third, and sixth of the G7th chord. It has that open kind of jazzy sound. Okay? Listen.
Now we’re going to go to the sixth chord. This is the sixth chord. It’s, I told you the sixth chord was A minor. In this form we’re going to just start on the seventh and then use a flat ninth, third, and then either the fifth or the raised fifth. Either one is okay. That goes to the two chord, which is D minor. Low D and then G7th, back to C. Okay? So C, G, C, B, D minor, G7th, C, G. That’s C chord. Now bottom of the G chord, nothing fancy.
If you want a little variety you can move up a half step there. Then on the end I went to F7th, and I voiced that with a low half and the seventh, the ninth, third, and sixth. My right hand, I’m playing B and D, and then end with a C. Then I could do a little run, based on that chord, that open voicing chord, I’m going to play D, G, C, and then take it up the keyboard like that, okay?
Now, also on my way from C to A7th, I could do a half step slide. I could go down to B-flat. Watch. See C, now B-flat seventh, now that eighth chord that we talked about, G-minor, G7th, C, B-flat, A7th. You’ll notice on my right hand I’m doing a little sliding as I go from G up to C, I go … Just make it a little playful. In other words, just playful, not so literal, but just playing around. Now you could do this. See, I’m playing in thirds.
There at the end, if you want to, you could just take … What I’m doing is I’m taking G up to C and just sliding up like that. My left hand is going from G down to C, except I’m doing it on the highest G and the lowest G, like that. Earl Gardner used to end his songs often with something like that. Kind of wraps it up. It’s like putting a punctuation mark on the end.
That’s just a couple ideas for arranging O Christmas Tree. Have fun with it. I hope you enjoy it. We’ll see you next time. Bye-bye for now.
Here is the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJcYCOWBIaw
For a complete course on playing Spectacularly Beautiful Christmas Carols on your piano for your family and friends this Christmas, click here to read all about it: http://www.playpiano.com/musical-courses/christmas-carols.htm