Traditional Christmas Carols

— Chords and lyrics —

About these guitar chord arrangements

The arrangements on this page are intended primarily for guitar. They are also appropriate for other "strummable" stringed instruments like ukulele. Many of these arrangements are significantly simpler than the average piano chordal arrangement, primarily because the chords have been reduced—nevertheless they sound balanced and complete, even when played on piano. (Chord reduction is explained below.)

Transposing the chords to any key

As you'll see, with a simple copy and paste, you can easily change the key of any of these carols with Key Switch.

If you like learning music by ear, check out Transcribe! It's an extremely useful tool that let's you slow down music, so you can play along at a reasonable tempo, or so learn it by ear.

Piano arrangements

Complex piano arrangements are truly lovely, but they don't necessarily translate into good guitar material. Often it's not possible to create a smooth guitar performance out of a chord-abundant piano arrangement. Even advanced guitarists struggle when trying to handle a piano arrangement that changes chords every beat (well, this may not be a stumbling point for jazz style arrangements, but it's usually problematic if you're in pursuit of folk-style sound.)

Chord reduction

Chord reduction is an important principle when arranging music for guitar. Sometimes it's a requirement, particularly when the goal is to create a simple, ringing, folk-style strumming accompaniment. This is definitely a concern with certain carols that have been arranged over decades for nimble keyboard chording. When creating a reduced arrangement, one identifies and retains the essential chords, and eliminate those of lesser importance, without robbing the song of its characteristic harmonic content. You needn't be an expert in music theory to accomplish that. Just try less chords and trust your ear.

This collection of arrangements should sound fine on piano, despite the intended chord reductions. Certain carols are practically un-guitarable, but your persistence and creativity will usually prevail.

How to transpose these arrangements to fit your voice or your instrument

You can transpose any of these carols with Key Switch, and you can even transpose chords to the universal parlance of Roman Chord numbering.

"O Holy Night" and "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" are sample songs available within Key Switch. To transpose them just run Key Switch, choose the song you want from the Sample Song menu, then click a key button in the key picker. Simple as that!

Here are steps for transposing a song found online (like the carols on this page):

Once you're back in Key Switch's main window, you're free to transpose the song to any key with a single click. Copy the song if you want to paste it to a word processing document and save to your computer. Read more about using Key Switch.

Saving your transposition while retaining the proper chord/lyric alignment

You can save transpositions that you've created with Key Switch. Just copy the transposed song from Key Switch, paste it into a document on your computer, and save. And make sure the song is still set in a monospaced font.

The importance of monospaced fonts in song sheets

The carols here are displayed with the Courier font, a monospaced font. This is to ensure that the chords and lyrics align properly. If you apply a variable-spaced font (most fonts are variable-spaced) the chord/lyric alignment will be compromised. So it's important to check your song when ever you've copied it from Key Switch and pasted into a document and make sure it's in a monospaced font. Read more about using monospaced fonts with Key Switch.

It's possible, after copying and pasting from Key Switch, that your song may display in a variable-spaced font; sometimes this switch can occur "automatically", and you may notice that the chord/lyric alignment is off. The solution is simple. Select the song and choose a monospaced font, like Courier or Monaco—any monospaced font will do. (Always to use a monospaced font with the arrangements on this page... or be prepared to manually re-space the chords whenever you choose a new variable spaced font.)

There are some an exceptions to this general rule. For instance, if you created a song sheet using a variable-spaced font, like Verdana , then after using KeySwitch, and after copying and pasting the song to a document, make sure the font is set to Verdana. With any other font you're likely to find chord/lyric alignment issues.

 

 

Transpose Christmas carols to any key

Transpose any of the Christmas carols on this page to any key with Key Switch. Or take a carol you have on hand, copy/paste it into Key Switch, and tranpose. And Key Switch includes a couple of Christmas Carols in its Sample Songs menu, so it's super easy to take it for a spin, online, for free.

Key Switch works with text-based song sheets. It allows you to transpose the chords of any song to any key ... or to Roman numbering.

Here are instructions that explain how to try out Key Switch's sample songs. It's the easiest way to get familiar with Key Switch. And ...

   Key Switch is free to use, only here at TheoreticallyCorrect.com

 

Public domain Christmas carols

 

Please contact us if you have any comments or suggestions
about the chords in this collection of Christmas carols, or if you have any trouble transposing with Key Switch.

 

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If you like learning music by ear, check out Transcribe!

 

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