Silent Night Guitar Chords – Step by Step Tutorial on how to play the silent night song on the guitar. Easy guitar lesson for beginners, tabs included.
“Silent Night” enjoys an esteemed position among Christmas carols. There are 227 versions of the song in 142 different languages. In Austria, where the song was originally composed by Franz Gruber, it is considered a national treasure.
The English translation that we sing today first appeared in 1863, 45 years after the song’s initial performance in Austria. The English-language author was Episcopal priest John Freeman Young.
The first performance of the song in the US took place near New York City’s Trinity Church. The English version is normally sung in three verses.
What is the Message of the Song?
“Silent Night” starts off as a lullaby for the newborn Christ Child. It has a message of peace for the world.
It is a song about a bright and calm night and the miracle of a mild and tender newborn child. The words of the song were written by Joseph Mohr, some years after the Napoleonic wars.
Silent Night Guitar Chords
“Silent Night” is a three-chord Christmas carol, using the fifth, fourth, and first of any key you decide to play it in. It is a great song for a beginner to learn.
• It has the dreaded F-Chord that can be difficult for a beginner. However, there are a few alternatives you can try to make the song easier to play.
• If you have problems mastering the F-major chord, you should keep on practicing. With enough practice, you will be able to master it.
• You can play the song with a vocalist, either yourself or others singing. Alternatively, you can learn to play a solo guitar version.
• The song can be played on rubato or in time. Either will work well with the song.
• Have fun learning to play Silent Night guitar chords. Play it around the holidays with family and friends.
Learning How to Play “Silent Night” on the Guitar
“Silent Night” is set in a simple 3/4 time signature. You can play this song with the chords strummed or plucked. You should not play it too loud. The guitar should take a backseat to the vocals.
Most people sing this song in C major. For the solo guitarist, it is recommended to play it in the key of G.
If you want to play in solo fingerstyle, there are three essentials: bass, melody, and “accompaniment.” The melody of the song should ring out to let people know that you are playing the song.
The bass and accompaniment should enhance your presentation by adding texture and color. The bass line should be fairly static. The accompanying arpeggios should come straight from your chords.
Play with a Partial F-Chord
You don’t need to play six or five strings all the time. There is no rule for playing the guitar. Therefore, don’t feel obliged. Play what you can. You can decide to skip some of the strings if you are a beginner.
Until you can master the standard F-major form, try playing only the first three strings.
Play an Easier Form
If you are a beginner, the D-major chord is one of the easiest to play. With your fingers close together, you press on the thinnest strings. Therefore, you are unlikely to produce buzz from weak fingers or poor form.
After you master the D-major chord, you will easily learn the F-major chord.
Try Another Easier Form
Alternative #3 has one complication: moving your hand from the first position to the fifth fret position and then back again. If that is the case, try using alternate forms for the G, C, and F chords.
Substitute the D-Minor Chord
Another easier way of playing the F-major chord is substituting the D-minor chord. It is easy to substitute a minor. This will not only lead to a simpler chord form but will also give a fresh touch to a familiar tone.
It is easy to determine which minor chord to play; simply count down two whole notes and then play that minor chord. Counting down two whole notes from F you get D. Therefore, you will play D-minor.
The Story Behind this Christmas Carol
It was over 200 years ago when this song was first heard by Austrian villagers attending a Christmas Eve mass.
On the Christmas Eve of 1818, Pastor Joseph Franz Mohr visited his friend, Franz Xavier Gruber, with a poem in his hand. He hoped his friend, an organist and a choirmaster, could set his poem to music. That is how this song was born.
The original composition evolved and it was translated into over 140 languages. It has been performed in churches, town squares, and even on the battlefield.
The original manuscript was lost for decades and some people speculated that the song was originally written by Beethoven, Mozart, or Haydn. In 1994, the original manuscript by Gruber and Mohr was found and they were named as composers.
Today, the Joseph Mohr School and the Franz Graber Museum in Austria, honor the creators of this famous Christmas Carol. The Silent-Night Association is dedicated to the research and transmission of the origins and message of the song.
“Silent Night” is a classic Christmas song. It features a simple chord progression that is fun and easy to play around the holidays. The three essential guitar chords that you need to learn so that to play most Christmas carols are D-major, C-major, and G-major.
George A. Smith received a Masters Degree in Music Education from the University of Berkeley. George has been teaching music professionally for the past 8 years. George regularly contributes content to several music websites including LoadRecords.com.