Friday’s Freebies #5

We still have four weeks until Christmas with enough time to learn a song.  Learning a Christmas song to share with your family would be a wonderful gift.


A Christmas song for beginning guitar students:

What Child Is This?

What Child Is This? is a Christmas carol whose lyrics were written by William Chatterton Dix, in 1865. At the time of composing the carol, Dix worked as an insurance company manager and had been struck by a severe illness. While recovering, he underwent a spiritual renewal that led him to write several hymns, including lyrics to this carol that was subsequently set to the tune of Greensleeves, a traditional English folk song. Although it was written in Great Britain, the carol is more popular in the United States than in its country of origin today.

What Child Is This? slow tempo
What Child Is This? normal tempo


A Christmas song for intermediate guitar students:

Silent Night

There’s a wonderful story about the carol Silent Night. Supposedly, the song was first performed on Christmas Eve in 1818, just a few hours after it had been written. The Austrian priest, Joseph Mohr, was in desperate need of music for the midnight mass because his church’s organ was broken. So, he penned these lyrics and brought them to the organist Franz Gruber, who composed a simple melody for a guitar accompaniment. But as nice is this tale sounds, it is not entirely true.

Joseph Mohr actually wrote the lyrics to “Silent Night” several years before, in 1816. Regardless of its origin, the carol has proved to be immensely popular. It was first translated into English by hymnodist Emily Elliot in 1858, and again by John Freeman Young in 1859. Since that first performance, the lyrics have been translated into over 100 languages, and merrily sung by carolers all over the world.


Spanish Tuning

What does Robert Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Leo Kottke, Michael Hedges, The Black Crowes, The Moody Blues,  and most of the acoustic blues players from the Mississippi delta have in common? Spanish tuning! Spanish tuning is usually, but not limited to, open A or open G. If you are familiar with the A chord then you will know the sound. Basically. you tune the guitar to sound like an A chord played open. Therefore, the open notes are EAEAC#E low to high. Open G is the same intervals a whole tone lower. Therefore, the notes are DGDGBD low to high. I prefer G because there is less string tension. The advantage of open tuning is the open strings are used extensively to our advantage and barre chords are much easier. In this lesson we have Silent Night using Spanish tuning in the key of G. I hope you enjoy!




A Christmas song for Puerto Rican cuatro students:

Feliz Navidad

Feliz Navidad is a Christmas song written in 1970 by the Puerto Rican singer and songwriter Jose Feliciano. With its simple Spanish chorus (the traditional Christmas/New Year greeting, “Feliz Navidad, próspero año y felicidad” meaning “Merry Christmas, a prosperous year and happiness”) and equally simple English verse “I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart”, it has become a classic Christmas pop song.



Friday’s Freebies:

and instantly receive links to tabs, exercises, scales, chords, and sources that I use when teaching my students. FREE!



Friday’s Freebies
Friday’s Freebies