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#389074 - 12/22/02 02:28 AM The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
Everyone knows the Christmas song, right? Chestnuts roasting on an etc. But, unless you REALLY know the chords, it can be the Nightmare Before Christmas. The melody and harmony are fluid and coherent, yet analyzing it can be a serious challenge to the most professional of musicians.

So here's the deal: post the chords in either numbers or letters. See if you can break it down to the simplest of chords...or harmonize it like Thelonious Monk. Let's see how many useful (or interesting) versions we can get of it. Beware, the most popular versions vary greatly.

Merry Christmas, or if that's not politically correct, have a nice December.

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#389075 - 12/23/02 10:42 PM Re: The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge  
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Posts: 2,096
TrumanCoyote Offline
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TrumanCoyote  Offline
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I have never had the sheet music, nor have I ever sat sown with a recording to try to figure the chords out, but these are the chords I use. It sounds nice on acoustic guitar.

Amaj7 Bm7 C#m7 Dmaj7
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

Amaj7 Em7 A7 Dmaj7 Bdim
Jack Frost nipping at your nose

F#m7 Bm7 C#m7 G#7
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir

C# G#7 C# (Bm7 E7)
And folks dressed up like eskimos

(Bridge)
(A7) Em7 A7 Dmaj7
They know that Santa's on his way

Em7 A7
He's loaded lots of toys and goodies on his

Dmaj7
sleigh

Dm7 G7 Cmaj7
And evry mothers's son is gonna try

B7 Bm7-E7
To see if reindeer really know how to fly

Etc.

PS...well, I tried to place the chords over the appropriate lyric syllable, but it did not work at all. I hope you can cypher the placements of the chords.

Merry Christmas.

[This message has been edited by TrumanCoyote (edited 12-23-2002).]

[This message has been edited by TrumanCoyote (edited 12-23-2002).]

#389076 - 12/24/02 12:08 AM Re: The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 13,618
Graham Henderson (D) Offline
Graham Henderson (D)  Offline

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Esperance. West Australia
Try the litle trick in my Christmas present post just below. it works.
Regards,
Graham

------------------
http://www.songramp.com/homepage.ez?Who=grahamhenderson

#389077 - 12/19/03 10:17 PM Re: The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
I had to write a chart of this for a gig. I've got it worked out simply in numbers.

Anyone want to take a crack at it in numbers before I just go ahead and post it?

Merry Christmas,
Mike

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#389078 - 12/20/03 12:52 PM Re: The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


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Joined: Apr 2001
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Nashville Tennessee
Well, we're getting close to "ho ho" time, so here are the changes in numbers.

1...2m...1maj7...2m.5.
1...5m.1.4...4...
6m...4m...1...7...
3...2m.b7.b3...2m.5.

1...2m...1maj7...2m.5.
1...5.1.4...b7....
6m...4m...1...7...
1.6m.2m.5.1.4.1...

5m...1...5m...1.....
5m...1...4maj7...4maj7...
4m...b7...b3maj7...b3maj7...
2...2...5...57+...

1...2m...1maj7...2m.5.
1...5m.1.4...b7....
6m...4m...1...2...
1...5...1.4.1...

I broke these down to the very basics. You can put sevenths, ninths, flat fives and so on, as you see fit. Using these chords just as they are, you get a perfectly good harmonization, based on the original Mel Torme version.

Merry Christmas,
Mike

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#389079 - 12/20/03 01:42 PM Re: The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 13,618
Graham Henderson (D) Offline
Graham Henderson (D)  Offline

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Esperance. West Australia
I always get confused on this Mike.
Does 1Maj7 mean it is a normal maj7 or does it mean you use the 7 as it is in the key scale without flattening it in as a normal 7th?
Graham

------------------
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/2/grahamhendersonmusic.htm

#389080 - 12/20/03 02:01 PM Re: The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
I'll use G.

If it's a G7, it's G B D F.

If it's a Gmaj7, it's G B D F#.

All the Best,
Mike

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#389081 - 12/20/03 05:39 PM Re: The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge  
Joined: Apr 2001
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
Now we want to play it in Eb. First, what's the key of Eb?

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#389082 - 12/20/03 09:00 PM Re: The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 13,618
Graham Henderson (D) Offline
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Thanks Mike. That's how I though but still not too hot on numbers.
EbMaj7 would be Eb g Bb d.
Graham

------------------
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/2/grahamhendersonmusic.htm

#389083 - 12/21/03 01:41 AM Re: The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
Yep,

Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb is 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1

So, trade the numbers for letters, and you've got the song in Eb.

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#389084 - 12/21/03 03:11 AM Re: The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 33
Don Bellew Offline
Casual Observer
Don Bellew  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 33
Ellicott City, Maryland USA
Hi Mike,
I played "The Christmas Song" tonight,(I do an acoustic solo thing), using your chart. What a beautiful song. Got a great response from the crowd.
Thanks,

Don Bellew

#389085 - 12/21/03 09:44 AM Re: The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge  
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 539
TheCiscoKid Offline
Serious Contributor
TheCiscoKid  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 539
central Illinois
Don..you move quickly!
I've always wanted to learn this song, so I'm most greatful for the thread and reminder.
Just curious Don... were you chording and singing, or did you play it as a chord-solo instrumental?
I'm trying to develop the latter here, and I can promise you my left hand is in absolute agony from these new chordings and experiments. But, it's a great challenge which may or may not be accomplished by Christmas.

Here's another numerical sample I found online, pretty much in line with Mike's...


1-6.....2m7.....5-7....1maj7
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

1-6....5m7.....1-7......4
Jack Frost nippin' at your nose

6m......4m6........1...........7-7
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir

3........2m7.....7b7......3b
And folks dressed up like eskimos

2m7....57....1....2m7.......1maj7...2m7...5-7
Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe

1.....2m7.....1-7....4.....7b7
Helps to make the season bright

6m....4m6...........1............7-7
Tiny tots with their heads all a-glow

3m7........6-7......2m7...5-7....1
Will find it hard to sleep ton--night

....5m7.......1-7.........5m7
They know that Santa's on his way

1-7.......5m7.........1-7.........4-7
He's loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh
4m7..............7b7.........3bmaj7
And every mother's child is gonna spy

6m7...............2-7..........5-7
To see if reindeer really know how to fly

1-7...7-7....7b7......6-7....5-7
And so I'm offering this simple phrase

1.......5m7....1-7....4...7b7
To kids from one to ninty-two

6m7...........7b7......1maj7.......2-7
Although it's been said many times, many ways

3m7....6m7..2m7......5-7...1maj7
Merry Christmas.... to you

-gary



[This message has been edited by TheCiscoKid (edited 12-21-2003).]

#389086 - 12/21/03 09:59 AM Re: The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge  
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TrumanCoyote Offline
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TrumanCoyote  Offline
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Okay...I'll try it using numbers. My method is this: each chord symbol is two beats. Chords in parentheses (splits) get one beat each. Chords in ((double)) parentheses are eighth notes.


The Christmas Song

1maj7 2m7 3m7 4maj7 ((3m7 2m7))

1maj7 (5m 1) 4maj7 4m7

6m7 2m7 3m7 7 3 7 3 (2m 5)

Second verse
1maj7 2m7 3m7 4maj7 ((3m7 2m7))

1maj7 (5m 1) 4maj7 4m7

6m7 2m7 3m7 7 (3m7 6) (2m7 5) 1maj7 17

Bridge
5m7 1 4maj9 4maj9
5m7 1 4maj9 4maj9
4m7 b7 b3maj7 b3maj7
2 2 2m7 5

and so on....

It really is a beautiful song, and I have yet to hear a version I like better than Nat Cole's.

[This message has been edited by TrumanCoyote (edited 12-24-2003).]

#389087 - 12/21/03 11:26 AM Re: The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 33
Don Bellew Offline
Casual Observer
Don Bellew  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 33
Ellicott City, Maryland USA
Hi Cisco,
I sing and play. It's one of those songs you've heard a million times...so, I knew all the words...Just needed Mike's chords..haha. Good luck with your solo chording...More than I want to bite off.

Don

#389088 - 12/21/03 11:29 AM Re: The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
Amen to that, Graham. Nat Cole's was the definitive version. Everything he sang was a masterpiece. It was Johnny Mercer who convinced Nat, a jazz pianist, to become a vocalist.

All the Best,
Mike

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#389089 - 12/21/03 05:25 PM Re: The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 13,618
Graham Henderson (D) Offline
Graham Henderson (D)  Offline

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Joined: May 2001
Posts: 13,618
Esperance. West Australia
Oh yeah Cisco. YThe old dots tix the chords trick. Now I can copy that and usi it to make muself a backing trak to this .
And yep I love the Nat take on it.
Not a lot of Nat I don't like.
Bout the olny bit I don't like actually is he died before I wrote some of my stuff I am sure he would habve done so good.
His singing eventually overshadowed his piano actualy, but he wasindeed a very good piano man, who happened to have a way cool voice, and a magic feel for aplying it to words.
Graham

------------------
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/2/grahamhendersonmusic.htm

#389090 - 12/24/03 10:35 AM Re: The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge  
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TheCiscoKid Offline
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central Illinois
Well gentlemen,
The dark echoes of laughter from Chi-town and Nash-burg are just now reaching me after stating I was attempting a chord-solo to this song! LOL .... Ack!
If there was ever a case made to support the need to know music theory, this is the one.
But, every effort gains you something. I've discovered a few neat things during this excercise in futility which can and will be used. I think that's how many of us stumble onto songs of our own.
The wonderful thing about it all is in how it encourages more playing and more learning..more creativity and more passion.
I believe that's why we are here.
Merry Christmas ya'll!
-gary

#389091 - 01/06/04 05:33 PM Re: The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge  
Joined: Jan 2003
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TravellingDog Offline
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TravellingDog  Offline
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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
There is a great song by one of my fellow Canucks, Wendell Ferguson, who is a great picker (though he modestly denies it, even after 6 consecutive years as Guitarist of the Year). It's called, "Why Does Every Christmas Song Have So Many Chords?", and the song is educational, apart from being funny (if somewhat irreverent).

Stay tuned ... if he releases it, I'll tell you where and when.

Regards
Bruce

#389092 - 12/22/04 07:21 PM Re: The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge  
Joined: Mar 2002
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TrumanCoyote Offline
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bump

#389093 - 12/22/04 10:05 PM Re: The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge  
Joined: Dec 2003
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Jean Larson Offline
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Jean Larson  Offline
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St. Louis, MO
I love this song. I play it LOTS, with as many intricate, jazzy rhythms and embellishments as I can. Beautiful song!

I always play it in F, starting with a nice C chord arpeggio as an intro, with A Bb Db E, C, all spread out and running up to a high A. I think that chord is a C with a flat 2 & and flat 9...??

I definitely cannot do numbers, and I'm not that great at naming more complicated chords...but I love the way the chords in this song sound, and it's really fun messing around with that familiar melody. It's a really pretty melody to begin with, but totally lends itself to twisting and pulling and wiggling it around. Okay, that sounded weird, but I just mean really messing with it. It's fun. What a great song! --Jean

[This message has been edited by JL (edited 12-22-2004).]

#389094 - 12/22/04 10:53 PM Re: The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge  
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Jean Larson Offline
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Jean Larson  Offline
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Posts: 823
St. Louis, MO
This might be the same chords already posted above. I can't think in numbers like you guitar players can, and I'm too lazy to transpose your chords above to F....so I apologize if this is redundant, but here's what I use, minus the incidentals that "jazz up" the chords:

(Since I can't line up the words with the chords above them, I put the chord first, followed by the word or phrase that should be under it.)

F (Chestnuts) C7 (roasting on an) Am7 (open) Gm7 (fire) Fmaj7

F (Jack Frost) Em7 (nipping) A7 (at your) Dm (nose) Dm/C Bm7 Bbm6

Fmaj7 (Yuletide) C7 (carols) Bbm6 (being) Am (sung by a) Bm7 (choir) E7/B (and)

A (folks dressed) Bbm (up like Eski-) Ab (mos) Gm7 (Every-) Db9 (bo-) C7 (dy)

F (knows a) Bb (turkey and some) Am7 (mistle-) Gm7 (toe) Fmaj7

F (Help to) Em7 (make the) A7 (season) Dm (bright) Dm/C Bm7 Bbm6

Fmaj7 (Tiny) C7/G (tots) Bbm6 (with their) Am (eyes all a-) Bm7 (glow) E7/B (will)

Am7 (Find it) D7 (hard to) Gm7 (sleep) Db7 C7 (to-) F (night. They know that)

Cm7 (San-) F7 (ta's on his) Bbmaj9 (way) G7 (he's loaded)

Cm7 (Lots of toys and) F (goodies) F7 (on his) Bbmaj9 (sleigh, and every)

Bbm7 (Mother's child) Eb7 (is gonna) Ab6/9 (spy, to see if)

G7 (Reindeer really know how to) C7 (fly, and)

F (So I'm) Bb (offering this) Am (simple) Gm (phrase) F C (to)

F (Kids from) Em7 (one to) A7 (ninety-) Dm (two) Dm/C G7/B Bbm (al-)

F (though it's been) C7/G (said) Bbm6 (many)

Am (times, many) Bm7 (ways) E7 (Merry)

Am7 (Christ-) D7 (mas) Gm7 C7 (Merry)

Am7 (Christ-) Eb7 (mas) D7 (Merry)

Gm9 (Christmas) Bb/C C7 (to)

Bm7 (You) Bbmaj7 Am7 Abdim7 Gm7 Gm7/C

F something (slow arpeggio with F G A B C D E, spread out with a D on the very top)

[This message has been edited by JL (edited 12-22-2004).]

#1010628 - 06/02/13 08:52 PM Re: The Christmas Song: a great adventure in chords, and a challenge [Re: Jean Larson]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,264
Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline


Top 10 Poster

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,264
Indianapolis, IN USA
Another great older post!


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