One of the best ways to learn new chords is to learn the chord melody of a favorite song.

A chord melody is an arrangement of a song where the upper note is the melody and under that note is the supportive harmony, in other words, the chords of the song. Since we’re coming up on the Christmas season this lesson has a double purpose, to learn new chords and to have a Christmas classic under our belt to play for friends and family this year.

I remember a time when family would ask me to play for them and all I could do was play the chords to a pop tune or some rock lick, not very entertaining around the fireplace. When I started learning chord melodies not only was my playing more enjoyable to hear but I ended up learning many more chords that I use playing with a band.

What Child Is This Chord Melody Full Score (PDF)

This arrangement is meant to be played in a jazz waltz style but could also be played rubato or out of time if you wish. The first eight bars serve as an intro with the melody starting at the A section. The harmony of this arrangement is not the traditional harmony but has a jazz slant using lots of extended chords ( 9th,11th & 13th) as well as some altered chords (b5, #5, b9 and #9). Why some of those sounds were picked is a whole other issue! It’s best for you at that point to just to learn the arrangement, taking note of the voicings, both their fingering and sound… and just enjoy playing it.

Later you’ll learn how to use these sounds in other settings but for now… just spread the cheer. If you would like to hear this arrangement, click here.

Hope you benefit from this lesson as we start the holiday season.


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