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Christmas Sheet Music: Learn To Play Silent Night With Guitar Tablature

Aug 18, 2007
You can learn to play the popular Christmas song Silent Night on your guitar even if you don't master sheet music. You will use guitar tablature that will show you where to put your fingers!

What is guitar tablature!

It is a way of showing you how to play a melody on your guitar without using sheet music notation. Instead you will use digits indicating the strings to play and frets to use. Ordinary guitar tab notation uses a staff with six lines representing the six strings.

In this guitar lesson you will only use digits. I have found that staff notation can be distorted on article sites so the following notation is safer. You will find ordinary guitar tablature notation on my site capotastomusic.

As mentioned the Christmas carol Silent Night is a popular song and you will find Christmas sheet music for this song and other carols all over the internet. It's harder to find easy guitar tab notation for these type of songs. We will first take a look at the modern English lyrics of the first verse.

Silent night, Holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild

You will now learn the melody on your guitar one line at a time with the help of guitar tablature. Let's start:

Silent night, Holy night

0/3 2/3 0/3 2/4 0/3 2/3 0/3 2/4

0/3 means that you play the third string without pressing down a fret. 2/3 tells you to press down the second fret on the third string. In other words, the digit before the slash indicates the fret to press down and the one to the right of the slash tells you which string to play.

Let's continue with your guitar tablature melody:

All is calm, all is bright

3/2 3/2 0/2 1/2 1/2 0/3

Which left hand fingers should you use?

Of course you can use your index finger playing all notes. However, I recommend that you play the melody in a way that will prepare your fingers for more difficult pieces of music in the near future.

This fingering means that you play all notes on the first fret with your index finger, the notes on the second fret with your middle finger and the notes on the third fret with your ring finger.

The advantage is that you can keep your hand in the same position as you play, it will be easier to find your way around and when you have been used to this fingering you will also be able to play melodies faster if that is required.

The drawback is that it initially feels awkward to play this way. Often your ring finger might have a hard time obeying your commands. My advice is to hang in there and your fingers will get used to their new tasks on the guitar fretboard.

Here's the next guitar tablature notes:

Round yon virgin Mother and Child

2/3 2/3 1/2 0/2 2/3 0/3 2/3 0/3 2/4

The next line of lyrics will have an identical row of guitar tablature notes:

Holy infant so tender and mild

2/3 2/3 1/2 0/2 2/3 0/3 2/3 0/3 2/4

By the way, you can use your right hand thumb to pick the notes! Here's the next line:

Sleep in heavenly peace

3/2 3/2 1/1 3/2 0/2 1/2 0/1

And here's the final guitar tablature:

Sleep in heavenly peace

1/2 0/3 2/4 0/3 3/4 0/4 3/5

I recommend that you learn this melody by heart one line at a time. The tab notation is only a means to help you find the notes. Learning melodies by heart will give you a growing repertoire with songs to play when you see a guitar hanging around.
About the Author
Peter Edvinsson invites you to download your Christmas sheet music, guitar tablature, ebooks, music lessons and read his sheet music blog at Capotasto Music.
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