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Piano Lesson: Learn To Play O Christmas Tree

Dec 13, 2007
In this lesson you will learn to play the melody to a popular Christmas song without the use of sheet music. You will also learn to play three easy chords together with the melody. Let us start!

O Christmas Tree is a Christmas carol of German origin. O Tannenbaum is its original name in German.

A Tannenbaum is German for a fir tree or Christmas tree. The melody to this Christmas song is an old folk tune and the best known lyrics comes from a Leipzig organist and teacher named Ernst Anschutz in 1824.

Here is the first verse in the English version:

O Christmas Tree O, Christmas Tree
Your branches green delight us!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
Your branches green delight us!
They're green when summer days are bright
They're green when winter snow is white
O, Christmas Tree, O, Christmas Tree
Your branches green delight us!

The first thing we will do is to locate the middle C on your keyboard. On an ordinary piano keyboard it is located in the middle of the keyboard sometimes near the keyhole if there is one.

On a common piano keyboard you will find that the notes C-B are repeated along the keys. One such row of notes are called an octave and since the middle C is located in the fourth octave on an piano it is sometimes called C4.

Even if your keyboard is smaller with less octaves middle C is still called C4.

We will now take a look at the melody to O Christmas Tree and the chords you can play with your left hand. We will begin with the melody together with the lyrics:

O (F)Christmas Tree O, Christmas Tree

C4 (F)F4 F4 F4 G4 G4 G4 G4

The (F) in the lyrics and melody indicate that you shall play an F-major chord with your left hand together with the note after the chord. How then do you play an F-major chord?

There are many ways to play an F chord but here is an easy example for your left hand:

F: C3 F3 A3

C3 means that you play a C in the octave to the left of the C4. Play the three notes in the chord together as you play the following right hand note.

Time for the next line:

Your (C7)branches green de(F)light us

A4 (C7)G4 A4 Bb4 E4 (C)G4 F4

The note Bb is the black key immediately to the left of B.

As you can see it is time for a new chord, C7. Here is a suggestion for that piano chord:

C7: C3 E3 Bb3

Now you have to repeat the previous lines before we proceed with the next part:

They're (F)green when summer (C7)days are bright

C5 (F)C5 A4 D5 C5 (C7)C5 Bb4 Bb4

C5 is the C in the octave to the right of C4.

Time for the next line:

They're (C7)green when winter (F)snow is white

Bb4 (C7)Bb4 G4 C5 Bb4 (F)Bb4 A4 A4

Now we only have to repeat the first two lines and we are done!

O (F)Christmas Tree O, Christmas Tree

C4 (F)F4 F4 F4 G4 G4 G4 G4

Your (C7)branches green de(F)light us

A4 (C7)G4 A4 Bb4 E4 (C)G4 F4

I suggest that you learn this little song by heart one line at a time. Practice every line first with your right hand melody until you master it. Then it is time to add your left hand chords. When you know a line by heart with melody and chords it is time to proceed with the next line.

Before you know it you have completed the song and can contribute to the Christmas spirit in a new setting!
About the Author
Peter Edvinsson is a music teacher, composer and musician. He invites you to download your free piano sheet music at http://www.capotastomusic.com
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