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#986991 - 11/22/04 03:49 PM Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 538
I'm looking for piano pieces of traditional Christmas songs such as The Little Drummer Boy, etc., for beginner-intermediate levels. I went to the local music store and was very confused by their 50+ selections. I wonder if anyone could give me an idea of which books have been the favorites. Yes, I know there are many different styles of arrangements, and of course personal preferences vary a lot, but I would like to have a few titles to start with... And what is a good website to download sheet music? Again I serached the web but got pretty confused...

Thank you.

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#986992 - 11/22/04 03:57 PM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Childofparadise, I have the same problem! Either everything is way too hard or too easy, or the arrangement just doesn't sound right.

My current favorite is "Christmastime Is Here" for easy piano. It's the Charlie Brown Christmas song. I think my version is this one, but the cover illustration is different:

Christmastime Is Here

If you're interested, post back and I'll double check that this is the right one.
_________________________
Vote For Cindy!!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post...QvjrL_blog.html

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#986993 - 11/22/04 07:04 PM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
I have the same problem. One book will have a great arrangement of one song, but a very simple one of another. I think they do that so people who only play very simple versions will buy their book. :-/

I currently have four books:

The first was a used copy of The Reader\'s Digest Merry Christmas Songbook . It has 115 songs along with lyrics and the story behind the song. If I had to only have one book, I think this one would be it. The arrangements are challenging, but they're not too bad, and they can easily be simplified by dropping the harmony notes that are usually indicated by different stems. The current edition is HERE .

Unfortunately, that book didn't have "Do you Hear What I Hear" or "Christmas Time is Here", two of my favorites. So I bought The Definitive Christmas Collection which has great arrangements of both those songs, plus 122 others.

I had to REALLY dig around for a great arrangement of "I Wonder as I Wander". I found it in Deck the Halls . A fantastic arrangement in Bb-minor so I get to learn a new scale at the same time. ;\)

If you're an advanced pianist who wants a challenge around the holidays, I would recommend Carol\'s Carols: Ten Christmas Medleys for Solo Piano . I bought it for next year, when I should be ready for that level.

Pick out the songs that you want to learn to play first, then browse your local music store and find the book(s) that have them with the best arrangement for you.

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#986994 - 11/23/04 10:33 AM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 538
 Quote:
Originally posted by Cindysphinx:
Childofparadise, I have the same problem! Either everything is way too hard or too easy, or the arrangement just doesn't sound right.

My current favorite is "Christmastime Is Here" for easy piano. It's the Charlie Brown Christmas song. I think my version is this one, but the cover illustration is different:

Christmastime Is Here

If you're interested, post back and I'll double check that this is the right one. [/b]
Dear cindysphinx,
Thank you! I've actually seen this one in my local store. I will check it out again in my next visit...

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#986995 - 11/23/04 10:35 AM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 538
 Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Muir:
I have the same problem. One book will have a great arrangement of one song, but a very simple one of another. I think they do that so people who only play very simple versions will buy their book. :-/

I currently have four books:

The first was a used copy of The Reader\'s Digest Merry Christmas Songbook . It has 115 songs along with lyrics and the story behind the song. If I had to only have one book, I think this one would be it. The arrangements are challenging, but they're not too bad, and they can easily be simplified by dropping the harmony notes that are usually indicated by different stems. The current edition is HERE .

Unfortunately, that book didn't have "Do you Hear What I Hear" or "Christmas Time is Here", two of my favorites. So I bought The Definitive Christmas Collection which has great arrangements of both those songs, plus 122 others.

I had to REALLY dig around for a great arrangement of "I Wonder as I Wander". I found it in Deck the Halls . A fantastic arrangement in Bb-minor so I get to learn a new scale at the same time. ;\)

If you're an advanced pianist who wants a challenge around the holidays, I would recommend Carol\'s Carols: Ten Christmas Medleys for Solo Piano . I bought it for next year, when I should be ready for that level.

Pick out the songs that you want to learn to play first, then browse your local music store and find the book(s) that have them with the best arrangement for you. [/b]
Dear Bob,

Thank you for your reply. Oh well, this seems to be a somewhat general problem then. Thanks for both your advice and your list of titles. I'm sure I'll end up buying several...

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#986996 - 11/23/04 12:45 PM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Ugh.

The book I was referring to has a blue cover and is called "Charlie Brown" songs or some such.
_________________________
Vote For Cindy!!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post...QvjrL_blog.html

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#986997 - 11/26/04 10:24 AM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
MikeMcf31 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/02
Posts: 194
Loc: Northern NJ
I have the Readers Digest Christmas book also. I just dusted it off last night, most of the arrangements are much more intersting than your typical Christmas songbook (last night I ran through The Christmas Song, I'll Be Home for Christmas and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - they all sounded OK as written, without embellishing). Was very dissappointed in their version of "Sleigh Ride" though, I got finished with it and realized they omitted the whole middle section ("There's a birthday party at the home of Farmer Gray....") But all in all, it is a great book that encompasses the fun, the traditional, the religious and some I'd never even heard of.

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#986998 - 11/26/04 04:41 PM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
ilikemozart Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 372
Loc: California USA
Can you explain on p. 34 (Here we come a-caroling) in the Reader's Digest Merry Christmas songbook, in the first measure, which notes you would drop? In the base would you play the chord D & A, but in the right hand, would you just plac the F key?

Thanks!

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#986999 - 11/26/04 04:59 PM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
You can drop the tiny notes at the bottom, they're meant for organs with foot pedals and for people with a third hand. ;\) Although, I had good success with playing the bottom notes on Silent Night. I only had to drop one of them.

You can also drop the notes in the middle with the downward pointing flags. They're the harmony notes. Of course if the harmony and melody note is the same (i.e. "mong" in (a-mong the leaves so green"). If you or someone else is going to sing, then all you have to play is the harmony and bass chords.

Ideally, if you're going to play it as an instrumental, you want to play all three voices, bass, harmony, and melody. But if you're just starting out and you want to be able to play the song right away, then just play the bass and the one note at a time melody.

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#987000 - 11/26/04 05:31 PM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
ilikemozart Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 372
Loc: California USA
TO Bob Muir,
Thank you. So in the right hand, even though the stems are going in different directions, do I play both keys (again p. 34 Here we come a-caroling)

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#987001 - 11/26/04 05:52 PM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
If you want to play as full an instrumental arrangement as possible, then yes, you play both the notes with the flag going up (melody) and the notes with the flag going down (harmony).

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#987002 - 11/26/04 06:47 PM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
ilikemozart Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 372
Loc: California USA
To Bob Muir,
Thank you. Interesting that someone asked about Christmas music because I had just looked at my Reader's Digest book last night and wondered about those extra notes.

Hope you aren't freezing up in WA.

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#987003 - 11/26/04 07:44 PM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
Nope, the weather's very nice. \:\)

When I first acquired the book, I was very confused as well. I'd only been playing for a month or so and until I read the introduction and asked my teacher at the time some questions, I wasn't sure what notes to play.

Keep in mind that the harmony and bass notes should be more subdued than the melody notes. The melody needs to sing out in place of an accompanying instrument or voice. This can be challenging. Especially in a piece with four-note chords like the "Christmas Time is Here" piece I just learned. I'm playing four notes in the right hand and the one that needs to be loudest is the one the pinky is playing.

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#987004 - 11/26/04 07:51 PM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
ilikemozart Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 372
Loc: California USA
To Bob Muir,
Glad the weather is nice.

Thanks for the info on how to play the music. I'm not quite ready to get into the Christmas music, but at some point in December. Maybe because on some radio stations, Christmas music is already being played.

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#987005 - 11/26/04 07:56 PM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
Well, unless you can sight read it, now's the time to "get into" it. If you wait too long, then you won't be able to play them well until after Christmas. ;\) I started a couple of weeks ago because I wanted to learn at least four new Christmas songs this year with excellent (and challenging) arrangements.

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#987006 - 11/26/04 08:22 PM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
ilikemozart Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 372
Loc: California USA
Bob Muir,
You are absolutely right, I should "get into" the Christmas music. At least I can start on my own. I did ask my piano teacher last week if I should start playing a Christmas piece and she said it was too early. I know she gets pretty sick of Christmas music when many of her students are playing them.

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#987007 - 11/26/04 10:43 PM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
RKVS1 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/01
Posts: 3192
Loc: Topeka, Kansas
Teresa Wilhelmi has some very nice arrangements of Christmas songs. They have a kind of jazy feel to them, and she uses some unusual chord progressions (and/or substitutions ).

I made my way through one of these at Apple's party and people seemed to like the general idea.

Heres a link to several of her books, the one I'm refering to is halfway down, entitled "Christmas ... Reflections for Piano"

http://www.teresastudio.com/Books01.htm

One note about the songs listed in the Table of Contents.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel, Silent Night, and Angels We Have Heard on High are NOT done individualy, but are mixed into one song called "Christmas Montage.


This page has some mp3's of some of her songs.
http://www.teresastudio.com/Downloads.htm

Bob

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#987008 - 11/28/04 06:59 AM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
JD Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/03
Posts: 83
Loc: SF Bay Area
Two books that I am enjoying are:

1. Dan Coates - Christmas Music Made Easy for the Piano. The arrangements are interesting. And, being written at the beginner/early intermediate level I've been able to work up 2-3 songs to a passable level in a week or so.

2. Jim Brickman's - Peace. The beautiful arrangements in this book are straight from Brickman's Peace CD that was nominated for a Grammy award I believe. Intermediate level. Challenging but playable. At my learning curve it should be doable to learn one of the easier songs by the holidays.

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#987009 - 11/29/04 07:22 AM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
devils4ever Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/12/04
Posts: 477
Loc: northwest NJ
 Quote:
Originally posted by childofparadise2002:
I'm looking for piano pieces of traditional Christmas songs such as The Little Drummer Boy, etc., for beginner-intermediate levels. I went to the local music store and was very confused by their 50+ selections. I wonder if anyone could give me an idea of which books have been the favorites. Yes, I know there are many different styles of arrangements, and of course personal preferences vary a lot, but I would like to have a few titles to start with... And what is a good website to download sheet music? Again I serached the web but got pretty confused...

Thank you. [/b]
I've been using "Best Christmas Songs Ever" . I've been practicing "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)". It's a great, full, lush sounding piece definitely worth the effort. It's challenging piece for me, but I started it back about 3 weeks ago. This book contains all the classics for Christmas. Some are fairly simple, while others are more advanced.

I see there's an easy version of this book too. Maybe you can try that.

But,
_________________________
"Applaud friends, the comedy is over." --Ludwig van Beethoven on his deathbed.
August Förster 190 Artcase

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#987010 - 12/09/04 01:46 AM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
mikhailoh Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 4288
Loc: Cincinnati
My teacher gave me the 4th Alfred Christmas songs book. I'm halfway through book 5 in lessons and classical pieces, but just wanted to play some nice jazzy tunes like Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting...) and a couple other nice ones.

These are nice arrangements, particularly on Christams Song.
_________________________
Michael

====

He is so solemn, detached and uninvolved he makes Mr. Spock look like Hunter S. Thompson at closing time.'

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#987011 - 12/09/04 06:59 AM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
Stevester Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/03
Posts: 2851
Loc: New Jersey
Bob, Thanks!. I tried to order the Reader's Digest Christmas book last year but it was not yet available.

Happy Holidays,
Steve
_________________________
"The true character of a man can be determined by witnessing what he does when no one is watching".

anon

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#987012 - 12/09/04 11:11 AM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 538
 Quote:
Originally posted by Stevester:
Bob, Thanks!. I tried to order the Reader's Digest Christmas book last year but it was not yet available.

Happy Holidays,
Steve [/b]
Steve, I just bought the Reader's Digest book (at the local Border's store) yesterday. Tried a couple of songs and liked them.

Bob, thank you again for your recommendation.

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#987013 - 12/09/04 01:30 PM Re: Could anyone recommend some Christmas music?
Lizzy1234 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/15/03
Posts: 212
Loc: St. Louis
An aside, I saw our Sam's club is carrying the Reader's Digest Merry Christmas Songbook this year. A deal at $16.88, considering I paid nearly $30.00 for mine last year at a local music store. Don't know if all the Sam's carries the same things, but definitely worth checking into. Would make a nice gift, too...Liz

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