What Is The First Symbol On A Piece Of.Sheet Music Piano Chords for Beginners 4: Learn to Play the Carol, O Christmas Tree, with Four Basic Chords

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Piano Chords for Beginners 4: Learn to Play the Carol, O Christmas Tree, with Four Basic Chords

In our Piano Chords for Beginners articles so far, we have seen how to play Silent Night and Away in a Manger using only three different Major chords, and we have discovered how to add Minor chords to our accompaniment in Good King Wenceslas.

To play the piano accompaniment for this Christmas carol, O Christmas Tree, we will need to add yet another important chord type to our piano chord repertoire: the Seventh Chords.

The Seventh Chords

The Major and Minor chords we have studied so far were all composed of three notes played at once on the keyboard. In Seventh chords, four notes are played at the same time. The Seventh chords are closely based on their corresponding Major chord. In fact the first three notes of the Seventh chord are the same as those of the corresponding Major chord. However, the final note of the Seventh chord adds a beautiful harmony and richness to these chords.

For the carol, O Christmas Tree, we need to use both the C Major chord and the C Seventh chord. The actual notes in these two piano chords and the chord symbol for each chord are given below:

C Major

— Notes: C E G

— Chord Symbol: C

C Seventh

— Notes: C E G Bb

— Chord Symbol: C7

Play the C7 chord with the fifth, third, second and first (thumb) fingers of the left hand.

O Christmas Tree: Two Major Chords, One Minor Chord and One Seventh Chord

To play this Christmas carol we will need the following piano chords:

C Major:

— Notes: C E G

— Chord Symbol: C

F Major:

— Notes: F A C

— Chord Symbol: F

D Minor:

— Notes: D F A

— Chord Symbol: Dm

C Seventh

— Notes: C E G Bb

— Chord Symbol: C7

Practice these chords in the two octaves below Middle C on your keyboard.

Lyrics and Tune of O Christmas Tree

Play the tune of O Christmas Tree with your right hand, starting on Middle C. There are three quarter-note or crotchet beats in every bar in this carol. In my notation, the ][ symbol represents a bar line separating the bars in the music.

O ][ Christ-mas tree, O ][ Christ-mas tree, Thy ][

C ][ F F F – G ][ A A A – A ][

leaves are faith-ful ][ ev-er; O ][

G A Bb E ][ G F – C ][

Christ-mas tree, O ][ Christ-mas tree, Thy ][

F F F – G ][ A A A – A ][

leaves are faith-ful ][ ev-er; Not ][

G A Bb E ][ G F – C ][

on-ly green when ][ su-mmer glows, But ][

C A D C ][ C Bb Bb – Bb ][

in the win-ter ][ when it snows. O ][

Bb G C Bb ][ Bb A A – C ][

Christ-mas tree, O ][ Christ-mas tree, Thy ][

F F F – G ][ A A A – A ][

leaves are faith-ful ][ ev-er!

G A Bb E ][ G F

Practice this melody until you can play it by memory.

O Christmas Tree Chord Accompaniment

Now let’s look at the piano chords for O Christmas Tree. Play the chords in a regular rhythm corresponding with the three quarter-note or crotchet beats in each bar.

A special note about the chords highlighted in bold face: these chords are played by themselves, half a beat before the final note of the melody in those bars. For example, at the end of the first line, F chords are played with the syllables ‘Christ-‘ and ‘tree’, then the Dm chord is played by itself, followed by the melody note, A, by itself, with the word ‘Thy’.

O ][ Christmas Tree! O ][ Christmas Tree! Thy ][

—-][F—-F—-C—-][F—-F—-Dm —-][

leaves are faith-ful ][ ev-er; O ][

C—-C—-C—-][C7—-F ——–][

Christmas Tree! O ][ Christmas Tree! Thy ][

F—-F—-C—-][F—-F—-Dm—-][

leaves are faith-ful ][ ev-er; Not ][

C—-C—-C—-][C7—-F—-F—-][

only green when ][ summer glows, But ][

F—-C7—-C7—-][C7—-C7—-C7—-][

in the win-ter ][ when it snows. O ][

C7—-C7—-C7—-][C7—-F——–][

Christmas Tree! O ][ Christmas Tree! Thy ][

F—-F—-C—-][F—-F—-Dm—-][

leaves are faith-ful ][ ev-er.

C—-C—-C—-][C7—-F—-

Don’t the seventh chords give a glorious sound to the fifth and sixth lines of this carol? All the chords that you will find in books of beginner piano music can be played easily by learning a set of simple patterns! There is no need to memorize dozens of individual chords or read complicated sheet music scores. However, for all but the simplest songs, it is a great advantage to be able to read music notes so that you can accurately read the tune and rhythm of the melody from sheet music.

Playing piano chords and learning to read music notes can be done with ease by using the correct techniques. Then you can progress to playing your favorite popular piano music with your own unique accompaniments — with ease!

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