Nat King Cole's "Christmas Song": Guitar Chords, Melody, Tab, Video Lessons

Updated on March 22, 2020

The Christmas Song

This is an intermediate arrangement of one the most played holiday songs ever. Seems you can't go anywhere this time of year, without hearing this at least once. And rightly so, it is an extremely well written song. Great lyrics, melody, arrangement and chord progression, just a beautiful piece of writing. Nat King Cole's version stands as the measuring stick for all the others.

This is the original chord-melody arrangement that I put together for our Christmas production, 'A Life Of Christmas'. The first year my recording, composing partner, Elizabeth Storms provided the vocals. I turned this chord-melody version into more of a comping chart for her vocals, only taking a solo in the second bridge.

The Chart

This is quite challenging at the intermediate level. A good knowledge of jazz chord shapes is necessary (see: Jazz Guitar Lessons • Chord Substitution Chart, Jazz Guitar Lessons • Misty, Jazz Guitar Lessons • When Sunny Gets Blue). See the Comping Chart for the proper chord voicings. Many of these chord shapes come from the Mickey Baker Method Book 1. I was voicing these chords to match the vocal line closely.

The Chord Chart

The Comping Chart

This was meant to be played in free time. There must be interaction between the musicians to make this work. It's almost as if you are reading each other's mind. As a rule, the accompanist follows the vocalist…..where they lead, you must follow. Not really as hard as it seems, and gets easier the more you work together.

The first transcription is a simplified comping chart with no solo, perfect for vocal accompaniment.

The second transcription is closer to what you see on the video In the video, Noah follows Kasia's unique vocals and the chart, until he gets to the second bridge, where he improvises a very cool free-time solo, nothing like the one I notated here. Excellent playing! The vocal comping bridge starts at measure nineteen and the solo starts at measure thirty five.

Simplified Comping Chart

Comping Chart

The Chord-Melody

I tried to keep this fairly simple. There are no real difficult timing passages, most measures are straight forward. I strongly recommend using just the fingers or the pick-fingers method (hybrid picking). Some of the chord voicings would be difficult with a pick, because of the strings that are muted or missed. The melody line is voiced for the most part on the top notes of the chords. The combination of single notes and chords is the standard for this type of playing. Quite often, a bassline would weave its way through the lower intervals of the chords, while maintaining the melody line in the upper partials. This is a more advanced way of playing chord-melody arrangements.

Remember, it is free time. Try to incorporate dynamics (points where the music gets louder or quieter).

Chord-Melody

The Original Recording, Great Video!

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Lorne Hemmerling

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • profile image

        Patrick De Vogel 

        3 years ago

        Great lesson, just what I looked for!

        I kinda like playing a Fdim7 (9th fret) instead of a Edim7 at the end or is that just plain wrong?

      • Lorne Hemmerling profile imageAUTHOR

        Lorne Hemmerling 

        3 years ago from Oshawa

        @ Al B. Thanks so much for the wonderful freedback

      • profile image

        Al B. 

        3 years ago

        Another great lesson. Really like the way you break out the piece into sections. Your lessons really work for me and have made it a lot easier to pick up on chord melody. Always looking forward to see what you will have next. That said, this lesson and those associated will keep me busy right thru till Christmas.

        Thank you for your efforts, very much appreciated.

      • Lorne Hemmerling profile imageAUTHOR

        Lorne Hemmerling 

        5 years ago from Oshawa

        Thanks so much, John!

      • johnp61 profile image

        John O'Neill 

        5 years ago from Bristol, UK

        Hi Lorne.

        Another excellent lesson. Thank you very much for this beautiful festive offering.

        Kind regards

        John O'Neill

        [Bristol, UK]

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, spinditty.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)