Merry Christmas: A Time to Love

Merry Christmas: A Time to Love

In less than a month’s time the world will come together to a time to love—the Christmas Day. While Christmas is approaching, many of us are busy learning to play different Christmas songs on the guitar. Indeed, there are tons of great traditional Christmas carols to choose from. But if you want to try something new, why not give the song Christmas Is a Time to Love a try? Let’s give an ear to how it’s going to sound like first :)!

And here comes the tab:

The tab is divided into three parts, the (1) descant, (2) melody as well as (3) chord. You can play the song in mainly two ways—to sing and play at the same time, let’s choose (2) and (3); to enjoy the music with your friends, play all three at a time!

(1) Descant

Descant is a part of a piece of music that is higher than the main tune. It acts as the accompaniment, providing the harmonic support for the melody. It’s simple—a single line melody that keeps going the same way—yet important—because it serves the purpose of qualifying the main melody.

If you have a friend who just kicked off playing the guitar, invite him/her to take up this part. This first ensemble experience is going to be great because s/he can learn to stand firm among the various musical parts. Instead of muddling through, s/he keeps the tempo of music steady, the pattern of strong and weak beats repetitive, and makes sure the notes sounding clean throughout the piece.

(2) Melody

Most of the time, all of a composition is based on the melody. When it comes to a singing performance, the melody is usually being sung rather than in the form of instrumental music. No matter in which way it is performed, it has a subject or message to bring out. So, either you sing it out or play it (on the guitar), let it work with emotion.

(3) chord

Each chord carries its own emotional impact. When chords are linked together, they add flavor to the musical piece. For example, the use of Em and F#m has created the feelings of loss and grief. Have you figured out that the mood (or the atmosphere) of the song changes from a sense of balance and steadiness at the very beginning, into somehow feeling blue and down in the middle, and finally a relief at last?

With regard to the tips for playing the barre chord—an awful nightmare to most beginners well, place your thumb on the back of the neck at approximately the midpoint of the neck’s width, and lay your index finger on the fret with the bony side (but not the fleshy front of your finger). If you truly love playing the guitar, never ever think about giving up. Time is the only cure and practice is the best panacea for pain.

Over the last entry, we have discussed the timbre, voicing and changing of chords. Click here to look back at these 3 essential elements for perfecting the art of chord playing. In the near future, we will be looking more deeply into the guitar chord, including its structure, function and symbols in a tab. See you there!

Final tip: Take your time

For you to practice, the stand-alone soundtracks are all in 100 bpm. As you become more familiar with playing the song, feel free to make the tempo faster. Don’t make haste because it’s more important to get the rhythm right. Pay attention, especially at bars, for example, the 8th bar, where the chord is played before the melody.

Anyway, taking your time doesn’t mean procrastination. Time is running short. So hurry up, master this Christmas song and treasure the time when we are going to love one another.

Merry Christmas!