Oh Christmas Tree: the Form of (Almost) All Music in a Nutshell

I was asked for this song by two sisters; one a piano student and one on the ukulele. They are big fans of Swiss Family Robinson.

‘Oh Christmas Tree’ turned out to be such a good one for beginners, as it consists of four lines; the first two being identical and extremely simple, the third line creating a bit of interest with a little more movement in the melody and chords, followed by another line identical to the first two. It is a little nutshell example of how most music works: a tune, that tune repeated, a little wandering into new territory, then back home to the familiar.

Here it is, with tune line and chords-

Oh Christmas Tree

For the ukulele student who is only six, I am using simplified chords and it is working a treat. She is playing and singing it with ease and it sounds lovely.

Here’s what I do.
Take one finger off G7, so uke chord G7becomes uke chord G7 simpler.
Do the same for F, so uke chord F becomes uke chord F simpler.

When playing in C, this creates a really nice effect with the low note C becoming a drone throughout the three chords.

I would substitute D minor for F, so the third line would go like this-

C                                     F                                  G7                    C
Not only green when summer’s here, but also when ’tis cold and drear.

The sweetness of these simplified chords plus the singing voice of a six year old is enough to melt anyone’s heart!


About Rosa Conrad

Teacher, writer, performer.
This entry was posted in charts, Christmas, music teaching, piano, sheet music, singing, theory, ukulele and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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