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Silent Night - A Strummed Accompaniment

Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange
Difficulty Rating: Beginner

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This is just one of countless ways of playing Silent Night as an accompaniment, for example, to back a vocal version. I've kept it as simple and as straight forward as possible here, but of course you can get as flowery as your taste and technique allow.

In this case, I've kept a simple and steady pattern: I pick the root of each chord on the first beat of the bar (it's in 3/4 time, so there are three beats per bar) and strum the next two with light downstrokes. It's a pretty standard strum pattern for 3/4. I've indicated the roots in the tab as orange dots in the chord diagrams (it's a little hard to see, sorry) and there are couple of exceptions toward the end. In bar 20 I play a C# bass note to the Em chord (it's written as such) and in bar 21 I play a D note as bass note to the G chord. Why? Because it sounds better, those bass notes between bars 17 and 21 make a nice little melody line that keeps everything moving in the right direction.

For those 'smaller' chords, those that are only 4 or 5 strings wide, you need to avoid strumming the strings marked 'x' in the chord diagrams. It will sound ugly if you don't.

Watch how I change chords: it's not one full shape to another, it's more of a progressive finger by finger movement. Because the pattern involves the root note being picked on the first beat, I make sure that finger is in place first; while I'm picking that note, the other fingers are falling into place on the fretboard. It still all happens in the blink of an eye, but it's a little easier than getting every finger in place at the same instant. This becomes automatic after a while, so don't despair if you're having trouble.

The strum: I pick the root, which is a small positive movement of the hand, then I widen the movement slightly for the strums, which are light and airy. I rarely use a flat pick, so I'm no expert either, but like everything else, strumming is all a matter of practice.

I've posted links to the midi files below

Midi full speed | Midi half speed



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A big thanks in advance, Kirk Lorange