Intro to Holiday Piano
During the holiday season, there will be many opportunities to show off your piano skills. When it comes to playing piano for a crowd, there are two main paths we can take. One is to play a piece for solo piano or as an accompaniment for people to sing along to. Both have their place but require different techniques in order to sound great.
Solo Piano vs. Singing Along
Our first choice is to play a song as a solo piano piece. That means that our right hand will be playing the melody and our left hand will take care of rhythm and harmonies. This will provide a full and rich arrangement that you can impress your friends with and sound great at the same time.
The second choice will involve playing an arrangement for everyone to sing along to. This version will provide a solid bass line while playing chords and rhythm in the right hand. Everyone singing along will provide the melody and carry the tune. It is recommendable in these cases to also play a small introduction to let people know when to come in. It sounds great and everyone will have a great time and you will be the life of the party!
As the blues kept evolving and developing in different parts of the country, we can hear very different and distinct styles that emerged. Below are a few of the most well known styles that contributed to the blues history and sound we know today.
Written by James Lord Pierpont (1822–1893), “Jingle Bells” is one of the best-known and commonly sung American Christmas songs in the world and was published under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh” in the autumn of 1857. Even though it is now associated with the Christmas and holiday season, it was actually originally written to be sung for American Thanksgiving.
“Silent Night” is a popular Christmas carol, composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr in the small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria. The song was first performed on Christmas Eve 1818 at St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, a village on the Salzach river. The young priest, Father Joseph Mohr, had come to Oberndorf the year before.
Auld Lang Syne
“Auld Lang Syne” is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song (Roud # 6294). It is well known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world, its traditional use being to bid farewell to the old year at the stroke of midnight. By extension, it is also sung at funerals, graduations and as a farewell or ending to other occasions. The international Boy Scout youth movement, in many countries, uses it as a close to jamborees and other functions.
Carol of the Bells
“Carol of the Bells” is a popular Christmas carol composed by Mykola Leontovych in 1904 with lyrics by Peter J. Wilhousky. The song is based on a folk chant known in Ukrainian as “Shchedryk”. Wilhousky’s lyrics are copyrighted, although the original musical composition is not. The song is recognized by a four-note ostinato motif (see image to the right). It has been arranged many times for different genres, styles of singing and settings and has been covered by artists and groups of many genres: classical, metal, jazz, rock, and pop. The piece has also been featured in films, television shows, and parodies.