The Christmas season is the stimulus for more music than any other holiday. Many of us fondly remember singing Christmas carols around the piano at family gatherings. Sometimes we had the nerve to take our show on the road to sing carols for people around town. Every contemporary musician has produced at least one Christmas album. Yes, Christmas music is big, and audiences want to hear both classics and new pieces. KeySynth Studios is here to help.
At KeySynth Studios, I enjoy connecting with great Christmas music memories by creating new arrangements of classic Christmas songs. I also like to find new ways to convey the joy and wonder of Christmas. With Christmas Day coming quickly, I’d like to share a few of my favorites from the classics and some of my newest inspirations.
Classic Christmas carols provide excellent material for new arrangements. They also work well in combinations or mashups. One of my favorite arrangements is called Classic Christmas Medley. This Christmas mashup opens with Silent Night and moves through Joy to the World and O Come, All Ye Faithful before arriving at a boisterous conclusion.
Classic Christmas Medley started life as a piano solo. It is quite challenging and requires the pianist to have good technical ability with scales, one-hand arpeggios, and octave chords. Eventually, I rearranged the piece for woodwind quintet. I had a great deal of fun trying to use the varied timbres of each instrument to present different parts of the melodies. I discovered that whether they’re played as a piano solo or a woodwind quintet, these three Christmas classics make a great combination,
Deck the Halls is another Christmas classic that I really like. My new arrangement of this piece tries to present the melody in several different styles. As with the Classic Christmas Medley, this arrangement began as a piano solo. The advanced intermediate solo uses numerous scale passages and octave chords. Once again, the sonic possibilities of the woodwind quintet prompted me to rearrange the piece for that group. In both settings, the style is light, bouncy, and fun.
My Christmas arranging also extends into the vocal area. O Holy Night is one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs. When I undertook the task of creating a new arrangement, I wanted the piano accompanist to do more than simply support the vocalist. My goal was to create an arrangement in which the pianist was a true collaborator with the vocalist. The resulting piece requires significant dexterity from both the vocalist and accompanist. The range of the voice part is very wide. In the accompaniment, the running scale passages are vital to the goal of creating a sparkling rendition. The arrangement is available for soprano/baritone duet and for high, medium, and low voice solos. Professionally performed piano accompaniment tracks are also available.
The last classic Christmas arrangement I want to mention is Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus. This beautiful Welsh hymn tune (Hyfrydol) has been used for many songs including Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners; Hallelujah, What a Savior; and Our Great Savior. In this Christmas version, I’ve used the Mixolydian mode as a connecting idea. The piece employs several interesting rhythmic variations which create a fun playing experience for advanced intermediate pianists.
KeySynth Studios does more than arrange other people’s music. I’m also busily composing new music as well. The first piece I want to share with you is actually a hybrid. O Little Town of Bethlehem was the result of challenging myself to write a new song for old lyrics. As part of the exercise, I wanted to incorporate some interesting extended harmonies. The final creation is a tender and moving piece. It is available for high, medium, and low voice solos; soprano/baritone duet; children’s choir (SSA); and SATB choir. The range is not large and the music is very attainable by intermediate singers.
My creativity is frequently tweaked by music I hear in passing. I composed Christ is Born! after hearing the theme music from Pirates of the Caribbean. The music was in compound meter and it got my mind racing to create a Christmas song with compound meter. Christ is Born! is a rousing proclamation that the Savior of the world has come. The piano part is somewhat Baroque in style with extended scale passages and it’s quite challenging. The arrangement drives hard from start to finish and is a great concert closer.
It’s Not Too Late!
There’s still time to pick up some new music and get it ready for Christmas performances. All the pieces I’ve highlighted are available immediately. Interested? Clicking any of the links in the article will take you directly to our distributor. If you prefer, you can go directly to all the KeySynth Studios Christmas music by clicking here.
Merry Christmas from KeySynth Studios!