This post is about Silent Night Chords, that is, how to play “Silent Night” on the piano and keyboard using chords. Before I get closer to the Silent Night Chords, I will start with a question. Have you heard the story of the Christmas carol that was made because of a hungry mouse?
The Story Of Silent Night, Holy Night
The story tells that “Silent Night” was created in a small church in a small town near Salzburg in 1818, Austria. Early in the morning on Christmas Eve, the priest and organist discovered that the organ in the church was destroyed. Hungry mice had bitten holes in the bellows of the organ, and there was no time to repair it before the Christmas worship service. What should they do without organ music? The priest got an idea. He wrote the text of a Christmas carol at full speed! The organist made a melody, and at the Christmas service on the same day, “Silent Night” was performed for the very first time.
“Silent Night”, originally called “Silent Night, Holy Night” or “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht” in German, composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr and now one of the world’s most famous and considered the oldest Christmas carol. Though meant for a performance in a church, “Silent Night” was composed for guitar. That’s rather unusual for those days, but with a broken organ the organist had to manage the choir and the priest playing the guitar, also a part of this story. “Silent Night, Holy Night” was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2011.
Silent Night #1
Let’s go back to what this post is really about. I think it’s important that piano and keyboard players learn to play this historic Christmas song, and I want to help those who may not have learned it yet. For both piano and keyboard players to be able to play “Silent Night”, I’ve arranged it for easy level with one finger notes for the piano and chords in the left hand for keyboards. The chords can be played in the right hand as well as an option for more advanced players. And if you know how to play the chords for more instruments, you can use guitar or other chord-playing musical instruments. Chord charts below the score show which keys, tones and finger numbers to use for both hands.
Click on the link to listen to the score: Silent Night #1 Audio File
Chord charts for Silent Night #1:
Lower Part – Upper Part
When playing chords in the left hand it is important to play the chords in the correct place on the keyboard. Most musical keyboards can be split into two sections, upper part used for right hand and lower part used for left hand. The split point is usually on the F key, four keys to the left of the middle C. Look at the keyboard below to display the split point and the parts.
Selecting Instrument Sounds
A musical keyboard provides options for selecting different instrument sounds for the right and left hand. The first thing to do is splitting the keyboard into the upper and lower part, and then select the sound you want for each part. “Silent Night” will sound beautiful with violins or strings in the right hand, and the sound of the organ in the left. As a variation, a trumpet in the right hand will be magnificent combined with the organ in the left.
Silent Night #2
You can now play “Silent Night #1” on the piano, keyboard or if you like, on the guitar. The song was intentionally arranged for easy piano, but if you like a more challenged one, you can go for “Silent Night #2”, it’s for intermediate level with a couple of new chords and more advanced notes in the left hand.
Do not hesitate to try it out, it’s pretty straightforward once you’ve practiced a bit. The chords used are shown below the score and are intended to be played on a musical keyboard with the upper-lower split.
Click on the link to listen to the score: Silent Night #2 Audio File
Chord charts for Silent Night #2:
One Of A Kind
“Silent Night” is widely considered to be the most beautiful Christmas carol ever made, and perhaps the reason for this is that it has almost anything a song can wish for;
- A story where everyday and feasible events force people to take action to save an unexpected situation and where the action they do becomes something unique as millions of people across the world get a special relationship with the next two hundred years to come.
- A beautiful universal melody that’s easy to sing.
- Beautiful lyrics that convey love and peace, and translated into multiple languages.
Whether playing a piano or keyboard of any kind, I hope this post has make you play Silent Night by chords, or Silent Night Chords as the post is called. Although this post should be about Silent Night Chords, I chose to write notes for both hands. The advantage of this is that you have the option to select both options, either to play all the notes as they are written or use the notes only as lead sheets and adding the chords.
My recommendations are that you continue to learn to play even more chords, in all keys and in both hands. Playing chords in both hands develops you as a musician and gives you more options than just playing the written notes. Put in another way, learning how to play chords makes you a more complete piano and keyboard player.
Happy Holiday Chords!