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Play the Classic Christmas Carol: ‘What Child Is This?’ Chord Progressions Unveiled

The holiday season is upon us and what better way to celebrate than to gather around the piano and sing some timeless carols? Today, we delve into the beautiful melody of ‘What Child is This’ and guide you on how to master its chords. This guide is comprehensive, covering everything from the basic structure to the advanced techniques used in the song. By the end of it, you’ll not only know how to play this classic tune but also understand the theory behind it.

So, do you want to know What Child is This chords? Read on to learn the guitar chord for this popular song.

Chapter 1: The Origin of ‘What Child is This’

Before we delve into the What Child is This chords, let’s start by understanding the origin of this beloved hymn. ‘What Child is This’ is a popular Christmas carol written by William Chatterton Dix in 1865. The melody borrows from the traditional English folk song ‘Greensleeves’. This enchanting melody, coupled with the profound lyrics, has made it a staple in Christmas celebrations worldwide.

Chapter 2: Understanding the Basic Structure

Learning to play ‘What Child is This’ requires knowledge of the song’s structure. The song comprises three main verses and a repeating chorus. Each verse and chorus follows a consistent chord progression, making it easy to memorize and play.

Chapter 3: The Chords of ‘What Child is This’

Now, let’s dive into the chords of ‘What Child is This’. The song is typically played in the key of E minor (Em), but you can adjust the key to suit your vocal range. Here’s the basic chord progression for the song:

Verse: Em D G D | Em Am B | Em D G D | Em B Em
Chorus: G D Bm | C Am B | G D Bm | Em B Em

This progression repeats throughout the song, making it fairly straightforward to learn.

Chapter 4: Mastering the Intro and Interludes

A notable feature of ‘What Child is This’ is its enchanting intro and interludes. To master these, you’ll need to pay close attention to the rhythm and timing. Here’s the basic chord progression for the intro and interludes:

Am C G Em
F Dm E7

Practice these progressions until you can play them smoothly and confidently.

Chapter 5: Tackling the Verses

The verses of ‘What Child is This’ carry the song’s narrative, telling the story of the birth of Christ. The chord progression for the verses is slightly more complex than the intro and interludes. Here’s the chord progression for the verses:

Verse: Am C G Em | F Dm E7 | Am C G Em | Am E7 Am

Once again, practice is key to mastering these progressions.

Chapter 6: Conquering the Chorus

The chorus of ‘What Child is This’ is where the melody truly shines. The chord progression for the chorus is as follows:

Chorus: C G | Am F E7 | C G | Am E7 Am

Try to play along with the original song to get a feel for the rhythm and timing.

Chapter 7: Advanced Techniques

While ‘What Child is This’ may seem simple at first glance, it offers plenty of room for more advanced techniques. These include fingerpicking, arpeggios, and adding ornamentation to the basic chords. Feel free to experiment with these techniques to add your unique touch to the song.

Chapter 8: Practice Tips

As with any musical piece, practice is the key to mastering ‘What Child is This’. Here are some tips to help you practice more effectively:

  1. Practice slowly: Start by playing the chords slowly, focusing on clean transitions between the chords. Speed up gradually as you become more comfortable.
  2. Use a metronome: A metronome can help you maintain a steady rhythm as you practice.
  3. Practice regularly: Try to practice a little every day rather than cramming all your practice into one session.

Chapter 9: Final Thoughts

Mastering ‘What Child is This’ chords can be a rewarding experience that enhances your holiday celebrations. With patience, practice, and the right guidance, anyone can learn to play this timeless carol. So, pick up your guitar, loosen those fingers, and fill your home with the beautiful melody of ‘What Child is This’.

Appendix: ‘What Child is This’ Lyrics

Finally, here are the lyrics for ‘What Child is This’, so you can sing along as you play:

Verse 1:
What Child is this, who laid to rest
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

[And so on…]

Happy playing and singing!

Note: Music is a wonderful way to express emotions and convey stories. While this guide focuses on ‘What Child is This’, the same principles can be applied to learn other songs. Keep practicing, keep playing, and most importantly, keep enjoying the wonderful world of music.



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