O Christmas Tree [PDF Download]
This German carol began life as a folksong from the 16thcentury, with words about a fir-tree (‘Tannenbaum’ in German, and the modern carol begins ‘O Tannenbaum’ in German).
The text was updated by a Leipzig school teacher in 1824, who reinterpreted the tree as a Christmas tree. This was at a time when the Christmas tree was growing in popularity in Germany – Prince Albert introduced the tree to England after his marriage to Queen Victoria, where it quickly caught on.
Although evergreen symbols pre-date Christianity, the church cannily absorbed them, and they became a symbol of the renewal of life in the depths of winter that Christ himself represents. ‘The holly and the ivy’ is another example.
It’s rather nice to celebrate the unchanging leaves of the tree as we decorate our homes at Christmas and, if we wish, add in a deeper symbolism too.
Arrangement and teaching content
This arrangement has melody and all the harmony required comfortably under the fingers of the pupil.
The form of the tune is AABA, so pupils can quickly learn this, as all the A sections are the same. The tune dips down to the left hand for the third line, where neat right-hand fingers are needed for the chords above. The piece is useful for developing two-note chord control and also playing the D above middle C notated as a ledger-line note in the bass clef.
David Blackwell & Karen Marshall
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For more information about Get Set! Piano, visit the publisher’s website.
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