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Connect The Chords: White Christmas

Posted on: December 7th, 2011 by dville
Welcome to another edition of Connect The Chords!  In this episode we’ll break down Irving Berlin’s 1942 classic White Christmas. The great thing about White Christmas is you can start out playing it with just three chords.


Key of C:  
I-C Major  ii-D minor  iii-E minor  IV-F Major V-G Major (G7) vi-A minor vii-B di

 

C MAJOR
F MAJOR
G7

I I’m dreaming of a IV white V7 Christmas 

IV Just like the ones I V7 used to I know 
Where the treetops glisten, and IV children listen 
To I hear IV sleigh I bells IV in the V7 snow. 
I I’m dreaming of a IV white V7 Christmas 
IV With every Christmas V7 card I I write 
May your days be merry and IV bright 
And may I all your IV Christmas-V7-es be I white.
Now let’s spice the arrangement up by adding in some other chords
To sweeten the song, let’s use the ii minor (D minor).  Since D minor is the relative minor of F Major we can use it as a substitute it for F.
D MINOR









I I’m dreaming of a ii white V7 Christmas  
IV Just like the ones I V7 used to I know 
Where the treetops glisten, and IV children listen 
To I hear IV sleigh I bells ii in the V7 snow. 
I I’m dreaming of a ii white V7 Christmas  
IV With every Christmas V7 card I I write 
May your days be merry and IV bright 
And may I all your ii Christmas-V7-es be I white.

Now let’s add the I7 and iv minor chords to the arrangement.
C7
F MINOR
I I’m dreaming of a ii white V7 Christmas 
IV Just like the ones I V7 used to I know 
ii Where V7 the I treetops I7 glisten, and IV children iv listen 
To hear IV sleigh I bells ii in the V7 snow. 

I I’m dreaming of a ii white V7 Christmas  
IV With every Christmas V7 card I I write 
ii May V7 your I days be I7 merry and IV bright iv
And may I all your ii Christmas-V7-es be I white.
Finally, let’s add in a few other chords not found in the in theCMajor Scale,B Major (VII),F#7 (#IV7),andG Diminished (Vdim).  The reason for adding these other chords is to help flesh out the melody in the song and create interest.
B MAJOR
F#7
G DIM









I I’m ii dream-I-ing VII of Iii white #IV7 Christ-V7-mas 
IV Just like the ones I V7 used to I know 
ii Where V7 the I treetops I7 glisten, and IV children iv listen 
To I hear IV sleigh I bells ii in the V7 snow. 

I I’m ii dream-I-ing VII of I a ii white #IV7 Christ-V7-mas 
IV With every Christmas V7 card I I write 
ii May V7 your days be I7 merry and IV bright iv
And may I all Vdim your ii Christmas-V7-es be I white.

Look how quickly we ramped up from a three-chord song to a nine-chord song!  Here is a finger-picking arrangement using most, if not all of these chords.  Happy holidays!

The chords lyrics to this song are posted for educational purposes only.  Arrangement from Irving Berlin Songs Arranged for Ukulele by Roy Smeck.  Hal Leonard Publishing

One Response

  1. Mary Ann says:

    Thanks so much for this really interesting lesson, Jim. Had you started with all 9 chords, I probably would have passed this by. Now, my uke and I are ready for the holiday!

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