What Is What Child Is This? – An Introduction:
What Child Is This? is a traditional English Christmas carol dating back to 1865. The lyrics were written by William Chatterton Dix, who wrote them in a moment of spiritual reflection. His inspiration for writing the poem came from the famous Latin hymn, “Gloria in Excelsis Deo”. In this song, he set out to make the tale of Jesus’ birth relevant and accessible to all people.
In the popular version we know today, “What Child Is This?” is sung to the tune of 16th century English air known as Greensleeves. While part of its beauty lies in its simplicity and timelessness, there are implications that are only made clear with some context offered by Scripture.
The song asks two important questions about the identity of Jesus: what child is this and why does He lie there? By phrasing it as a rhetorical question rather than as an explanation or description, Dix challenges us to personally consider who Jesus was—grasping both his divinity and humanity at once—and why we should love Him so willingly. The answer given throughout Scripture comes alive in John 3:16 which says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
This meaningful carol helps serve up subliminal messages about Christ’s gift ultimately bringing deliverance from sin: It moves us away from secular constructs over Christmas time towards faith in something bigger than ourselves on which hope can rest — offering assurance even when things seem uncertain (even across centuries). In short, What Child Is This? is a reminder of our Lord’s humble beginnings from His birth up until today – now ever more present than before inspiring us all through its original melody into an eternity without end .
Chord Progressions for “What Child Is This?”
The famous Christmas carol, “What Child Is This?” tells the story of Mary and the Christ child. It is one of the most popular carols during the festive season. It’s essential that any musician trying to play this song have a firm understanding of its chord progressions in order to bring its full potential to life.
For musicians playing “What Child Is This?” in keys such as C Major and A Minor, common chord progressions can include: I-VII-VI7-V7; I-vi7-II7-V7; I6/4-IIIdim-I6/4. The song can also be performed using broader harmonic patterns such as those found within Fugues or Jazz styles, where complex layering is necessary for producing a robust arrangement – for example: IImaj9(♭13)-Veldim(♭13)-Imin11b5; VIIhd7maj9#11-(♭13)Ima9minor11/#5; IVdom(♭13)-IVdom(#5 ♭9).
It all comes down to personal preference and interpretation, so use these simple chords or experiment with something different – as long as it works! Whether you are just accompanying yourself on guitar or singing at karaoke night with your friends, have fun with “What Child Is This?” and go explore all its possibilities!
Fingering Tips for Playing “What Child Is This?”
First, it’s important to establish the basics of the song you’re playing. As with any piece of music, learning “What Child Is This?” requires you to be familiar with both its key signature and time signature. In this case, the key is G Major and the time signature is 4/4. With this understanding in place, let’s dig into fingering tips for playing “What Child Is This?”
The opening phrase should begin on a G Major chord (fingers 1-2-3) so that your first three notes are a chord rooted on the tonic (G). Since this first phrase is diatonic (does not include any non-scale notes) your fingers should move together slightly down the fretboard in order for you to reach increasingly higher frets over each successive note. While it’s easiest to keep fingers 1-2-3 grouped together as you move from one fret position to another, if it’s comfortable for your hand or arm then feel free to reorder them as needed. If that helps make a smoother transition then go ahead and do it!
When faced with an ascending melodic line, it can be helpful at times to cheat by using hammer-ons or pull-offs rather than picking every note from scratch. The trick here is subtlety: pay attention to how much force you use when applying these techniques so that each hammered note still has some breathing room before it blends in with what comes next. A gentle touch gives your tone more clarity and dynamic variety than just straightaway strumming would allow for.
The next phrase starts off similarly enough but veers at the fifth measure into a V7 chord followed by other chromatic movements that take us back home again. Staying true to form, our initial three fingers should again be coordinated while they move between frets; however, if you have difficulty maintaining control here then try using slides or vibrato techniques as well – both can help give nice fluidity while keeping things under control at high speeds too! Additionally, bear in mind that when approaching new chord voicings (like those found throughout “What Child Is This?”) focus on understanding finger placement rather than relying solely on muscle memory alone – doing so will help strengthen your overall technique and give greater musical expression in general!
Finally don’t forget about incorporating alternate fingering patterns into your practice whenever possible – not only does this sharpen technical proficiency but also gives more insight into complex compositions like “What Child Is This?” where multiple interpretations can exist simultaneously!
Step-by-Step Guide to Playing “What Child Is This?” on Piano
Playing “What Child Is This?” on the piano is a beautiful way to honor the spirit of Christmas for family and friends. This peaceful carol evokes a timeless sense of promise and hope, especially during this special time of year. It can be a bit tricky at first with its varied rhythms, mixes of chords and fast transitions, but don’t worry – with practice and patience, you’ll soon be playing “What Child Is This?” like a pro! Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started on piano.
Step 1: Learn the Melody
This beloved carol starts off with an upbeat yet gentle melody. Start by practicing this section slowly, making sure that all your notes are even and clear. Take your time here – build up your muscle memory so it will eventually come naturally when you play at full speed.
Step 2: Memorize The Chords
The harmonic structure of “What Child Is This?” consists mostly of three chords – G major (Gmaj), D major (Dmaj) and E minor (Em). Notice how these chords come together in patterns that often repeat themselves throughout the piece – they should become second nature as you continue to practice more often! Try humming along or finger tapping each chord progression too if that helps.
Step 3: Master The Transitioning Speed
Now comes the challenge some musicians run into when performing this carol – transitioning between these chords quickly enough to keep up with its cascading meter. For example, going from Gmaj7th to Dmaj4th in just one beat or two might feel overwhelmingly fast at first! That’s ok – work up your speed gradually until each transition flows effortlessly from note to note without any hesitation or errors in timing/fingering technique.
Step 4: Add Flourishes To Up The Wow Factor
Once comfortable with the basic melody and chord progressions, see if add some other flourishes that make professionals stand apart from beginners like playing arpeggios within each phrase or simple trills/ rolls after certain phrases for added excitement/energy. Experiment within reason so as not pile on too many embellishments that detract from the song’s overall balance; always strive for musicality above showmanship in such cases as less is almost always more here!
At Last: Play With Confidence And Enjoy Yourself!
Remember all those weeks (or possibly months!) you put into mastering “What Child Is This?” Now show everyone what you’ve achieved by confidently perform it before any large audience. Be proud of yourself for taking on such an intricate project – although difficult, it was worth every minute spent pouring over stave after stave just getting those notes right! No matter how well it goes, have fun enjoying that momentary magical connection between music and listener- who could ask for more than that during Christmastime?
FAQs About “What Child Is This” Piano Chords and Fingers
Q. What is the key of “What Child Is This”?
A. The original version of “What Child Is This” is composed in the key of D major, but it is often performed in a variety of other keys, including A major and G major.
Q. How hard are the piano chords for “What Child Is This” to play?
A. The piano chords for “What Child Is This” are fairly straightforward and should be easy for an experienced pianist to learn comfortably with plenty of practice. Beginning players may find them more difficult, but with a little time and determination they can be mastered!
Q. What is the right hand pattern in “What Child Is This”?
A. In the traditional arrangement of “What Child Is This,” the right hand plays a four-note arpeggio descending from Root to Third over Bars 1 – 2 (D to B). In Bars 3 – 4 this pattern is repeated, though now it travels up again – Root to Third (D to B). On Bar 5 there is just one chord played on beat 1 (Gmaj7) followed by two eighth notes on beats 2 & 3 (E♭ & D). Finally from Bar 6 till the end this repeating pattern is used throughout: Root down to third up (D – B – D).
Q. which finger numbers do I use for playing each piano chord in this song?
A. The fingers numbers will depend on what type/version of chords you are using when performing “What Child Is This.” However, if you choose a typical alternation between two voices deal type accompaniment then usually your fingering will control like: on beat one – fingers 1 and 4; beat two – fingers 3 and 5; beat three – fingers 2 and 4; beat four–fingers 1 and 3 or 5 (depending on octave position.)
Top 5 Facts About Playing “What Child Is This?” on the Piano
“What Child Is This?” is an all-time classic Christmas carol that people around the world love to perform. But how much do you really know about playing this tune on the piano? Here are five fascinating facts about “What Child Is This?” that every aspiring pianist should understand:
1) It Was Originally Written as a Poem, Not Music – The words to “What Child Is This?” date back as far as 1865 when William C. Dix crafted them for a poem entitled “The Manger Throne.” Over time, the lyrics were turned into music by English composer John Stainer, who wrote his own arrangement in 1871 and published it in 1887.
2) You Can Collide Multiple Keyboards – Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to play “What Child Is This?” simultaneously with multiple pianos or keyboards. All that’s required is that each player knows their part and their timing!
3) Its Different Versions Might Surprise You – While many believe only one version of “What Child Is This?” exists, there are actually several variations including (Purcell’s ) “Greensleeves Fantasy;” “Uses’s Tune;” traditional harmony choral arrangements like Aretz/Slane; rock renditions by Nirvana and Lizzo; and so much more! Everyone from soloists to choirs has adapted this beloved melody over the years.
4) Right Hand vs Left Hand Technique – Pianists tackling “What child is This?” must use both hands accordingly. The right hand provides melodic flourishes while the left maintains the chord structure and changes in tempo throughout – an important aspect of any piano performance!
5) Much More Than Just Notes – Playing this timeless anthem also requires a unique understanding of musical dynamics like note velocity, articulation accurate pitch bends – skills often overlooked by novice players but essential for producing emotive performances of well-known songs such as ‘What Child is this?’
These five facts illustrate just how complex yet rewarding playing “What Child Is This?” on the piano truly can be! Once these considerations are grasped by aspiring pianists, they can move forward with full confidence towards mastering this beautiful Christmas composition .