Timothy's Blog

Timothy's blog on dulcimers, music, nature and life!

Practice scales with four Christmas carols!

Practice scales with four Christmas carols!

As I play Christmas carols, I find that some of the most beloved ones are constructed out of large segments of the diatonic scale, and perhaps that contributes to people’s love for them!

At any rate, if you play a musical instrument and want to practice your scales while making festive holiday melody, here are the ones I’ve noticed are like that:

‘Joy to the World’ actually begins with a run directly down the scale, then spends the rest of the tune exploring various scale patterns. Lowell Mason got his idea apparently from something he heard by George F. Handel --- not so shoddy!

‘Away in a Manger’, by James Murray, runs directly down the scale too, but it starts and ends at the halfway point, the fifth scale step, and it doubles a couple of the notes before moving on.

‘The First Noel’ is an amazingly scale-based melody, starting on the third scale step, moving down to the first, then all the way up the scale to the octave.

We might also add the French tune ‘Angels We Have Heard on High’, which has the famous ‘Gloria in excelsis Deo’ in a beautiful series of cascading scale patterns.

There are more, I’m sure, but these are the ones that come to mind. Do you know of others? Let me know!

Merry Christmas!

Three chords for every scale step!
Born Fighting: Our Scots-Irish heritage


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