Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Video lesson available

Level: Int/Adv     Tuning: Standard Tuning

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Includes Transcription and 30 minute Video lesson

This is one of my favourite songs for the Christmas season. The title says it all.

Have Yourself Merry Little Christmas was written for the 1944 film Meet Me In St. Louis, starring Judy Garland. Garland balked at singing the original lyrics because she felt they were too sad for the scene the song appears in. Hugh Martin, the lyricist, reluctantly rewrote some of the lines to make it more hopeful sounding. In subsequent years a couple of more tweeks were made as the song evolved into the version we’re familiar with today.

Here’s an interesting article that traces the evolution of the lyrics. Its interesting to see in recent years a number of artists rediscovering and recording the original lyrics. Perhaps this a sign of today’s pervading cynicism.

Regardless of the version of the lyrics you prefer, the melody always wraps me in a warm, cozy blanket of nostalgia when I hear it. So I chose to arrange it beginning with a slow, meditative tone. The change up to a jazz waltz feel at the bridge felt like a nice contrast and leads into a upbeat final verse before finally returning to a reflective mood for the ending.

If you find my arrangement a bit too laid back and need more of a kick in your eggnog, you might want to check out Twisted Sister’s version.

For the guitarists, a half hour video lesson and transcription of this arrangement is available.