'Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem' Arranged for Solo Guitar
It's Christmas and that can only mean one thing. Carols!
A lot of carols sound fantastic when played on solo guitar. The melodies are so well-known and so strong that you don't always have to add much around the tune to create something really musical and interesting. But if you do want to go further the option is certainly there.
When I created this arrangement of 'Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem' I was listening to a lot of Joe Pass and Tuck Andress, and their influence certainly shaped my playing and arranging at time. There are a lot of passing chords and tension notes; a lot of movement along the neck of the instrument; and the challenge of changing chords on almost every beat yet maintaining some sense of legato with the changes so that the melody has a sense of flow to it. This can be a challenge when playing solo guitar in this style. The melody note needs to ring for as long as possible yet with so many shapes not employing open strings it can be hard to achieve this.
My advice would be to practice difficult shapes very slowly and get used to the fingers progressing from one chord to the next as smoothly as possible. Also ensure you employ good muting technique with both hands to stop unwanted string noises.
As a solo instrumentalist, you can let the tempo wander as you see fit. Being able to play in strict time is important, but in a piece like this pausing on certain chords or phrases, or perhaps rushing through a few notes and then laying back can really add to the performance.
This arrangement was notated in Sibelius, which is an ideal tool for writing and arranging your own ideas. If you have have any questions about Sibelius or other music notion packages please don't hesitate to call us on (02) 9520 0344 or send us an email.