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What's your favorite holiday song book?


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For working with a group, I prefer a 'fake book' approach... for solo piano, the Reader's Digest Christmas songbook has decent arrangements that can be sight-read. Words, chord symbols, and guitar tabs are also in there... and the words alone are also provided in a seperate booklet that you can duplicate and hand out to your drunken guests.







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Yes, I grew up on the Reader's Digest book. It was my grandmother's and was actually the only thing I wanted when she died.


One of my aunts got it though, so I did some research and replaced it with Hal Leonard\'s "The Best Christmas Songs Ever" (not the "Easy Piano" version).


I like the arrangements, many are the original copyrights from when they were first published in the 40's, etc. The chords are mostly correct and the notation is clear and lyrics easy to read for people standing behind you.


Now, when I say I researched it, I mean it. I went to Hal Leonard's site and grabbed the song lists from all their piano/vocal/guitar Christmas books. Then I parsed them with a perl script to find the intersections. You see, Hal Leonard prints the same songs, same arrangements, in several books.


Basically it was down to which book had the most songs I'd most likely play. The glaring omission from the book I ended up getting was "Bring a Torch Jeanette Isabella" but it had a bunch more modern songs that are all the rage these days, so it was a fair compromise.


I knew I should have saved that perl script...


Best Ever


Big Book


I like these books better than the fakebooks, because you get chords and lyrics like a fakebook, but my wife can also sit down and play a solo arrangement if she wants. And the arrangements are good, not just LH chord and RH melody.

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Originally posted by Phil W:

The best approach, seriously is to work out the tunes by ear and do your own harmonisation - it's fun too.

That's basically the approach I used. I made my own lead sheets years ago.


Go to the library and get a few Christmas books. Write the melodies out, spend a little time choosing your chords and print the suckers out.


It's better to start this project in July. ;)

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.


In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.


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Originally posted by Dave Horne:

... It's better to start this project in July. ;)

Yes, I'm probably doing this for next year. The problem for me in doing my own arrangements is trying to avoid sounding the same on many songs. I like good arrangements to push me in other directions. Things I would not thing of. Once I learn the song I can always changes things that I do not like.



This post edited for speling.

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