Christmas! What do you associate this word with? Christmas tree, Santa Claus, snow, bright lights, the smell of Christmas cakes, pine needles and citrus, and of course music! We all know a lot of Christmas songs, but the most famous and favorite of them is perhaps Jingle Bells.
This brief tutorial will explain the history of the Christmas song Jingle Bells and show you how to play it on the piano.
Christmas music is the biggest hit of all time in several ways. The pop charts never see them. However, they are timeless and universally relatable enough for all people to play and sing. Jingle Bells is a prime example.
This Christmas song is a fantastic spot to start honing your piano abilities if you’re a novice. Playing easy piano tunes like Jingle Bells is fun and enjoyable, especially during the holiday season!
Continue reading to learn how to play Jingle Bells on the piano and discover some of the song’s history.
- 1 The history of Jingle Bells
- 2 Is Jingle Bells an easy song for beginners?
- 3 How to Play Jingle Bells on the Piano With Letters?
- 4 Jingle Bells – Very Easy Piano Sheet Music & Tutorial
- 5 How to Play Jingle Bells in a Jazz Style?
- 6 Want to find more sheet music?
- 7 Playing Jingle Bells on Piano – Summary
The history of Jingle Bells
The most well-known and well-loved Christmas tune of all time is perhaps Jingle Bells. You might not be aware that American composer James Lord Pierpont was the author of this piece (1822 to 1893).
His composition of “Jingle Bells” was his most commercially successful work. He had given the song the title “The One Horse Open Sleigh” when it was first released in 1857. It’s ironic because Pierpont was in Savannah, Georgia, where it rarely snows.
Is Jingle Bells an easy song for beginners?
Jingle Bells is an incredibly popular song. Nowadays, there are many different options for different musical instruments and different levels of training. Among them, you will find the easiest options for beginner students and difficult virtuoso pieces for an advanced level.
In our article, we will look at 3 options for how to play Jing Bells on the piano – starting with the simplest option, which is suitable for the first piano lessons and will reach a more difficult jazz version of this song.
How to Play Jingle Bells on the Piano With Letters?
Everyone wants to learn how to play one of the most well-known tunes throughout the holiday season. What if I told you that it isn’t actually that difficult to learn how to perform a Christmas tune on the piano?
You are capable of doing it. Here’s how to play Jingle Bells on the piano using the lettered sheet music.
With the help of this quick piano lesson, you can play Jingle Bells in about five minutes!
Jingle Bells is very simple to perform on the piano using letters. Not even sheet music reading is necessary! Let’s begin!
How to Find Middle C on the Piano?
Find the two black keys in the center of the piano, right under the manufacturer’s name, which is embossed on the keyboard or piano. The white key to the left of the pair of black keys is the Middle C. It is called Middle C because it is located in the center of the piano keyboard.
Another way. Start at the bottom of the keyboard (far left) and count up 4 groups of two black keys to locate middle C. C is the first white key on the left of each pair of two black-key groups. From the left to the middle of the keyboard, count up to four C. Given that it is the fourth C on the piano, the middle C — also known as C4 — is what is being used here.
How Many Notes are There in Jingle Bells?
For this song, you only need 5 notes! Each note corresponds to one of the fingers of your hand:
C-1, D-2, E-3, F-4, G-5
We start playing the song with the third finger – with the note E.
E-E-E E-E-E E-G-C-D-E
3-3-3 3-3-3 3-5-1-2-3
F-F-F-F E-E-E E-D-D-E-D G
4-4-4-4 3-3-3 3-2-2-3-2 5
E-E-E E-E-E E-G-C-D-E
3-3-3 3-3-3 3-5-1-2-3
F-F-F-F E-E-E-E G-G-F-D-C
4-4-4-4 3-3-3-3 5-5-4-2-1
Jingle Bells just only five notes and five fingers to perform on the piano. This simple variation may be learned in about five minutes by anyone. It follows that you just need to memorize the five keys on the keyboard that are situated naturally beneath your right hand’s fingertips. Anyone can play this tune, even beginners!
Jingle Bell Letters for Piano Players
Jingle Bells – Very Easy Piano Sheet Music & Tutorial
For those who already know how to read piano notes, I offer another version of this song. Beginner students can play the melody separately, and more advanced students can add chords.
Right Hand – Melody
Prior to adding the left hand, learn the right hand first so that you can play it with ease. To do this, follow these steps:
- Clap along to the rhythm as you sing the song. Set a moderately modest pace.
- Place your right hand in the correct position on the keyboard. 1 finger should be on the Middle C key.
- Play a melody very slowly and sing along to the names of the notes.
- Play very slowly and sing with words.
- Pay attention to the rhythm! Slowly play the first phrase and count 4 beats in the bar. Each quarter note corresponds to one beat and the half to two.
- Therefore, add the following musical phrases.
- Finally, play the whole melody!
Once you’ve mastered your right hand, move on to the chords!
Left Hand – Chords
In order to learn chords, you need to be able to read notes in the bass key. If you have any difficulties with the bass wrench – read this article!
Follow these steps to learn chords:
- Place your left hand on the keyboard so that your fifth finger is on note C3.
- In order to play the first chord, you need to press three C-E-G notes at the same time. To do this, you need 1-3-5 fingers. If this is difficult, you can skip the middle note (E).
- Point out that the chord is played each time the word Jingle appears on the first beat of the bar.
- In the fourth bar, the chord must be played 2 times – along with the word Way at the first beat and separately at the third beat.
- Try to repeat each phrase several times.
- In the last sentence, pay attention to the second – F-G. It needs to be played with 1 and 2 fingers.
- Finally, play all the chords!
When you have mastered your left hand – try to play the melody along with the chords!
Believe me, you will have great fun playing this song with two hands!
How to Play Jingle Bells in a Jazz Style?
Perhaps the option with chords seems too simple to you and you want something more interesting? Then I suggest you learn this song in a jazz style!
Let’s start with jazz improvisation, and below you will find the sheet music of 2 stunning jazz arrangements of this song for the intermediate level.
Step 1: Swing Your 8th Notes
The first step is to swing the melody. Play eighth notes unevenly. The first note is played longer and the second is shorter.
Step 2: Add an Open-Swing Bass Line
The second step is the bass. In jazz, there are two common variants – a walking bass line or an open-swing bass line.
Let’s take the open-swing bass line. You remember that we used to play chords with half notes – 1 and 3 beats per bar.
Instead of chords, play the bass note for the first and third beats in the measure, and play the top note of the chord as the eighth note after the second and fourth beats.
Step 3: Syncopate Your Melody
You have already replaced the eighth notes in the melody with swing notes and chords in the open bass line. There are still quarter notes in the melody. I suggest playing them with syncopations.
Step 4: Add Chord Extensions and Alterations
What can you do next once you have a rhythmic melody and bass? Now the song has a lovely “swing” feel, but harmony is still missing. Harmony notes must be used to fill up the space between the tune and bass sounds.
Chord changes and extensions are the essential solutions for doing this.
Here are some ways:
- Add the 6 to Major Chords
- Add the 7 and 2 (also called the 9) to the Minor Chords
- Add the 2 to Dominant 7 Chords
- Add Roll-Ups to Chords
Step 5: Putting it All Together
Put all of these components together when you’ve added them, then focus on a dynamic performance. Don’t be hesitant to emphasize specific melody notes and invest yourself fully in the performance.
Jazz arrangements for piano
Jingle Bells – Bass Lines
Jingle Bells – Rhythmic Devices
Want to find more sheet music?
If you want to find more free sheet music for piano Christmas songs, I suggest you visit a special website. There you will find many songs for beginners as well as more advanced ones.
Playing Jingle Bells on Piano – Summary
Here we come to the end of our article. Today we talked about the wonderful piece Jingle Bells and learned how to play it on the piano in different ways – easy lettering, beginner sheet music, and jazz improvisation.
Due to the fact that this song is very popular, you can find many more options for any skill level!
I also suggest that you do not forget about other holiday music – such songs as Carrol of the Bells, Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, Silent Night, O Christmas Tree, and others.
And here you can find interesting and unusual gift ideas for pianists for the holidays!
Thank you for reading to the end! Listen to this wonderful performance for inspiration!
Hello! My name is Lucy.
I am a musician, pianist, and piano teacher with over 10 years of experience. I, along with my professional team, created this website. Here I want to share my experience and knowledge with you. I write articles about learning the piano, its features and history, and reviews of the best digital pianos and accessories.
I hope my site will be useful to you!