Jazz Reharmonization of Silent Night | Download

Its fun to take tunes, especially ones that have little in the way of harmony, and spice them up some by “reharmonizing” them. Melodies are just melodies until chord changes are added to them to add give them some color, emotion and “spices” using jazz harmony.

Reharmonizing tunes should be something that you practice regularly. Even if you are not a piano player by trade, you should have a good conception of how to reharmonize melodies in a jazz style.

In this video, I show you and play for you the reharmonization I did on the classic Christmas melody Silent Night. This tune was written with basically just three chords – the I, IV and V7 chords. Pretty boring. With some extra jazz chords added, the tune becomes a nice tune to play in a jazz setting, as a solo piece, or even a trio or quartet. The changes are now fun to blow solos on.

Hope you like this video and it gives you some insight into what you can do with simple melodies like this.

 

21 Replies to “Jazz Reharmonization of Silent Night | Download”

  1. Mike

    Thanks Jim, this was very helpful, looking forward to seeing more.

    Just thought I’d let you know, when I go to download the leadsheet I get this message:

    You do not have permission to view this file.

    Thanks again

    Mike

  2. Jim Martin

    Thanks Mike, it downloads fine for me. Check your Adobe reader version maybe. Anyone else having trouble getting the leadsheet?

  3. Barry How

    I’m having the same problem as Mike – can’t download the leadsheet ( using Mozilla Firefox as my internet service
    cheers
    Baz

  4. Ken

    Thanks, Jim… Your reharmonizing lesson is great. I have about 12 students in my music theory class and if it is okay with you I’d like to invite them to participate in your classes as well.
    Thanks again,
    Ken

  5. CARLOS GOMEZ

    GRACIAS JIM:

    TUS CORREOS SON DE MUCHA IMPORTANCIA PARA MI PERSONA , ADEMAS DE SER DE GRAN AYUDA ,ESTAS REARMONIZACIONES DE LA PIEZA NAVIDEÑA SON INTEREZANTES,ESTOY SIEMPRE ATENTO DE TUS CORREOS
    TU HERMANO EN GUATEMALA

    CARLOS GOMEZ
    BIG-BAND
    CASA BLANCA

  6. Ed Hite

    Hello Mr. Martin:

    First of all, thank you so much for giving back to the music community. As I always tell my students, pass it forward.

    I enjoyed your reharmonization of Silent Night. A suggestion for the second measure, that I like to use, is a Bb7-5(#11) with the E melody note on the top of the chord. (Still using key of C).

    Thanks for your time and talent.

  7. Jim Martin

    Ed: Thanks for the Bb13(#11) suggestion. I did almost use that chord in that spot, but I decided on the G13sus because it sounded a little more floaty and not so abrupt, being the 2nd chord of the tune. I also wanted to save that chord for the end where I used it after the Ami7 chord. Using a chord like that too much could become too much and somewhat contrived. It would work find though otherwise.

  8. Tony

    Hi Jim, really enjoying the online lessons . . . . keep em comin’

    Not being a piano player myself just wondered if you could post a “play through” of Silent Night?

    All the best,

    Tony.

  9. Jim Martin

    Tony: someone else asked me about playing Silent Night all the way through, so I’ll work on that. I can’t do it with the little keyboard I have so I’ll crack out the webcam and see if I can get a decent recording of the tune. Look for it soon.

  10. Paul

    How nice to find a site that seems to be giving rather than taking.The first couple of lessons I have looked at have already given me some ideas.By the way Im from England and I havent found anything like this site over here!

  11. Jim Martin

    Paul: Thanks for the compliments on the site. I hope that eventually the site will be a nice repository for a variety of jazz arranging and jazz composition stuff.

    I would like to also do some classes (maybe 9 weeks or something) that takes a certain composer or arranger and breaks down the style into a learnable format. Then class members will have the opportunity to write something in that person’s style.

    I had a class in my Master’s program where we had to write a chart in a different style every week, starting with Ragtime, then to Dixieland, etc. It was really challenging and I learned alot. That might be a good possibility too for a class.

    So there will be some stuff down the road that there is a fee for, but that won’t be for awhile yet. I want to add to the site over the next year of so so that basic arranging and theory questions are already covered on the site on a free basis.

  12. Ethan

    Thanks a lot for this great little insight into the mind of the Martin. Last night I was inspired to do an X-mas reharmonization of my own; Away in a Manger. 🙂

  13. Grant Freeman

    Hi Jim: I also did a reharmonization of Silent Night where I decided that all the bass movement had to be by half steps. If you can spare some time to look at it I’l send it to you. I’m not absolutely sure of my nomenclature so I would also send you a mp3. Let me know how to send it.

    Grant

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