O Christmas Tree: Reharmonization and Lead Sheet

Its fun to take simple tunes and adding some new life to them by adding jazz chords, changing the style, time signature, etc.

In this lesson, I go through a tune that everyone knows and turn it into something that will work for playing straight from the leadsheet, or as a full blown arrangement.

Try your hand at this kind of thing on a regular basis and with some practice, it will become second nature for you.  Below the video you will find a link to the leadsheet in PDF.    Download it before you watch the video if you’d like.  You can easily make this into a 4/4 tune as well.   Try it! Let me know if you have any specific questions.

8 Replies to “O Christmas Tree: Reharmonization and Lead Sheet”

  1. Laurent Rinaldi

    as usual, very good stuff
    thanks Jim, i really enjoyed that lesson
    just an idea though, maybe you could show us how to voice this for, say, trumpet,alto, tenor 1 & 2 and trombone

  2. Jim Martin

    Laurent: Sure, I can do that, but maybe just 4 horns, tpt, alto, tenor, trombone. That’s more of a typical lineup. I’ll do that next.

  3. anthony williams

    Good work. Nice explanation of the process by that produced the reharmonization.
    Love the chord in bar 7. I haven’t used that approach in a while. I am working on some chord-melody arrangements and this would be handy. Thanks.

  4. David Michaels

    Jim, great stuff as usual. I will dl, analyze and listen to your comments about stepwise/up4-down5 reharm options. I suspect that you are taking something for granted with those comments (at least in my case) but I will figure it out.

    I want to ask a favor; you said you will do this for 4 horns. Can I push you to also do it for 3 horns (tpt/tenor/bone)? That would be quite helpful for me, to be able to compare the 3 and 4 horn arrangements. Sorry, I know I keep bugging you about 3 horn arrangements but it’s what I keep trying to do.

    As always, thanks for this site, Jim.

  5. Scott Taitoko

    The chord in bar 7 could also be thought of as a F diminished (with the major 7th and 9th in the chord voicing). I’ve noticed that this happens a lot in harmony (Idim7 to Imaj7). Good work Jim.

  6. Jim Martin

    Scott: Yes, that is another possibility there. As a side note, remember that you can add notes to diminished chords to make them more complex. Here’s the rule: any note a whole step above the notes of the diminished chord are fair game. So basically, any note of the diminished scale can be added to a diminished chord. Play two diminished 7th chords on top of each other on the piano and you’ll hear how it sounds. That might be something Thad Jones would do with a big band.

    So in this example the E and G were added to the F diminished chord. Oftentimes there are multiple ways to write a chord symbol for what is going on. I try to find the one that represents the chord function as best as possible and is still easy to understand for the player. Nice suggestion though!

  7. Salvador Gutierrez

    Hello, I’m new in the website, I have been looking for a site like this since long time ago, thanks God I found this.
    What you do is really interesting,but could you make a class about harmony, its rules and what you have to do and what not to do when harmonizing a song, because, some times I get lost when you are explainig why you choosed a specific chord for the melody.Just something basic for beginers. please
    Thanks

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