Free Online Christmas Music
Bring a Torch
Free online Christmas music in Middle C position to print out for your beginners. Bring a Torch is a beautiful old French carol (called "Un flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle" in French) with a lilting, singable melody.
Listen to this lovely arrangement by Loreena McKennitt (available at Amazon.com), sounding like the late Middle Ages French dance tune that it is (at about 40 seconds it changes temporarily to "I Saw Three Ships" with wonderful contrasting instrumentation):
Here is the free online Christmas music Bring a Torch with melody only, in Middle C position:
But don't leave it like that! Turn this free online Christmas music into a duet with your student by showing them how to use chords in inversions (like a cadence), then using them as a rhythmic element.
Give them the melody first, so they have some time to get familiar with it. Then, when they are secure with the melody, switch and have them play the chords.
Download free online Christmas music Bring a Torch with chord symbols
I'd start with a simple pattern of one chord per measure -- LH and RH together. Use full or open chords, whichever your student prefers, or even both: an open chord in LH, and a full triad in RH (c,e,g).
Once this comes easily, try incorporating a rhythm of half-note, quarter; half-note, quarter (1-2, 3; 1-2, 3).
It will seem hard to make the change from C to F and G quickly, playing chords in root position, so here is where those chord inversions and cadences they have been learning take on new meaning:
This approach sounds a bit heavy, but we will alter the thickness of the chords after they've mastered the progression.
However, playing these chords may not be easy unless students are familiar and comfortable with the I-IV-V chord patterns. My students start learning the relationships of the "3 main chords" early on, as soon as they can play triads well. (Take a look at my 12 Major Scales page, especially the Key of C, #1 - 5.)
Here is one more way to use the chords in this Christmas song:
Learning how to move from C to F to G chords while staying "at home" by the C chord opens up lots of musical possibilities and choices for pianists, especially when accompanying musical groups!
Wikipedia says this about the carol:
"Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella" (French: Un flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle) is a Christmas carol which originated from the Provence region of France in the 16th century. The song is unique among Christmas carols in that it is in 3/8 time.
The carol was first published in 1553 in France, and was subsequently translated into English in the 18th century. The song was originally not a song to be sung at Christmas, but rather dance music for French nobility.
The carol tells the story of two milkmaids, Jeanette and Isabella, who go to milk their cows in a stable in Bethlehem, only to find the baby Jesus sleeping in the manger. The two girls run to town to tell the village of the coming of Christ, and the townspeople come with their own torches to view the sight for themselves. However, they have to keep their voices down so little Jesus can enjoy his dreams. To this day in the Provence region, children dress up as shepherds and milkmaids, carrying torches and candles to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, while singing the carol."
Below, I have put the Christmas song lyrics to Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella in PDF format (English and also French) so you can download and print them off easily:
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Carrie,Voice and Piano Teacher:
This site is FABULOUS. For all the reasons you explain on the site itself--this is exactly what piano teachers need! (I still need to go look at the vocal music). Wow. THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Hi, I want to thank you for such a wonderful and educational website. I have found all the information you have posted and your comments immensely helpful, and I am grateful for your posting it. I am sure you are an awesome teacher and person. I am a beginner piano student, so many thanks and Happy New Year.
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I love your site! It has been an incredible resource for me as a Music teacher. I love your ideas and the music you share...
Miggy, United Kingdom:
I've just found your website and I think I've died and gone to heaven. I've just taken up the piano again after 35 years absence... buying sheet music was getting expensive/a luxury. The tips are great too. I also live in the middle of nowhere so buying from a shop is not really an option unless I fancy a 120 mile round trip for a piece of sheet music!
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I used to teach piano lessons, and then did not for a number of years. Now, suddenly, I have 3 beginning students and I am thrilled. I was looking for printable scales and found your wonderful website. Thank you so much. I know this will be a big help to me and my students.
THIS SITE IS AMAZING!!... Thank you so much for your hard work getting these on the web, you have made many children very happy!!
Thank you. Just wanted to say I found your website by mistake but what a blessing it has been. I am a missionary wife living in Spain (for many, many years) and I teach piano to Spanish children and adults. I have the barrier of very few usable things in Spanish, and can so identify with the need to write things suitable for the student...
Thank you for the free downloads! I'm a private teacher and I teach piano and beginner voice as well. :) I've been running my studio for about a year and I've come across the same issue; I don't want my students to have to purchase an entire supplemental book for only a couple of songs. So thank you for this site...some great downloads!!
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