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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