O Holy Night sheet music for all instruments, free! Lead sheets, vocal duets, and piano versions in 3 keys, with Oh Holy Night lyrics as a PDF (bottom of this page) for easy printing. The beautiful soaring melody of this Christmas song has been winning hearts for over 150 years. (If you want an easier Middle C version of this song, go to this page.) Be sure to keep scrolling down to the bottom of the page for the vocal duets - they are there, I promise you!
Do you want to see your students' eyes light up? Just ask them if they have ever heard this Christmas song, and start to play the first line of "O Holy Night" chords. If they have ever heard it before, they will LONG to play it. Here is a moving video of the story told by "O Holy Night," Josh Groban singing:
Here is page 1 of the lead sheet O Holy Night sheet music, available here FREE in 4 keys:
Now for the piano arrangement...
It is the flowing chords that give the O Holy Night sheet music its special flavor. Never having found a version easy enough for my students but also lovely enough to want to play and work hard on, or even with which to accompany singers, I finally arranged my own version.
The chord pattern is different from the lilting chord inversion pattern usually heard with piano arrangements of O Holy Night, but my pattern frees the right hand to play the melody.
Here below are shown pages 1 & 3 of the O Holy Night sheet music, and now I am going to offer you a little music theory help, free!
This piano version of O Holy Night sheet music, in 3 keys, is for sale, $5.00 USD for unlimited copies of all 3 keys, for your students only. (If you have questions or doubts about the quality of the file, please visit other pages on my site where music is free to download. My graphic program, unfortunately, cannot show the beauty of these pages!)
When I start O Holy Night sheet music with my younger students, it is always in the key of C. I have them read and play the first left-hand chord, then tell me its name (C). Even though it seems like that should be pretty obvious, the doubling of the C at the octave can cause confusion, especially if they haven't played the chord built in that manner, and kids are sometimes cautious about advancing an opinion about a chord if it shows up in unfamiliar guise!
Then they play along for a few measures, right into the F/C chord, usually without noticing that the chord has changed!
I may take the point of my pencil and direct their attention to the "f" after the "c" in measure 4. When I ask them to analyze this chord, I may have to say "Look for the interval of a 4th. The note at the top of the 4th is the name of the chord" -- or perhaps I will make the chord myself, an octave higher, then point out the 3 notes of the F chord in root position. They always recognize chords in root position. This slash chord, the F over C, is so beautiful that we usually start over so we can experience it again without hesitation (or so much hesitation, at least!).
The left hand then moves back into the C chord for a couple measures, and then the hand drops to a "g" -- most kids will start immediately to form a G chord, so I give them a warning to read carefully -- "It looks like it might be a G chord, but is it?" Having just made the F/C slash chord, they are more wary, and usually recognize quickly that it is really a C chord -- a C over G, written "C/G".
On page 2, measure 29 of the O Holy Night sheet music (that page not shown here), the song moves briefly ("modulates") into the relative minor key of the key of C, Am. ("Fall... on your knees... ") We meet the Am chord, and its iv and v chords, which also happen to be the ii and iii chords of the key of C -- Dm and Am. (And if you didn't already know, the minor chords are designated with lower-case Roman numerals, not capitals as the major chords have.)
Now let's skip to page 3 of the O Holy Night sheet music...
After 2 pages of left hand chords in the same basic formation, finally something different in measures 43 & 44, just in time for the high point of the song!
Sometimes instead of having my students try to play those measures, I say, "Look at my hand. What am I doing?" and I perform the left hand only of those 2 measures. They see right away (since they can recognize chord inversions) that it is just a C chord inversion, broken, ascending. Then they try it.
That chord climbs and climbs and finally comes to rest at a simple F chord: it feels like a sigh of relief.
Later, when they are very familiar with the right hand and putting hands together, I suggest adding extra chord tones to some of the right hand notes. Actually, they are eager to do this themselves, once they understand that the extra notes are just part of the same chord!
And that is basically it. After thrashing through the left hand chords like this, the right hand is a breeze (except some kids will need help choosing fingering), so I frequently don't even go into it (depending on the student).
And now, O Holy Night lyrics and harmony part, for two voices!
Sing this free Christmas song for a church duet.
My easy soprano/alto arrangement of O Holy Night sheet music will not take long for your singers to master... for the most part, the harmony stays a third or a sixth below the melody, without any complicated maneuvers.
There is only one place where I broke the rules a little, with a spot where the harmony crosses over the melody's previous note (a forbidden move in elementary voice leading). But the harmony part in measure 28 is begging for a bit of drama, so I allow it to break out of the lower notes.
Here is the free vocal sheet music for Oh Holy Night, duet:
And a lovely rendition of my free duet version, posted at Youtube by Dave and Shirley in Canada (thanks, Dave & Shirley - & Chris!):
Here are the Oh Holy Night lyrics, useful for sing-alongs, or just for saving paper!
The wonderful thing about a song like "O Holy Night" is that it is so motivating to play, for the sheer pleasure of hearing it come together, that kids will work and work on it. I have seen a lot of smiles lately, passing out this piece.
GET THE PIANO SOLO MUSIC, $5.00 for 3 keys, Bb, C, & D (this piano piece can be used to accompany the vocals, but is a stand-alone arrangement):