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⭐ Official Review [Single]: 4. "MERRY CHRISTMAS DARLING"/"MR. GUDER" (1236-S)

JohnFB

Well-Known Member
One of the two main hobbies I took up after I retired was playing piano (the other one was clay target shooting) - I'm teaching myself to play and have been at it for more than a few years now - at the moment I'm learning "Merry Christmas, Darling" (trying to memorize it) - I have two versions, both of intermediate difficulty - the first is in a collection of Christmas songs edited by Dan Coates, one of the most prolific compilers/editors of songbooks for piano, and the other is the version that appears in the Carpenter's "Anthology" - the first is in the key of C Major and the second in the key of Bb Major - my arrangement plan is to combine them such that I'll play the first all the way through in C to the first ending and then when the song returns to the bridge ("The lights on my tree I wish you could see...") switch to the version in Bb - can anyone suggest a 1 measure, 4 beat chord transition or progression from C to Bb so that the change is not too abrupt? Or would an abrupt switch, with no transition, be more effective?
 

Guitarmutt

Well-Known Member
One of the two main hobbies I took up after I retired was playing piano (the other one was clay target shooting) - I'm teaching myself to play and have been at it for more than a few years now - at the moment I'm learning "Merry Christmas, Darling" (trying to memorize it) - I have two versions, both of intermediate difficulty - the first is in a collection of Christmas songs edited by Dan Coates, one of the most prolific compilers/editors of songbooks for piano, and the other is the version that appears in the Carpenter's "Anthology" - the first is in the key of C Major and the second in the key of Bb Major - my arrangement plan is to combine them such that I'll play the first all the way through in C to the first ending and then when the song returns to the bridge ("The lights on my tree I wish you could see...") switch to the version in Bb - can anyone suggest a 1 measure, 4 beat chord transition or progression from C to Bb so that the change is not too abrupt? Or would an abrupt switch, with no transition, be more effective?
Gonna take a stab at this, though Chris May here is really the resident expert. I have the Bb music, never seen it in C. My first suggestion is try a bass line in your left hand. Start simple: Single eighth notes: step up, two down, step up two down. It sounds like Christmas. So, single eigth notes as experiment: F-G-Eb-F-Db-Eb-C- eigth note rest (leading into ‘the’) -Db chord(on ‘lights’) which puts you in the Bb key. I think.
I like the idea of downward modulation. It’s so rare. I hope it works. I think it will. Think of this suggestion merely as that, an idea that may lead to a foundation for something more.

That line is meant to be played in one measure. Don’t be afraid to use rubato; take a breath, take your time.
 
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Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Most key modulations go up. It's pretty rare to see one go down a key. I've seen a piece start in one key, modulate up, and then go back down to the original key.
 

JohnFB

Well-Known Member
Gonna take a stab at this, though Chris May here is really the resident expert. I have the Bb music, never seen it in C. My first suggestion is try a bass line in your left hand. Start simple: Single eighth notes: step up, two down, step up two down. It sounds like Christmas. So, single eigth notes as experiment: F-G-Eb-F-Db-Eb-C- eigth note rest (leading into ‘the’) -Db chord(on ‘lights’) which puts you in the Bb key. I think I like the idea of downward modulation. It’s so rare. I hope it works. I think it will. Think of this suggestion merely as that, an idea that may lead to a foundation for something more.

That line is meant to be played in one measure. Don’t be afraid to use rubato; take a breath, take your time.
I definitely want to playing that Db chord on the word "lights", but maybe also on the word "the" leading into that measure - "the" is slurred across 2 eighth notes (Db-E) in the Bb version - the word "you" at the beginning of the last measure is carried by the middle C note in both versions, so there may be only 2 beats (4 eighth notes) to get from a CMajor chord to Db chord - I'll play with your suggestion to see how it works or can be adapted - thanks for this...

And rubato here would match the rubato used in the transition from the intro into the 1st verse ("...a special one for you.") I'm really excited to be working on this beautiful song - hope I can get it "under my fingers" before Christmas...
 

Guitarmutt

Well-Known Member
I definitely want to playing that Db chord on the word "lights", but maybe also on the word "the" leading into that measure - "the" is slurred across 2 eighth notes (Db-E) in the Bb version - the word "you" at the beginning of the last measure is carried by the middle C note in both versions, so there may be only 2 beats (4 eighth notes) to get from a CMajor chord to Db chord - I'll play with your suggestion to see how it works or can be adapted - thanks for this...

And rubato here would match the rubato used in the transition from the intro into the 1st verse ("...a special one for you.") I'm really excited to be working on this beautiful song - hope I can get it "under my fingers" before Christmas...
I am curious to see/hear what works out. Have fun!!
 

Guitarmutt

Well-Known Member
Most key modulations go up. It's pretty rare to see one go down a key. I've seen a piece start in one key, modulate up, and then go back down to the original key.
Right!!!? So, fun. Why not? Curious what comes of it!!!
 
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