Experiment with Tempo In This Excerpt from “Silent Night”

Posted by Sean McGowan

This arrangement cycles through the song twice, with a second ending that extends the form slightly, spotlighting the beautiful vi–#iv7b5 cadence (F#m7–D#m7b5 in the key of A) that has become a signature part of the song. Beginning in measure 30, each D#m7b5 chord (aka “half-diminished”) layers a chord tone on top of the previous voicing, building up to the five-note voicing in measure 34.

Silent Night - Second Ending
Click to enlarge.

Measure 35 is notated in 4/4 time but is meant to be played as a free-flowing phrase starting with a pause on the Dmaj7 chord. Feel free to play with the tempo throughout the second ending, adding pauses where you see (or hear) fit. After a ii7–V7 (Bm7–E7) cadence in measures 36 and 37, the song concludes with an A6/9 chord featuring artificial harmonics plucked at the 16th and 14th frets on the G, B, and high E strings.

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