Learn to Play "Silent Night"
Joseph Mohr, an assistant pastor, wrote a poem called “Stille Nacht” that was meant for Christmas Eve service. The organ, however, was broken. Franz Gruber, the church organist, composed the melody and arranged it for voice and guitar on the spot, just in time for midnight mass. So the song “Silent Night” came into being back in 1818.
The tune is in 3/4, a time signature most commonly found in a waltz. The strum pattern is one bass note followed by two strums. We’ve arranged it in the key of E, which is very much a guitar key. The song should be played quietly, like a lullaby. In music terminology, derived from the Italian, quietly is referred to as piano.
Excerpted from Christmas Songs for Beginning Guitar