Learn to Play a Fingerstyle Arrangement of "Deck the Halls"

Posted by Sean McGowan

The famous melody of “Deck the Halls” is taken from a Welsh New Year’s Eve carol titled “Nos Galan,” dating back to the 18th century. While some of the English lyrics may seem puzzling—“Troll the ancient yuletide carol” springs to mind—this song is perfectly suited as an instrumental feature for solo guitar. (Troll, by the way, means “to sing loudly”!)

Deck the Halls 8BARS
Click to enlarge.

I set my solo-guitar arrangement in standard tuning in the key of E major. The song’s form is short and sweet—AABA with each section just four measures long. In this excerpt (the opening “AAB” from my first pass through the tune), the melody is set against open E and B strings, which create a Celtic-sounding drone. Let the melody and drone notes ring out and sustain for their full length.

Excerpted from Holiday Songs for Fingerstyle Guitar

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