Play the Holiday Classic "Jingle Bells"

by Sean McGowan

While most people associate the holiday classic “Jingle Bells” with the Christmas holiday, American songwriter James Lord Pierpont originally composed the song to perform with his Sunday school class for Thanksgiving in 1850. Under its original title, “One Horse Open Sleigh,” the song’s purpose was to commemorate the popular sleigh races in Medford, Massachusetts, where Pierpont served as the music director for the local Unitarian church.

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Today, “Jingle Bells” and the holiday season are inseparable. This song is typically sung in a lively, swinging manner and to that end, I’ve arranged it in dropped-D tuning and a jubilant Chet Atkins/Jerry Reed style, with a Travis-style bass line on beats one and three. The first eight measures of my arrangement are shown below.

Excerpted from Holiday Songs for Fingerstyle Guitar

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