The 10 most beautiful Christmas pieces to play on the piano
Just a few weeks left before the holidays! Easily learn to play some traditional Christmas carols for those close to you. In this article, we’re offering you a selection of the most beautiful Christmas pieces to play on the piano. For each piece, we have included a link to the piano scores available in several levels: beginner, easy, intermediate and advanced.
Discover too our Collections of the most beautiful Christmas music for the piano in several levels, available with a 20% discount.
1. Joy to the world
“Joy to the World” is one of the oldest and most popular traditional carols in the United States. In 1719, the British intellectual Isaac Watts published a book of poems, each one based on a psalm. One of them was written following Psalm 98 in the Bible.
In 1839, this text was put to music by Lowell Mason using an old melody said to have been by Handel (probably, as the theme of the chorus seems to correspond with the orchestral overture and accompaniment of the recitative Comfort ye from Messiah and the first four notes could have been inspired by Glory to God and Lift up your heads from the same oratorio.) Nevertheless, Handel did not compose the melody.
Isaac Watts wrote the words “Joy to the World” not as a celebration of the Nativity, but as a hymn glorifying the coming of Christ at the end of time.
Discover the Tomplay scores of “Joy to the World“ for solo piano in several levels and take advantage of the separate hands feature: practice just one hand, accompanied by a high-quality recording of the other hand.
2. Silent Night, Holy Night
This story takes place in 1818 in the Austrian Alps. On 23rd December in Oberndorf, a village near Salzburg, they were supposed to be re-enacting the birth of Christ in the little church of Saint Nicolas.
Unfortunately, the priest of Saint Nicolas parish church in Oberndorf had to deal with a disaster: the organ had been put out of action by mice (others said by rust) and it was impossible to get it repaired before the evening service.
Father Joseph Mohr wasn’t a man to give up, though: he ran to fetch a poem he had written several years before, called “Stille Nacht” (“Silent Night”).
He gave his poem to the schoolteacher and organist in the neighbouring village, Franz Xaver Gruber, and asked him to write a melody to accompany his work on the guitar.
Some hours later, the carol was played for the first time that evening during the Christmas Eve service in the little church of Saint Nicolas.
Discover the Tomplay scores of “Silent Night, Holy Night“ for solo piano or with an orchestral accompaniment in several levels and take advantage of the many features offered by Tomplay.
3. All I Want for Christmas is You
“All I Want for Christmas is You" features at the top of the list of the favourite Anglophone Christmas songs. It was written by Walter Afanasieff and Mariah Carey and recorded by the latter.
Following the success of her 1993 album Music Box, Mariah Carey and her team had the idea of recording a Christmas album. At the time, it wasn’t common practice among musicians; covering or writing Christmas songs only became popular again after this.
This Christmas song is already 25 years old, but still sounds fresh. Discover the Tomplay scores of “All I Want for Christmas is You“ for solo piano or with an orchestral accompaniment in several levels and take advantage of the many features offered by Tomplay.
4. We Wish You a Merry Christmas
“We Wish You a Merry Christmas" was composed in the 16th century and originates from the West Country in England, from a time when penniless artists would sing for wealthy listeners.
It was popularised by the composer and conductor Arthur Warrell. He arranged the melody for his own Madrigal Singers at the University of Bristol and played it with them in concert in December 1935.
In the same year, his arrangement was published by the Oxford University Press publishing house under the title “A Merry Christmas” and has been able to cross the ages, being always played and sung.
Discover the Tomplay scores of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas“ for solo piano or with an orchestral accompaniment and also in its Jazz version in several levels and take advantage of the many features offered by Tomplay.
5. Carol of the Bells
The “Carol of the Bells” is based on the melody of an old Ukranian folk song called Shchedryk.
It was written in 1916 by the Ukranian composer and music teacher Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych.
The original title of the song means “the little swallow” and tells the story of a bird who flies into a house and tells the family how great the next year will be for them.
It was originally a song to be sun in celebration of the new year.
Discover the Tomplay scores of the “Carol of the Bells“ for solo piano in several levels and take advantage of the many features offered by Tomplay.
6. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Hugh Martin and Ralph Blaine wrote “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” for the Judy Garland film Meet Me in Saint Louis, released in 1944, as well as dozens of other songs for MGM and Broadway musicals.
The song “started with the melody”, Martin said. “I found a little melody I liked that was a little like a madrigal, but which seemed to me couldn’t work, so I played it for two or three days and then threw it in the trash.”
Fortunately, Blaine heard the melody and convinced Martin that it was too good to throw away.
Discover the Tomplay scores of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas“ for solo piano in several levels and take advantage of the many features offered by Tomplay.
7. Jingle Bells
James Pierpont, a character described as being an opportunist without a great deal of compassion, composed “Jingle Bells” for Thanksgiving. It was supposed to be a drinking song.
It was published for the first time in Boston in 1857 under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh”. It is one of the most well-known Christmas songs in the world. In particular, it was sung by Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash in 1956 as the Million Dollar Quartet.
Adapted into French by Francis Blanche in 1948 under the title “Vive le vent”, it is very popular in France and has been sung by many singers such as Dalida, Mireille Mathieu and even, recently, Mika.
Discover the Tomplay scores of “Jingle Bells“ for solo piano, piano for four hands and even in a Jazz version in several levels and take advantage of the many features offered by Tomplay.
8. The First Noël
The popular Christmas carol “The First Noël” dates back to the 13th or 14th century, at the time when medieval civilisation was at its height in Europe and was probably transmitted orally. It tells the story of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem.
“Aujourd’hui le Roi des Cieux” is the French version of “The First Noël”. Both have the same melody, but the words are different.
The song has been sung by various popular French artists and is often sung by choirs at Christmas time.
Discover the Tomplay scores of “The First Noël“ for solo piano and take advantage of the many features offered by Tomplay.
9. Il est né le divin enfant ("He is born the divine Child")
“Il est né le divin enfant” has crossed the centuries. It is a song which contains a very important announcement, informing the world of Jesus’ birth which, if we believe the text, has been long awaited.
This song was published for the first time in 1863 in a collection of Christmas airs from Lorraine brought together by the organist of the Cathedral of Saint-Dié, Jean-Romain Grosjean.
Its melody comes from a 17th century French hunting air, “La Tête bizarde”.
Discover the Tomplay scores of “Il est né le divin enfant“ for solo piano and take advantage of the many features offered by Tomplay.
10. O Christmas Tree
Many legends exist to explain the fact that the fir tree has become the Christmas tree par excellence. One of the most popular stories is that of a priest who cut down an oak to put a stop to a ritual. When it fell, the oak destroyed everything in its path, except for a very little fir tree.
“O Christmas Tree” is a Christmas song of German origin “O Tannenbaum”). The first known version of the words dates from 1550 and another version was written by Melchior Franck in 1615.
But the most famous version is based on a traditional air and text from 1824, composed in German by Ernst Anschütz, an organist and teacher in Leipzig.
This song has been translated into many languages and, since 1939, has been the official hymn of the State of Maryland in the United States.
Discover the Tomplay scores of “O Christmas Tree“ for solo piano and take advantage of the many features offered by Tomplay.