- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
originally published at Insane Guitar, 2003
One of my favorite pieces of Christmas music is “Do You Hear What I
Hear?”. No only is it a gorgeous piece of music, but it’s a helluva
lesson in composition and a great structure from which to practice
Below is a very simple version (primarily melodic, so the harmonic
options are completely open for you to interpret individually) arranged
for guitar. It makes heavy use of harmonics – both natural and tapped –
and touches on compositional ideas of both theme & variation and
call & response. I also like playing it with a long delay to get
those cool “rounds” (like “Row, row, row yor boat”).
Learn it note for note as transcribed, and you’ll realize how
skeletal it is…meaning there is a lot of room for you to play around and
alter the arrangement to suit your personal tastes. I suggest recording
the basic melody and then using that to play against so you can see
what you come up with…or just download the MIDI of the transcription and
loop it so you can just jam until you come up with some ideas that
really suit you. If you record it, be sure to send me a copy – I’d love
to hear it!
See ya next month!