Christmas Eve: 1914
The brutality of World War I is reaching new heights.
Pope Benedict XV had called for a ceasefire asking: “That the guns may fall silent at least upon the night the angels sang”.
It was rejected by governments on all sides.
…But thousands of soldiers set aside their rifles, marking a rare moment of peace in a war that would claim millions of lives.
And amid the horrors of war, soldiers exchanged songs, even singing the same hymn in different languages, including, of course, the legendary carol, “Silent Night”.
The next morning, some German soldiers greeted Allied counterparts with “Merry Christmas” in English. Signs reading, “You no shoot, we no shoot” were displayed. According to some, gifts were exchanged, including cigarettes and food, and the truce provided a poignant opportunity for both sides to bury fallen comrades.
Some went on to have a game of football in “no-man’s-land”.
100,000 or more may have been part of this truce according to historical documents.
“Silent Night” is an emotive carol that often sends chills down my spine when I play it.
Partly because it is a beautiful melody, partly because of that story and sheer perspective it gives to our lives now, and partly because this carol inspires hope and unity.
I first started teaching this carol years ago and have always loved it.
It’s been a big hit with students too.
This year I’ve recorded lessons for two versions of “Silent Night”.
The first is a beginner-friendly version, which starts off very simply and then builds to a big crescendo with some optional embellishments.
But as mentioned yesterday, I’ve also recorded an intermediate version.
Is it easy?
Is it a challenge?
Yes, even for me in some ways.
But challenges are a good thing.
This intermediate version is something that you can get a lot of joy from over many Christmases… especially if you have enjoyed my Fingerstyle 101 book. I say that because this bonus version is chord-based and in it we are fingerpicking the chords but also playing the melody.
Anyway, you can check out this bonus version on the page below where I’ve just uploaded the audio for you to listen to and enjoy.
P.S. If you listen to the piece on the above link and it sounds like a challenge to you, don’t tell yourself you “can’t do it”. You can. It may just take practice and time, so be patient, keep working on your technique, and keep believing in yourself.
P.P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.