The Holiday Season can be really painful for lower string players in any ensemble. Playing ‘cello in a Carol concert makes me want to cry. That is why I have created arrangements of classic Christmas Carols and Songs guaranteed not to bore the pants off your violist or ‘cellist. Browse my Holiday arrangements below.
String Arrangements for the Holiday Season
O Tannenbaum (O Christmas Tree) for string quartet
This version of ‘O Tannenbaum’ is in a jazz-style and inspired by Vince Guaraldi‘s arrangement from the movie ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas.‘ With interest and melody in all four parts and guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit.
Some very close jazz harmonies and double-stopping will challenge the technical abilities of your quartet. But the notes themselves aren’t difficult! Good intonation essential.
Waltz of the Flowers – Nutcracker – for string trio
A tribute to the hugely popular and perennial holiday favourite The Nutcracker, this arrangement of The Waltz of the Flowers for string trio (vln/vla/vc) comes with optional 2nd violin to replace the viola part. Slightly abridged to last a comfortable 5 minutes, this would make a great opener or encore for a Christmas concert.
Written with interest in all three parts, and taking turns with melody and accompaniment, this is a very enjoyable arrangement for most ensembles of intermediate/advanced ability. If you have a great viola player s/he will lovethis! (If you have a less great viola/2nd violin player there is also a slightly easier ossia part for the position-shifting middle section…)
The 9 minutes of Christmas – English Christmas Carol Medley for string trio
Possibly the only string trio Carol Medley you will ever need!
A jolly romp through some of the most popular English language carols, The 9 minutes of Christmas is a medley for string trio (vln/vla/vc) lasting exactly 9 minutes (!) at given tempo. With optional 2nd violin for viola part.
Written with interest in all three parts, and taking turns with melody and accompaniment, this is a very enjoyable arrangement for ensembles of intermediate ability. If you have a great viola player or bored ‘cellist s/he will love this! Contains some double stopping of open and stopped strings. Bowing and dynamics are left to the discretion of the ensemble.
- Joy to the World
- Once in Royal David’s City
- God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
- Good King Wenceleslas
- Deck the Halls!
- Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
- O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
- O Little Town of Bethlehem
- Il est né, le Divin Enfant (He is Born, the Divine Christ Child)
- Unto Us is Born a Son (Puer Nobis Nascitur)
- Angels from the Realms of Glory
- Jingle Bells
- Ding, Dong, Merrily On High
- It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
- O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)
- We Wish You a Merry Christmas
- Joy to the World – Reprise
White Christmas – for string quartet with ‘cello lead
This arrangement of ‘White Christmas’ for string quartet stays true to the spirit of the original Bing Crosby version with respect both melody and harmony. Beginning with those unmistakeable 4 chords in the upper strings, the ‘cello takes the majority of the vocal line, but all three other parts are also given a chance to shine with melody, counter melody and harmony by turns. With high positions in both violin parts and up to 4th position plus harmonics for the lower strings, the challenge in this arrangement is found in the technical and musical interpretation of this iconic song, and is a great play for ensembles of advanced intermediate standard.
French Carol Medley – Chants de Noëls Français
Pot pourri des chants de Noëls Français les plus populaires pour trio à cordes. Durée de six minutes à la vitesse proposée.
A jolly romp through some of the most popular French language carols, Noël Re-Nouvellé is a medley for string trio lasting 6 minutes at given tempo. With optional 2nd violin for viola part.
Written with interest in all three parts, and taking turns with melody and accompaniment, this is a very enjoyable arrangement for ensembles of intermediate ability. If you have a great viola player or bored ‘cellist s/he will love this! Contains some double stopping of open and stopped strings.
- Joie dans le monde – Joy to the World
- Quittez, Pasteurs – Shepherds, Leave your Flocks
- Entre le bœuf et l’âne gris – The Ox and the Grey Donkey
- La Marche des Rois Mages – March of the Magi Kings
- Il est né, le Divin Enfant – He is Born, the Divine Christ Child
- Noël Nouvelet – Traditional French Folk Carol
- Les Anges dans nos campagnes – Angels from the Realms of Glory
- Vive le vent d’hiver – Jingle Bells
- C’est Noël – Deck the Halls
- O Venez, les Fideles – O Come All Ye Faithful
- On se dit Joyeux Noël – We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Silent Night – for string trio
On the bi-centenary of its composition, my arrangement of ‘Silent Night’ for string trio gives all the instruments chance to shine with melody, counter melody and harmony by turns. With few technical challenges, this musical interpretation of one of the most iconic Christmas songs is a great play for ensembles of early intermediate standard. Scored for string trio (vln/vla/vc). With optional 2nd violin for viola part.