“What Child Is This?” – Chordal Variations
Good morning, this is Duane. Today, I’d like to talk about some chordal variation in What Child is This? What Child is This?, of course, is the same as Greensleeves, so you can call it either title. I’ll call it What Child is This? You know what the normal chords are. If we play it in D Minor, the chords would be D minor, C major, B flat, and A or A 7th is better. Okay? Those are just the 4 chords, D minor, C, B flat, and A. Then in the bridge, you go to F, back to C, B flat, A, F, C, D minor, A, D minor. There’s just 5 chords, right? D minor, C, B flat, and A plus F, okay. F is in the bridge, but that’s it. You have 5 chords, are very easy but you can get a lot more variety and more flavor to it if you put in some extra chords.
I just want to talk about those chord variations. Of course it goes with that saying that you can add color tones to the chords. In other words instead of playing just D minor, you can play D minor 6 or D minor 7th or D minor major 7th or any combination there are. Okay? I’m going to talk about the basic chords you could use in instead to harmonize it, so let me just start up. What I might do just to change the feeling is right away, it starts on D minor and it’s supposed to say on D minor, but I’m going to change to F and then go to C and then go to A minor, B flat, E flat, A minor, A or A 7th. Okay?
What’s the logic of that? Well, why would I go to F instead of D minor, staying on D minor? It gives it a change of feeling but not only that, F major chord is relevant to D minor. They have the same notes, except it was D on the bottom. Now go to C chord. Now what’s the relative minor of C major? A minor and that’s why I choose A minor there. Then the next chord is B flat and most people stay on that B flat, but I’m going to go to E flat major 7th and here’s how I voice it. In the left hand, I play the root and the 5th and the melody of course is D and then B flat, G and I put an F the 9th. Then back to A minor. That’s A 7th. Let me do it up here. Let me do it again.
C, A minor, B flat, E flat, A minor, then I changed up in octaves. When I play that A 7th chord in octave higher, I did this. I’m using a major third and a minor third at the same time. It gives a … I like the sound. It moves you on to the next chord in a hurry. If you don’t like that, of course just use A 7th. F, C, A minor, B flat, A 7th, D minor. Now the bridge, F. Now instead of staying on F, let’s go to G 7th. Another one F, G 7th. Now the next chord is C, but I’m going to go to E minor. Why? Because they have similar notes. A minor, B flat, E flat, A minor. There’s that A minor 7th with a major or minor third in it and then back to F. Instead of F, I think I’ll play D minor because they are similar. In other words, D minor is a relative minor chord to F major.
Now G 7th, D minor, A minor, B flat, A 7th. Now if you want to end on a Picardy third, you can. It’s traditional to do that sometimes if you hear Greensleeves or What Child Is This? A Picardy third is where a song is at a minor key but you end it with a major chord. In other words instead of ending with D minor, I end up with D major. It puts a cheery end on that. Well, there’s just a few ideas for reharmonizing What Child Is This? Or Greensleeves. Hope this helps and we’ll see you again tomorrow with another short little video. If you haven’t already signed up for our series of videos and newsletter and so on, come on over to playpiano.com and do that because you’ll get a lot of good stuff. Okay, well talk to you later. Bye-bye for now.
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