Guitar Tablature: “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”
Despite the fact that “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” is in a minor key, it’s quite a spirited and uplifting Christmas tune. When you look at the guitar tablature below, you’ll see that the key signature has no sharps or flats, so you may think that the song is in C major. But it’s actually in A minor, which shares the same key signature and notes as C major. (Now you see why A minor is known as the relative minor of C major.) This song is composed of almost all quarter notes, so you can take it at a pretty brisk tempo. The song uses just one pattern, natural minor scale pattern #5, in 7th position, starting with the 1st finger.
Even though we’ve arranged the song using all one scale pattern, some of the intervals and direction changes can be tricky. Try playing the song by ear (close the book or look away from the music). No peeking, now! See how well you do at picking out the correct notes. Even when you know the pattern cold, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” can be difficult to perform completely accurately because of some of the intervals.