Ukulele Chords for Silent Night

Published Categorized as Ukulele

Without this most ubiquitous of Christmas songs, the ukulele chords for silent night, where would the western world be at this time of year? A damn sight less well endowed for beautiful carols, I can tell you that for free!

Throughout the western world, there are very few songs which occupy such a cherished position in the hearts, minds and souls of Christmas enthusiasts. There are, also, even fewer songs which manage to capture the imaginations of those enjoying what Christmas means both secularly and religiously, managing to straddle the line between the two with ease, even despite the unavoidably religious bent of the lyrics.

For despite the inherently spiritual lyrics, the ukulele chords for Silent Night, since their initial inception a few centuries ago, have taken on a life of their own, found as they can be in all manner of contexts, forms, mediums, and scenarios. Its wide contextual spread places it in a position of importance and pride of place in the souls of many when things begin to get festive in the western world, and if this is the case for you too and you are simultaneously an enthusiast for the ukulele then look no further!

The Story of Silent Night

‘Stille Nacht’, the original title of the song as first composed in German, was first performed on Christmas Eve 1818 at St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, a village in present day Austria. A young Catholic priest, Father Joseph Mohr, had come to Oberndorf the year previously and, in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, he had written the poem ‘Stille Nacht’ in 1816.

The melody was composed by Franz Xaver Gruber, schoolmaster and organist in the nearby village of Arnsdorf, composing in turn the ukulele chords for Silent Night. On Christmas Eve 1818, Mohr brought the words to Gruber and asked him to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for that night’s mass, after river flooding had possibly damaged the church organ.

Funnily enough, this very church was eventually destroyed by repeated flooding and replaced with the Silent Night Chapel. It is unknown what inspired Mohr to write the lyrics, or what prompted him to create a new carol – the song is so ubiquitous throughout the western world it’s in fact quite bizarre to think of it as ever having been composed at all, instead of having always lurked in our collective subconscious.

Funnily enough, this very church was eventually destroyed by repeated flooding and replaced with the Silent Night Chapel. It is unknown what inspired Mohr to write the lyrics, or what prompted him to create a new carol – the song is so ubiquitous throughout the western world it’s in fact quite bizarre to think of it as ever having been composed at all, instead of having always lurked in our collective subconscious.

According to composer Gruber, Karl Mauracher, an organ builder who serviced the instrument at the Oberndorf church, was enamoured of the song, and took the composition home with him to the Zillertal. From there, two travelling families of folk singers, the Strassers and the Rainers, included the tune in their shows.

The Rainers were already singing it around Christmas 1819, and once performed it for an audience that included Franz I of Austria and Alexander I of Russia, as well as making the first performance of the song in the U.S., in New York City in 1839. The rest sort of snowballed and was history, the song modifying itself subtly during this period, the melody ever so slightly changing to become the version that is commonly played today.

The Lyrics to Silent Night

Given that the entirety of the song can be played with just four chords, it would be pertinent to explore the lyrics in more detail, though before we go on the chords will be detailed below, for your diligent study:

The ukulele chords for Silent Night: C – F – G – G7

The Actual Lyrics to Sing Along to

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia
Christ the Savior is born
Christ the Savior is born

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus Lord, at Thy birth

Silent Night, Holy Night
Here at last, healing light
From the heavenly kingdom sent,
Abundant grace for our intent.
Jesus, salvation for all.
Jesus, salvation for all.

Silent Night! Holy Night”
Sleeps the world in peace tonight.
God sends his Son to earth below
A Child from whom all blessings flow
Jesus, embraces mankind.
Jesus, embraces mankind.

Silent Night, Holy Night
Mindful of mankind’s plight
The Lord in Heav’n on high decreed
From earthly woes we would be freed
Jesus, God’s promise for peace.
Jesus, God’s promise for peace.

Final Tones

So, there you have it, this comprehensive and, I hope, informative guide on how to best navigate this ubiquitous, universal, and all encompassing classic carol, residing and nestled deep within the bosom of the western classical tradition!

FAQs Ukulele Chords for Silent Night

What is the strum pattern for Silent Night ukulele?

Because the song is in 3/4 time, the strumming pattern follows a D – DU – D repetition throughout, with more emphasis placed on the melody and lyrics than the accompaniment in this instant. However, as long as you are following a rough pattern of laying a foundation, emphasise the three crotchet beats of the metre in each bar, you are on a right track.

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

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