In this free guitar lesson I demonstrate various ways of playing a fingerstyle chord melody guitar arrangement of the popular Christmas song “What Child is This,” which is based on the earlier, traditional song, “Greensleeves.” You have the option of fingerpicking or using a regular flat pick. I perform here on an acoustic guitar, but you can just as easily play the same thing on an electric guitar.
You can follow along with this lesson using my free What Child Is This Greensleeves Guitar Tab.
The music centers on an Am chord and can be thought of as being in the key of A minor, however the notes are more closely related to A Dorian mode from the G major scale because of the use of an F# note in the melody. The E major chord, which can also be played as E7, creates a dominant push to the tonic chord, Am, and creates the harmonic minor scale sound by featuring a G#, the raised seventh in the A scale. Because the A scale also features a major 6th (the F#), you can think of this as melodic minor too.
These types of scales are taught in Fretboard Theory Volume II. If you’re just getting started with learning music theory for guitar, and would like to know more about guitar scales, chords, progressions, modes and more, then I recommend that you begin with my first book, Fretboard Theory which can be previewed for free online. DVDs are also available.
I use a PRS SE Angelus acoustic/electric guitar. I plug into an Alesis MultiMix 8 and add reverb and delay from the mixer’s onboard effects.
Christmas Guitar Songs
To see more holiday guitar lessons click Christmas Guitar Songs.
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To learn more about music theory for guitar, including scales, chords, progressions, modes, and more, sign up for a free preview of my Fretboard Theory books and DVDs by using the form on this web page.