Christmas is a lovely time for songwriters too. Give yourself the gift of an expanded toolbox and the joy of knowing more than Four Pillars of Western Civilization (root, IV, V and the VI or relative minor). Some of these lovely Christmas chestnuts from the Great Songbook feature a wonderful opportunity to understand substituting chords to rotate to a different apparent tone center.

An example; take key of C. Its companions are F (the IV) and G (the V). Swap that F for its relative minor Dm, and now you have a II-V-I of Dm - G - C. Next go to another chord and let IT become a new IIm for a moment, like G - make it Gm. Now you have a new II-V-I, Gm - C- F, and it sounds like you changed the key to F. A similar trick can buy you another three chord progression to get home, or some other interesting place along the way.

Some of these songs have fascinating and delightful changes like this, they're fun as heck to sing, and then you've got some new ideas to take back to your own songwriting desk. Have fun learning a Christmas tune or two this season, open up the hood and have a look at the underlying theory, and you'll have yourself a real gift. Merry Christmas to you, wherever your songwriting desk may be

Leave a comment:



and get a free 9-song download


Psst - click an arrow, then move your mouse off the photos to hide the text. Use your L and R arrow keys to scroll these shots. You're welcome!


YouTube -- Twitter -- Spotify -- Instagram -- Facebook --

Tour Dates

  • 04/13/2018
    Putney Cares Barn - Putney, VT
  • 04/14/2018
    The Vanilla Bean Cafe - Pomfret, CT
  • 04/15/2018
    Unitarian Universalist Society: East - Manchester, CT
  • 04/15/2018
    Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Storrs - Storrs, CT
  • 06/07/2018
    Isis Music Hall Lounge - Asheville, NC



Andrew is a grateful Endorsing Artist for Elixir Strings and Fairbuilt Guitars, and a member of the Virginia Commission for the Arts Touring Artist Roster. He also is a member of The Standing "O" Project and Concerts in Your Home.

Elixir Strings logo   Fairbuilt Guitars logo


Virginia commission for the arts logo