In the Bleak Midwinter was written by Christina Georgina Rossetti to the tune Cranham by composer Gustav Holst. In this post, we cover the guitar chords you can use for this song, sheet music for the melody including tabs and also a finger style guitar arrangement. Let’s get started by learning how to read the chords.
How to read the guitar chord charts
To clarify how to read the chord charts in the next section, the top horizontal line represents the high E string and the bottom horizontal line represents the low E string. The vertical lines separate each fret. The numbers in the blue dots tell you which fingers to use on the fretting hand.
For example, on the G Major chord, you use the:
- 2nd finger on the 6th string, 3rd fret
- 1st finger on the 5th string, 2nd fret
- 3rd finger on the 2nd string, 3rd fret
- 4th finger on the 1st string, 3rd fret
- Circles represent open strings
- On some other chords, X means to avoid the string
You can check this link for more on how to read guitar notation symbols.
In the Bleak Midwinter chords
The chords you can use for this song are G Major, E minor, C Major, A minor, and D Major. You can click on the chords with links to learn different ways of playing that chord.
Try the following guitar chords one at a time until you feel comfortable switching between them. These chords will be written above the melody in the next section.
Here are some other resources on chords:
- What are the first chords you should learn on guitar?
- 6 tips to get better at switching between chords on guitar
- 13 ways to play an F chord on guitar.
- How to play the essential 7th chords on guitar
- How to play chord inversions on guitar
- How to play barre chords and 5 tips to get better at playing them!
In the Bleak Midwinter guitar tabs
For the sheet music below, keep in mind that the chords and melody are meant to be played as separate parts. We’ll look at how to connect these parts later in the arrangement section of this post.
You can refer to this simple guide to understanding music symbols if needed.
In the Bleak Midwinter lyrics
In the bleak midwinter
frosty wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron,
water like a stone:
snow had fallen,
snow on snow, snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter,
Our God, heaven cannot hold him,
nor earth sustain;
heaven and earth shall flee away
when he comes to reign:
in the bleak midwinter
a stable place sufficed
the Lord God Almighty,
Enough for him whom cherubim
worship night and day,
a breastful of milk
and a mangerful of hay:
enough for him
whom angels fall down before,
the ox and ass and camel
Angels and archangels
may have gathered there,
cherubim and seraphim
thronged the air,
but only his mother,
in her maiden bliss,
worshiped the Beloved
with a kiss.
What can I give him,
poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd,
I would bring a lamb,
if I were a wise man
I would do my part,
yet what I can I give him,
give my heart.
In the Bleak Midwinter hymnary.org
In the Bleak Midwinter. wikipedia.org
In the Bleak Midwinter guitar arrangement
In this section, we are essentially connecting the melody and chords together using a finger picking method of playing. If needed, check out this post to learn how to finger pick on guitar.
The numbers next to some notes on the top staff indicate which fingers to use on the fretting hand.
If you like this style of playing, you can check out this post to learn how to connect a melody and chords on guitar.
Get the free guitar practice guide here!
Want to learn more songs? Check out the sheet music with guitar tabs resource on this site.
All the best,