O Little Town of Bethlehem is a popular Christmas carol based on text by Phillips Brooks to the tune “St. Louis” by Lewis Redner. In this post, we’ll cover the chords you can use for this song, sheet music for the melody including tabs, and finally look at a fingerstyle guitar arrangement.
How to read the guitar chord charts
To clarify how to read the chord charts, 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 D Major chord, you use the:
- 2nd finger on the 1st string, 2nd fret
- 3rd finger on the 2nd string, 3rd fret
- 1st finger on the 3rd string, 2nd fret
- Circles represent open strings
- X means to avoid the string
You can check this link for more on how to read guitar notation symbols.
O Little Town of Bethlehem guitar chords
The chords you can use for O Little Town of Bethlehem are D Major, B7, E minor, D/A, A Major, F# sus 4, F# Major, and G Major.
Try the following 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
- 5 tips to get better at playing barre chords on guitar
- How to read slash chords on guitar
- Essential 7th chords on guitar
O Little Town of Bethlehem – melody with tabs and chords
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.
The numbers next to some notes on the top staff indicate which fingers to use on the fretting hand.
You can refer to this simple guide to understanding music symbols if needed.
O Little Town of Bethlehem lyrics
O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by;
yet in thy dark streets shineth
the everlasting light.
The hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight.
For Christ is born of Mary,
and, gathered all above
while mortals sleep, the angels keep
their watch of wond’ring love.
O morning stars, together
proclaim the holy birth,
and praises sing to God the King
and peace to all the earth.
How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heav’n.
No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still
the dear Christ enters in.
O holy Child of Bethlehem,
descend to us, we pray,
cast out our sin and enter in,
be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
our Lord Immanuel!
Reference: O Little Town of Bethlehem. Hymnary.com
O Little Town of Bethlehem – guitar arrangement
In this section, we are essentially putting different parts together using a finger picking style method of playing. You can check out this post to learn how to finger pick on guitar.
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,