Christmas Music for Violin

Edited: November 15, 2022, 10:53 AM ·
My mother-in-law used to play violin; she's in her 80's now and no longer plays. So, I enjoy playing Christmas music for her each year.

I took up the violin a while ago, after a long period of not playing. At this point, my technique probably fits into a mid to lower intermediate category. (Definitely beyond beginner.)

To my query, I'm interested in recommendations for Christmas music for solo violin at my level of playing. I'm probably looking for a book with multiple selections, versus individual sheet music. Whatever I purchase may or may not come with piano accompaniment. I'll be playing solo though, so if with accompaniment, the violin part will need to stand on its own.

Suggestions will be much appreciated.

Replies (21)

November 15, 2022, 11:23 AM · I am Jewish so not an expert on X-mas music. However, a quick search turned up this possibility:

There is also some stuff on Good luck!

November 15, 2022, 12:32 PM · Here is some stuff with double stops (and without), maybe something appropriate for you
November 15, 2022, 1:52 PM · Good on you for giving her this wonderful gift - the music she loves and even more you there playing it for her.

There are many options for this. I suggest you go to Shar (sponsor here, link to one book below) or Sheet Music Plus and search for 'CHristmas solo violin'. The great thing with these sites is that they will give you an example of the sheet music from which you can decide if it is the right difficulty. [Note - with Christmas music I think its better to go simple; unless its a recital people don't necessarily want the descant with embelishments as its hard to sing along with.]

November 15, 2022, 3:31 PM · Here is a bunch of X-mas music on IMSLP. If you scroll down almost to the end, you will find the violin part. This should take care of it:

November 15, 2022, 3:42 PM · Here is another album of Christmas songs suitable for first-position violin playing.

November 15, 2022, 6:16 PM · If you or she has a hymnal, then you can just play the top line of the treble clef. Looking up songs with google image search and screen shot-ing is another way to go.
November 15, 2022, 6:47 PM · I second the recommendation for Yasuda arrangements. The double stops add some interest and they're not too hard.
November 16, 2022, 5:04 AM · Thank you for the responses; they're good source material. I will follow up on all of these.

I have Crescendo available to me, which is an application for writing music. So, it's easy enough to make changes, use a different key, etc.

Again, thanks.

November 16, 2022, 9:36 AM · @Tom Holzman- being Jewish more likely makes you an expert in Christmas music!

November 16, 2022, 11:03 AM · @Tom Bop - I know all about the Jews who wrote X-mas songs, and I have some exposure to these songs from having grown up mostly in Boston. However, I still would not claim much expertise.
Edited: November 17, 2022, 5:56 AM · The New Shorter Oxford Book of Carols is a wonderful resource for both composed and traditional carols. Comes in a paperback edition designed for performance (voice & instruments), with excellent notes & scholarly introduction. This is my go-to book at Christmas time. No Hollywood or pop music to be found there, however.
November 17, 2022, 9:27 AM · I, too, use the hymnal approach. Being mindful of the audience is crucial. Many Christians find offensive seasonal songs with no mention of what they are actually celebrating. White Christmas, for example is mainly a celebration of snow.
November 17, 2022, 9:35 AM · "White Christmas, for example is mainly a celebration of snow."

Surely it's a lament for lost innocence and purity?

Edited: November 17, 2022, 2:03 PM · Just a word of caution about playing out of the hymnal. Very often those arrangements are not in friendly keys for beginners.

I have been a practicing Christian my entire life and have never met anybody offended by White Christmas. Do we sing it in church, no. But is it a pleasant and enjoyable celebration of the season? Absolutely.

November 17, 2022, 4:45 PM · White Christmas is about traditions, happy nostalgia, connecting, and hoping your days are merry and bright. Blankets of snow early in season make everything very pretty and new and fresh. There is a song in the movie White Christmas called 'Snow,' though. Just about all of Irving Berlin's songs are great, along with his other tin pan alley cohort. Great era!
November 18, 2022, 12:18 AM · Où sont les Noëls blancs d'antan?
November 18, 2022, 1:32 AM · You have to be SOOO careful these days! I'm dreaming of a pagan Winterval.
November 18, 2022, 1:42 AM · Gordon, was this an oblique reference to Kurt Weill's 'Nannas Lied'? It was a Christmas present from Weill to Lotte Lenya, and is one of the world's saddest songs, both Weill's music and Brecht's lyric.
November 18, 2022, 1:47 AM · If you mean 'ou sont', Richard, no, it's Francois Villon
November 18, 2022, 3:51 AM · Thanks Gordon, I didn’t know the François Villon poem, nor that Brecht had used him for some other borrowings.
November 21, 2022, 6:46 AM · i was told about that François Villon poem in which he was anticipating needing to use a Kreddle.

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