Silent Night – Chords, Tabs and Sheet Music

silent night christmas song

Silent Night is one of the most famous Christmas carols all over the world. It has been translated in 320 languages and dialects and nearly everybody recognizes the melody! Let’s get to know more of the origin and history of the song and then how to play it on the guitar. There are different ways to play it but we want to show you how to play Silent Night by fingerpicking and strumming with easy basic chords. We also provide you some free PDF downloads like the sheet music for your practicing or lessons!

History and Origin of Silent Night

The creation of the song is attributed to the priest Joseph Mohr, who wrote the lyrics. He asked the composer Franz Xaver Gruber to write a melody for it. The song was first performed in 1818 in a church in Oberndorf, near Salzburg (Austria), where Mohr accompanied the song on the guitar and Gruber played the organ.

The simple beauty of Silent Night quickly found favor and spread rapidly. First sung in Austria, it then crossed borders, with the Rainer family playing a major role in its popularization. They travelled as singers to different countries, performing in parks, theaters and inns, where they also sang Silent Night. Traveling Austrian merchant families also sang the carol to attract customers to their stalls.

The song’s timeless message of peace and tranquillity made it a central element of Christmas celebrations. It is a song that is still an essential part of any Christmas celebration.

Tabs for Silent Night

guitar 3 strings

You can play a song on the guitar either by fingerpicking the strings individually or by strumming chords. Some people find strumming easier, others fingerpicking. Both ways are worth exploring and every good guitarist should master both techniques. Silent Night has a very nice melody, which already feels like Christmas when just fingerpicking the melody. Try it, you will be surprised how good it sounds!

Here are the tabs for playing Silent Night on the first three strings:

Silent Night - Guitar Tabs

Below is a recording of how it should sound. You can play along and if it’s too fast, just slow it down.

Chords for Silent Night

If you want to sing together Silent Night, then the chords version could be the right choice for you! There are different ways to play it but there are also easy versions. For the version below you only need 4 basic chords, which many beginners already know and which can also be found in other Christmas carols. It is often played in the key of G major or C major. We play it in the key of G major because it is the most popular key and it is easier for most people to sing. So you will need the chords G, D, C and Em for the song.

G Chord Guitar
D Chord Guitar
C Chord Guitar
Em Chord Guitar

If you already master these four chords and you know how to change between them it will be no big deal for to play the song! If not, practice first the basic guitar chords individually and try to play the sequence G-D-C-Em with simple down strums.

As a beginner we should always start playing a new song slowly. This means that we only do a down strum on each chord change. This gives us enough time for changing between the chords that we have just learned without worrying too much about a strumming pattern. Also, singing is much easier in the beginning if you just do one down strum on every chord change. Once you master it, you can apply a strumming pattern.

GSilent night! Holy night!
DAll is calm, Gall is bright
Cround yon virgin Gmother and child!
CHoly infant, so Gtender and mild,
Dsleep in heavenly Gpeace!  Em
GSleep in Dheavenly Gpeace!

2. Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight!
Glories stream from heaven afar,
heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ the Saviour is born!
Christ the Saviour is born!

3. Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure light
radiant beams from thy holy face
with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth!
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth!

Make your Lessons more Fun!
Easy Chord Sheets designed for Kids
Get Ebook
coloring pages guitar chords
Make your Lessons more Fun!
Easy Chord Sheets designed for Kids
coloring pages guitar chords

Sheet Music for Silent Night

If you understand the basic of music theory and you can read music, then playing from sheet music is your way to go! The sheet music of Silent Night is also great for students who are just learning to read music, as it contains many basic elements.

Silent Night - Guitar Sheet Music

Free PDF Printables for Silent Night

You can also download the sheet music with the chords free of charge as a PDF to print out and use in class or at home for practicing.

Silent Night - Guitar Free PDF Download

Other Christmas Songs for Guitar