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God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen FREE Sheet Music

god rest ye merry gentlemen

A free piano arrangement of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, designed for beginner and intermediate pianists. This God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen sheet music is FREE to download in PDF form, in multiple versions.

Keep reading for the history and practice tips, or scroll down for the sheet music download buttons.

History Of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

This Christmas carol is one of the earliest Christmas carols still popular today, dating back to the 16th century.

It is a traditional English carol that has had multiple revisions over the years. The original author is unknown.

Which is a shame, because this is such an infamous carol!

Fun fact though: a few of the lyrics to this song were actually referred to in Charles Dickens’ play A Christmas Carol.

How Do You Play God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen On Piano?

Traditionally, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is played in a hymn style, which chord changes on practically every single note.

While this is a great way to play the song, I’ve taken a different approach with our sheet music today, opting for a more lyrical approach with simpler chords.

I think you’ll find this makes it easier to play and understand as a newer pianst!

The Key

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is almost always seen in the key of E minor.

I chose to stick with this key in the sheet music, as it is pretty much the easiest minor key to play in (it just has one sharp!)

If the thought of playing in E minor scares you, just remember that that is the same key signature as G major!

If you’ve played in G, E minor shouldn’t be too much harder.

The Notes

The notes used in this song are all the notes in the E minor scale: E, F#, G, A, B, C, and D.

There will also be a few accidentals to look for; namely, D#.

The Chords

Like I mentioned earlier, this song usually includes quite a few intricate chords. For these arrangements, I kept it simpler.

Here are the chords you’ll need to know for the easy version: E minor, A minor, D major, C major, G major, and B major.

For the intermediate version, you will also need to know the chords above, with the addition of one more chord: the F# half diminished 7.

You’ll find this chord at the beginning of measure 15 and measure 19.

I know this chord might sound scary but don’t worry. Just simply follow the notes. It will make the sound of the song nice and rich!

If you don’t know what half diminished means, check out this article.

Extra Tips For Playing this song:

To play God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen your very best, follow these practice tips:

  • Start by learning each hand separately, then put them together slowly and gradually work up in speed!
  • If learning the intermediate version, spend a good amount of time learning the left hand alberti bass by itself.
  • It is VERY important that the right hand is louder than the left hand throughout the whole piece. Especially with the intermediate version. You don’t want the left hand to be too overpowering!
  • I recommend playing this song with the pedal. You can start by practicing without pedal. Once you’re more confident in the notes, then add pedal—make sure to lift it up for every chord change.

More Christmas Sheet Music:

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Sheet Music Free Downloads

Without further ado, let’s get to the PDF sheet music of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen!

Easy Version

To start off, we have a version with simple melody in the right hand, and block chords in the left hand (with a few single notes).

The chords do jump around a bit, so I wouldn’t recommend this for a complete beginner (maybe start with something like Deck the Halls or O Christmas Tree instead).

god rest ye merry gentlemen sheet music easy piano

Intermediate Version

Next up, we have a slightly harder version. The right hand is pretty much the same, but the left hand adds a lot of interest!

The left hand here uses what’s called alberti bass. The pattern of alberti bass takes some getting used to, so just practice the left hand slowly by itself at first if you’re new to this technique!

god rest ye merry gentlemen sheet music intermediate piano

Full Lyrics

There are 3 different versions of lyrics: from 1775, 1833, and 1961. It seems that the most recent version is also the most well known today. See this article for a comparison of the 3 versions (I’ve listed the 1961 version below!)

Verse 1
God rest ye merry gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas Day
To save us all from Satan’s pow’r
When we were gone astray
Oh tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy

Verse 2
From God our Heavenly Father
A blessed Angel came;
And unto certain shepherds
Brought tidings of the same,
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by Name.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Verse 3
The shepherds at those tidings
Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest, storm and wind,
And went to Bethlehem straightway
The Son of God to find.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Verse 4
But when to Bethlehem they came,
Whereat this infant lay,
They found Him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His Mother Mary kneeling down,
Unto the Lord did pray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Verse 5
Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth efface.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy.

Conclusion

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen may be a more sober song, but it is well-loved as ever! This song is the perfect thing to learn to impress your family and friends this Christmas. You can do it!

And once you’re done, check out these Christmas carols (also written in minor keys): O Come O Come Emmanuel, Carol of the Bells