It’s that time of year again, the holidays are almost here. So it’s time for the Christmas Songs Explained edition. We received over 10,500 votes to decide which song we would cover, which was an amazing response – thank you! The grand winner was “Jingle Bells“, which just edged out the competition. So get comfortable on your sleigh as we dive in – in this article you’ll find the lyrics, chords and tabs for your instrument.
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
In this blog post about “Jingle Bells” you’ll find:
In this article, we’ll focus on teaching you how to play the classic festive tune “Jingle Bells“. Whether you’re a guitar shredder, ukulele wizard or piano maestro, we’ve got you covered. You can choose your instrument in the table of contents to jump right into the relevant section. We’ll take you through each part of the song and show you the chord diagrams, as well as video tutorials, so you’ll have the song nailed in no time.
Once you’ve finished learning the track, if you’re still hungry for more, we’ll look into some special trivia about the song – perfect for impressing your friends and family at the dinner table this Christmas. We’ll go through the separate sections, then bring the whole song together with the chords and lyrics, so you’ll have a festive track ready at your fingertips.
History about “Jingle Bells”
“Jingle Bells” goes way back, having been around for over 150 years. The song was written by American songwriter James Lord Pierpont in the 1850’s and was originally titled “The One Horse Open Sleigh”. The song’s first public performance was in 1857 at Ordway Hall, on Washington Street in Boston, Massachusetts.
“Jingle Bells” didn’t become a Christmas standard until decades after it was first performed on Washington Street. Some area choirs adopted it as part of their repertoire in the 1860s and 1870s, and it was featured in a variety of parlor-song and college anthologies in the 1880s. Its popularity was growing, and it was first recorded in 1898 before becoming a Christmas favorite in the early twentieth century.
It has become one of the most performed and most recognizable secular holiday songs ever written, now famous worldwide. In recognition of this achievement, James Lord Pierpont was voted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970. With all this heritage, it makes it the perfect tune to practice on those winter evenings.
So let’s get jamming!
This song has just two different sections: verse and chorus. These sections are repeated – sometimes 3 times, sometimes 4 times (depending on how well you know the lyrics!)
Now grab your instrument – guitar, piano or ukulele – and read further, because we’re going to show you how to play this song on all of these instruments.
All the chords you need to know to play Jingle Bells
You need only five chords to rock the holiday season with “Jingle Bells”. As always, we provide you with the chords for guitar, piano and ukulele:
The verse consists of four quite basic chords: the A chord, the D chord, the Bm chord and the E chord.
And here is the chord progression of the verse:
Here are the video tutorials for the verse. We’ll play it a bit slower than the original song. So first, play along with our video. And then move on to jam along with the real song.
We’ve Chordified this video for you, so you can jam along and play the verse with us.
The chorus consists of four chords too. They are almost the same as the verse. The only difference is that the Bm chord becomes the B chord. So, the chords are the A chord, the D chord, the B chord and the E chord.
Here are the video tutorials for the chorus. In these videos we’ll play it a bit slower than the original song, as with the verse. It is good practice for you to play with our video first. And if you feel comfortable, move on to jam with the real song.
As with the verse, we’ve Chordified this video, so you can jam along and play the chorus with us.
Charts with Lyrics
Now you’ve learned how to play the verse and chorus of “Jingle Bells”, it’s time to play the whole song with the lyrics.
Bonus: Melody of the Chorus
We simply can’t get past the chorus melody without teaching you how to play it on your favorite instrument. So here we are!
Feel free to jam the melody along with our video.
Trivia for Jingle Bells
Now it’s time for some trivia! As we touched upon earlier, the song was not originally intended for Christmas. In fact, it was written to be performed at Thanksgiving celebrations. Towards the end of the 19th century, it gradually became associated with Christmas.
The song has been translated into several different languages. In French, it is called “Vive le Vent”, which means “Long Live the Wind”. In German, it is called “Kling Glöckchen”, which means “Ring Little Bells”.
“Jingle Bells” has been recorded by many famous artists too – Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, and Frank Sinatra are just a few of the artists who have put their own spin on the classic song, and it continues to be recorded to this day.
Jingles in outer space
It was also one of the first songs to broadcast from space, in a Christmas-themed prank by Gemini 6 astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra, in December 1965. Amazingly, they smuggled a harmonica and sleigh bells onboard to perform it, which you can hear in their radio transmission to Mission Control.
In conclusion, “Jingle Bells” may be a familiar holiday song, but it has a rich history and a firm standing in popular culture. It has also been translated into many different languages, recorded by many famous artists, and it holds the distinction of being the official state song of Massachusetts, in a nod to the origins of its songwriter.
So there you have it, you’ve mastered “Jingle Bells“. We hope you’ve enjoyed the article and had fun learning this tune.
Happy holidays to everyone out there, enjoy the festive season and keep on jamming!