Let's face it, piano accompanists and ensemble-ready string players don't grow on Christmas trees. Sometimes you need to put on a show for your family, friends, classmates, or coworkers, but there is no one else to team up with for a duet or ensemble. Fortunately, technology has made it possible to have a full orchestra or band backing you with the press of a button. Audio accompaniments are not only fun for playing for your own enjoyment, but they can fill the empty space around your lonely instrument and help you bring down the house. Just imagine all of the Talent TV Show contestants singing their auditions without someone "rolling the tape" backstage. It's your turn to bring down the house at your holiday gathering or Christmas concert with a track from one of these fantastic collections of Holiday music for violin, viola, or cello, or bass with audio accompaniment.
Christmas Favorites for Strings - from Hal Leonard's Essential Elements
Difficulty: Easy Beginner (Level 1-2)
Starting off, this selection is by far the easiest in difficulty level to be featured, and offers a bass book in addition to violin, viola, and cello. The Essential Elements method books are the preferred orchestra books for many classrooms across America. Similar in difficulty and format to the Essential Elements books, the Christmas Favorites for Strings books offer easy renditions of classic Christmas carols that can be played unaccompanied, with the CD audio accompaniment, or piano accompaniment - each sold separately. Each instrument book has a solo version of each song (the melody to be played with the piano part or Audio CD) as well as a part arranged for string orchestra. The violin book has two different orchestra parts for violin 1 and violin 2. Each instrument book can be purchased on its own, or you can get the entire value pack, which includes 24 parts, CD, and score, and is great for string orchestras.
Titles include: Jingle Bells, Up On The Housetop, The Hannukah Song, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, A Holly Jolly Christmas, Frosty The Snow Man, Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree, Jingle-Bell Rock, Silver Bells, Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!, and White Christmas. An audio sample of the CD accompaniment tracks is available on our website when you click any of the links above.
Violins, Violas, and Cellos for Christmas - arranged by Barrie Carson Turner
Difficulty: Easy Intermediate (Level 2-3)
The Violins for Christmas, Violas for Christmas, and Cellos for Christmas books by Barrie Carson Turner are all more than just CD-accompaniment play-along books. Not only do they include the solo melody line and a CD play along track for each, but they also have an optional duet harmony part for the same instrument, and guitar chords written in the parts so that it can be played as a solo or duet, with or without the CD and/or guitar accompaniment. Plus, the CD includes a listening track for easier learning, or just enjoying the music without playing!
While all three books have the same songs and most are in the same key, not all of the key signatures are the same across instruments. So, while you could combine two different instruments for mixed duets on some of the carols, the books aren't intended to be used as such. Still, with 20 traditional Christmas carols in one book, and a great CD accompaniment track for each one, this offers hours of solo or ensemble playing. Great for church services, family reunions, school concerts, or indoor caroling! Songs include: Away in a Manger, Hark The Herald Angels Sing, It Came Upon the Midnight Clear, Once In Royal David's City, The First Nowell, Silent Night!, O Little Town of Bethlehem, O Christmas Tree, O Come All Ye Faithful, See Amid the Winter's Snow, While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks, The Holly and the Ivy, Angels from the Realms of Glory, We Three Kings of Orient Are, Good Christian Men Rejoice, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, Good King Wenceslas, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Past Three O'Clock, and Patapan.
Christmas Carols for Violin, Viola, or Cello - arranged by Peter Deneff
Difficulty: Beginner (Level 1-2)
No CD player required for these books of solos with audio accompaniment. Christmas Carols for Violin, Christmas Carols for Viola, and Christmas Carols for Cello are all part of Hal Leonard's Easy Instrument Play-Along series. Each book includes a code for online access to the audio accompaniments which can be sped up or slowed down to accomodate any tempo! These are great for recitals, christmas concerts and talent shows, or just playing for your own enjoyment.
The "10 Holiday Favorites" with charming audio accompaniments include: Angels We Have Heard on High, Christ Was Born on Christmas Day, Come All Ye Shepherds, Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus, Good Christian Men Rejoice, Jingle Bells, Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, Lo How A Rose E'er Blooming, On Christmas Night, and Up On the Housetop.
Swing Into Christmas - by Carl Strommen
Difficulty: Easy Intermediate (Level 2-3)
Normally when people think of swinging Christmas music, they think of the modern classics made popular by singers like Bing Crosby or Elvis. However, this collection lets alone those songs, and instead takes traditional carols and makes them swing! Each book for violin, viola, or cello and bass, offers the same contents in the same key, and all are easy enough for most beginners, but go into some more challenging keys. Also, while swinging rhythms is something that doesn't come naturally to all players, it is definitely a necessary skill to become a professional musician today!
Each part includes the written melody with guitar chords above, so any jazz rhythm section can follow along and let you improvise to your favorite holiday tunes. Or simply play along with the included CD accompaniment tracks and practice improvisation on your own! The 15 Christmas classics include: Angels We Have Heard On High, Deck the Halls, The First Noel, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Go Tell It On The Mountain, Greensleeves (What Child Is This), Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Jingle Bells, Jolly Old St. Nicholas, O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles), O Little Town Of Bethlehem, O Tannenbaum (O Christmas Tree), Silent Night / It Came Upon A Midnight Clear, We Three Kings Of Orient Are, and We Wish You A Merry Christmas.
My Very Best Christmas: 17 Solos, Duets, and Play-Alongs - arranged by Karen Khanagov
Difficulty: Easy Intermediate (Level 2-3)
These wonderful collections of traditional carols for violin, viola, or cellocome with multiple options, almost like flexible ensemble collections! Each book contains the solo part as well as an optional duet part for the same instrument. Plus, a piano accompaniment part is included, and an audio accompaniment part can be downloaded online with the free access code that comes with each book! Just hook your device up to speakers and play along for a performance or just your own enjoyment.
These arrangements are on the easier side of intermediate, and are definitely a great way to introduce beginners to duet playing. The 17 pieces include: Joy To The World, O Come All Ye Faithful, Deck The Halls, Angels From The Realms Of Glory, Away In A Manger, Infant Holy Infant Lowly, Hark The Herald Angels Sing, It Came Upon A Midnight Clear, The First Noel, What Child Is This?, Angels We Have Heard On High, Silent Night, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, We Three Kings, O Holy Night, Jingle Bells, and We Wish You A Merry Christmas.
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas - arranged by Chip Davis and Hal Leonard Company
Difficulty: Beginner to Easy Intermediate (Level 1-3)
One nostalgic memory of Christmas in the early 90's is my mom and her friends cranking up Mannheim Steamroller on the cassette player during their holiday gatherings. There's just nothing like that radio-friendly New Age sound! Now you can be part of the Steamroller craze with these arrangements for violin or cello (sorry violists - there is not an alto clef version). These arrangements are actually quite simple and easy to play, some even being beginner level!
The violin book and cello book each are simply audio play-along books, with no piano part or ensemble pairings. Just get your groove on with whichever device you want to hook up to a sound system! (Sorry, cassette recordings not available). The carols selected for these collections include: Bring A Torch Jeanette Isabella, Carol of the Bells, Christmas Lullaby, Deck the Halls, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Good King Wenceslas, Greensleeves, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Joy To The World, Pat a Pan, Silent Night, and Traditions of Christmas.
17 Super Christmas Hits for Viola - a Hal Leonard Publication
Difficulty: Intermediate (Level: 3-4)
This edition is out of print and will sell out fast! We still have a few copies left of this excellent collection of modern Christmas classics, so get them while you can. Violists - if there is any instrument that can personify the top crooners of our grandparents' generation, it's the viola. These arrangements for viola of the tunes made famous by singers like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra are written for intermediate level players and come with smashing audio accompaniments on the included CD! These are definitely some of my favorite Christmas tunes, and if you can pull them off, you will leave everyone smiling and full of cheer!
The tunes include: It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, The Christmas Waltz, The Christmas Song, I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day, I'll Be Home For Christmas, Frosty The Snow Man, A Holly Jolly Christmas, Home For The Holidays, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!, The Little Drummer Boy, Mister Santa, Jingle-Bell Rock, Pretty Paper, We Need A Little Christmas, Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer, Sleigh Ride, and What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?
Christmas Favorites: 15 Holiday Hits with CD Play-Along - a Hal Leonard Publication
Difficulty: Intermediate (Level 2-4)
I may have saved my favorite Audio Accompaniment books for last! As part of the Instrument Play-Along series by Hal Leonard, these books for violin, viola, and cello include a CD of fantastic background tracks to some of the greatest Christmas radio hits of all time. You must pull out this book for your next holiday party or Christmas Concert and show off your chops with these easy crowd pleasers! Don't let the simple and clean notation fool you - some of these have a few tricky parts in them, but most intermediate players will be able to tackle them, and some of the arrangements can be learned by progressing beginners. Just pop the CD in, play the track, and you'll be rockin' around the Christmas tree.
The song selection is what really makes these collections stand out, with 15 holiday hits including: Blue Christmas, Caroling Caroling, The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire), Christmas Time Is Here, Feliz Navidad, Happy Xmas (War Is Over), Here Comes Santa Claus, Home For The Holidays, It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, Little Saint Nick, Merry Christmas Darling, Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Baby, and Snowfall.
Thank you for reading; let us know if you have any favorite christmas sheet music, or comment below! Also, if you are looking for ensemble music, check out Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog series which feature Flexible Ensembles and Advanced String Quartet arrangements of Christmas and Holiday music! To see all of our Christmas Sheet Music, click the button below! Don't forget to subscribe for updates on new products, current events, tips and tricks, and more!