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The Christmas holiday season is a time of sharing with family and friends. It is often busy and chaotic, and for many, a time for reflection. And, everyone is touched by the unifying effect of the glorious music. Whether it is singing and playing with others or listening quietly by oneself, music plays an enormous role for most people during the holiday season.
The reason for this book is twofold: 1) to provide interesting and challenging arrangements of popular carols for violists to enjoy themselves and 2) provide violists with arrangements to perform throughout the holiday season. The arrangements are somewhat demanding but provide variations of these carols that should keep audiences involved as the melodies evolve. Since having a piano or guitar accompaniment to perform with it is not always feasible, these arrangements are designed to provide their own harmony throughout the song.
The accompaniments I have arranged for these songs are all in keeping with standard violin practice handed down since the 17th century. Each song is arranged as a theme and variations, beginning with the melody harmonized with double-stops or left hand pizzicato, and progressing into more developed adaptations of the theme. The arrangements stay primarily in the first three positions with occasional harmonics and higher position work.
Each song has three or four variations and last between two to four minutes each. Violists are often asked to fill in between sections of a service or a program and these arrangements provide the musician with a number of choices that would fit the time constraints and the sentiment of the moment.