November 23

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Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town

By Thomas Gunther

November 23, 2023

Blues Piano, Christmas Music, Jazz Piano, Sheet Music, Stride Piano

Solo Piano Arrangement By Thomas Gunther

Here you can get the sheet-music and see Thomas Gunther perform his Solo Piano Arrangement of SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN' TO TOWN

"Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" is another one of my favorite Christmas songs. For some reason I love playing it in a bluesy style, with some jazz voicings. The bridge is more in stride piano style.

Get the sheet music at Sheet Music Direct or Sheet Music Plus 

About The Arrangement

The arrangement includes different stylistic elements found in more traditional popular piano music. It definitely has a bluesy vibe, but also shows elements of jazz and stride piano.

When it comes to the form I extended it by adding an intro that comes back in-between sections in form of an interlude. There is also an outro. 

About The Sheet Music

The sheet music is the exact transcription of my recording. (You can listen to it and see me perform in the video below.)

 The sheet music contains jazz chord symbols and plentiful of articulations as well as some dynamic markings. 

My Arranging Workflow

I have different approaches for creating solo piano arrangements of songs. The one I took here is as follows. First I come up with different ideas, try them out, and after a while settle on those I like best. Once I practiced and internalized those ideas I press record and hope for the best. Before the final version is done, I record myself many times over. This gives me the opportunity to improve upon each version until I have one that I feel comfortable with.

Recommendations For Learning The Song

I recommend that you first listen to my performance while reading along in the sheet music. This way you get a better understanding about the phrasing and the rhythmic feel.

You may want to spend a little time just vamping a few bars to get into the groove. When that feels good move on to different sections.

The bridge is different in feel because it is based on stride piano rather than blues. Stride piano features big jumps in the left hand and big intervals between the outer notes (up to a 10th). Should you have difficulty in playing those big intervals (smaller hands will make this hard) you may roll the notes and use the sustain pedal.

Is This Arrangement For You?

This solo piano arrangement is for every pianist who would like to try playing Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town in a more bluesy-jazzy style. Dependent on what your specialty is musically speaking, you made benefit from it in different ways. Here are some examples.

Classical Pianists

If you are a classical pianist who rarely listens to jazz and blues music, this arrangement might be a great way to dip your feed into more contemporary genres and styles like blues and jazz. This said, it might be quite challenging. Not from a technical point of view, but from a musical point of view. For example, swung eighth notes and accents and phrasing in blues and jazz are somewhat contrary to classical music. It's gonna be a great learning experience for sure!

Jazz Pianists

Should you be a jazz musician or blues musician, you may not necessarily want to play the arrangement as written note for note. Instead, you might just fall in love with some of my ideas and create your own arrangement based on those.
This goes especially for the solo section. You can play my solo or use it as inspiration for your own solo. Of course experiences blues and jazz musicians will prefer to make up their own solo.
I truly hope you have fun playing this arrangement!

Thomas Gunther

About the author

Thomas Gunther (Thommy Günther) is a versatile internationally active jazz pianist and keyboardist, music producer, and music educator. Born in Germany, Thomas moved to Chicago after receiving his masters in teaching and performing popular music and jazz piano (from the State University of Arts & Music Stuttgart/Germany) to become the principle pianist with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble. Soon he formed his own bands playing piano and keyboards all over town and touring Europe regularly. Today, Thomas is a well respected member of the Chicago music scene. For many years he has also worked as an instructor at Columbia College Chicago where he still designs and teaches courses for its Contemporary Urban Music Program (CUP) such as Pop-Jazz Keyboards & Theory, Applied Music Production with Logic Pro, Contemporary Arranging and Orchestration, Harmony & Rhythm, etc.. Thomas is also the creator and owner of several educational websites such as popjazzkeys.com and MusicTrainingOnline.
Visit http://www.ThomasGunther.com for more info.

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