How to Play “Silent Night” 🌝

Lisa Witt  /  Seasonal  /  UPDATED Jan 12, 2023

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We’re so excited to share this tutorial and piano sheet music for “Silent Night” with you! “Silent Night” is a holiday classic. It’s beautiful, instantly recognizable, and it’s awesome for beginners because it sounds authentic even at a slow tempo.

In 2019, we showed you how a beginner can learn this song in time for a Christmas recital. This year, we’ll provide you with a simple yet beautiful arrangement of the song in G Major.

That means you only have one sharp (F#) to contend with! We’ll be in ¾ time, so we’ll be counting in a 1-2-3, 1-2-3 waltz rhythm.


“Silent Night” Piano Sheet Music Breakdown

The Right Hand

The right hand is busier than the left, so let’s tackle it first. You can follow my fingering in the video, and don’t hesitate to write down fingering numbers on your sheet music.

The fingering can get tricky in measures 17 to 24. Here’s what I use:

Silent Night piano sheet music m. 17-20 with fingering markings.
Silent Night piano sheet music m. 21-24 with fingering markings.

For the parts where there is harmonization going on in the right hand, use fingering like this:

Silent Night piano sheet music m. 9-12 with fingering markings.

Pro tip: lift your wrist when you play the D-F eighth note.

You can also play just the top notes (the melody) and it’ll still sound good 🙂

If you’re familiar with the melody, use that to help you figure out the rhythm. But for the analytical people out there, this is how the counting I use in the video breaks down:

Silent night piano sheet music with counting 1 + 2 + 3 +

🎄 Learn to Play Winter Classics ❄️

Be the accompanist to your caroling group! Explore our free tutorials and sheet music for holiday classics like “Let It Snow,” “Carol of the Bells,” “O Holy Night,” and more.


The Left Hand

The left hand is super simple. Most of it is holding down “shell chords” or fifths. Shell chords are notes that are a fifth apart and form the outer “shell” of a triad.

There’s a bit of a jump in measures 19 and 20 and again in measures 21-22. This section may require some extra practice. So, watch ahead, prepare, and look before you leap!

Make up your own chords!

You may have noticed that we include chord symbols with the sheet music. This is to help you form your own left-hand accompaniment if you wish!

If you don’t know how to read chord symbols yet, check out our lesson here. In the video, I demonstrate a nice, simple accompaniment you can do with just fifths and octaves. For example, for these chords, you can use:





Don’t forget to add dynamics!

Finally, don’t forget to add expressive elements to your performance! Find places to play softer, play louder, or to gradually go from one dynamic to another. 

And have fun with this 🙂 It’s a simple, classic song, but “Silent Night” has tons of opportunities to be creative!

Happy holidays! ⛄

Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for more than 20 years and in that time has helped hundreds of students learn to play the songs they love. Lisa received classical piano training through the Royal Conservatory of Music, but she has since embraced popular music and playing by ear in order to accompany herself and others. Learn more about Lisa.

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