White Christmas – Irving Berlin

Here is a Tenor Banjo version of a Christmas song composed by Irving Berlin in 1940: White Christmas.

If we have to name only one version of White Christmas, it would undoubtedly be Bing Crosby’s. Of course, this song has been widely covered, but Bing Crosby is the first to have recorded it and its commercial success with the Decca label is indisputable. There is also a French version: Noël Blanc. Tino Rossi, Eddy Mitchel or Celine Dion have recorded it.

Why this song.

In this month of December 2022, with Alice, we have expanded our Christmas repertoire. Indeed, we had several engagements and it was good to have some Christmas songs with us. So, we worked to have more songs under our fingers: Holy Night, Last Christmas, Silent Night, Let it snow, Happy Xmas (war is over), All I want for Christmas is you, Rocking around the Christmas tree, Winter Wonderland and of course White Christmas!

All we need are some ugly hats and sweaters and we’re all set!

After playing this song with Alice as a guitar and voice duet, I wanted to record a solo instrumental version with the Tenor Banjo.

The tree of the forum des halles (Paris), I am in the red ball!


In C, it is a very classical and standard harmony. C being the key, we have Dm7 for the 2nd degree, F for the 4th degree and G7 for the 5th degree. The harmonic march is thus very readable. To go further in this succinct analysis, we can speak about C7 which intervenes to make F desired. Indeed, C7 is the 5th degree of F.

Then F turns into Fm which brings us back to C. I love this movement from IVth degree to IVth degree minor to bring back to the tonic. Very classical and slightly old-fashioned, but I still like it a lot. In the grids that use this trick, I think of Wave.

My version with the Tenor Banjo is to play the melody and incorporate the chords. By the way, I love this exercise. I can spend hours trying to figure out how to play the melody with the chords.

Friendly bonus.

Jonathan is a Ukulele player I like to follow on YouTube and instagram. His versions are always very musical. And then, it happens that just a fortnight ago, Jonathan published his solo version with the Ukulele of White Christmas.
For these reasons, it seemed appropriate to propose it here.

Score and tablature.

If you wish, my Tenor Banjo adaptation is available in pdf format just below this text.
This is a non-commercial sharing.