Chris Eldridge

Lesson >

What Child Is This

Different Scales, Different Colors

Chris Eldridge Lesson >

What Child Is This > Different Scales, Different Colors

Hello Friends and Happy Holidays!

This week we’re going to be using What Child Is This to discuss some of the whys and wherefores of music theory. Specifically we’re going to look at how changing a note or two from the original key of E minor can subtly change the color* of this piece of music. For this lesson I won’t actually be showing you how to play anything new, but instead my hope is that you can start to see how these subtle shifts of one or two notes can affect the way the music feels to a listener and also why we would make these particular changes.



p.s. For those of you who are new here, welcome! We’ve got a huge archive of material that we’ve been building over the last 2+ years. No matter where you may be in your development, I’d recommend starting with lessons in the Fundamentals series as they set the stage for much of what follows. Many lessons build on earlier material so I’d suggest using the archives as a resource to bring yourself up to the present. Poke around - there’s a lot of stuff to explore!

*For more on “color” see the lesson “Scale Degrees and Melody" in the Fundamentals series.



Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:

Print Print Chords & Tab

Loop 0:00 What Child Is This Run-Through


Download the Sheet Music PDF


Loop 0:47 Breakdown of What Child Is This

Loop 15:18 Closing Thoughts

Loop 16:20 Closing Thoughts





Log in to leave a comment

jack Dec 30, 2017

Hello Chris, great lesson to me, all the more so since I was just wondering why we had this C sharp in the B section. Now I understand we are in the key of D for a little while, with F sharp and C sharp ( the G chord actually being the 4 chord of D,, as you say). 

The same for the B major chord instead of minor, introducing a leading tone with D sharp, that really wants to go to E. That way the ending B major E minor is very convincing. Very convincing but maybe more modern, psychological. To me B minor E minor is very beautiful too, different, maybe more interesting, sounding more ancient, solemn, mysterious, noble. 

Anyway thank you a lot for those explanations very important, I really feel I need to understand how it works (which is nor the case now) to play and learn the music. 

Your ending variation is great too, I will try to catch it, even I am not good at that, but you play slow and neat, it should be possible.

So see you next year maestro,

and thank you again,


Login popup sm Login popup banner

Member Log In

Forgot your password? Click here

New To Sonic Junction?

See Sign Up Info >

Popup close
Login popup sm

New To Sonic Junction?

Try 2 Lessons Free

Popup close