From Lead Sheet to Arrangement - "Silent Night"

Subscribe Today

Lesson Description

At the heart of solo jazz piano playing lies the use of spread and rootless voicings. But to truly transform a simple lead sheet into a captivating piece of music involves digging deeper into the jazz player's bag of tricks and employing an array of arranging and reharmonization techniques to develop and intensify the underlying character of the melody and harmony of the tune.

Each lesson in this series features a comparison of a fully realized two-handed arrangement of a tune with it's basic lead sheet that will reveal the techniques and devices used to transform the piece from a melody and chord symbols to a finished arrangement.

In this lesson, the profoundly simple Christmas carol "Silent Night," is gently reharmonized with functional and tritone substitutes, cycle extension chords and a range of voicing techniques to subtly add jazz flavor to it's underlying diatonic 1-4-5 harmonic structure.

After watching the lesson, download and play the fully annotated piece. 

As a Christmas bonus, another holiday favorite 1-4-5 tune, "Auld Lang Syne," has been reharmonized and is included in the practice sessions for you to try your hand at voicing the new progression using the techniques presented in this lesson.

Oh, and if you happen to be reading this in July (or any time other than Christmas) don't dismiss this lesson just because it is a holiday tune. The material in this lesson can be applied to any simple 1-4-5 folk tune allowing you  transform simple diatonic progressions to rich, chromatic jazz harmonies.


Watch this short video for an overview of the content of this course.


Upper Structure Triads
Solo Jazz Piano
Rootless Voicings with Added Tension
Block Chord Harmonization
So What & Fourth Voicings

Study Support

Contact me with questions at any time.

Start a discussion with fellow students by clicking on the discussion link in your student control panel to leave a message or search previous conversations.

Consult the Lesson Road Map to for a suggested sequence of lessons.

To continue your study of this topic, face-to-face, live webcam lessons are available.


"I have been a subscriber for 3+ hrs and I am amazed at how much I have learned already. I am thrilled with the lessons I have taken so far this evening! Thank you from a new fan!" -Bob

Start playing jazz piano today!

Subscribe NOW

What's included?

6 Videos
1 Survey
3 Texts
1 Download
Bill Rinehart
Bill Rinehart

About the instructor

Bill did undergraduate work at the Berklee College of Music and holds the M.Mus. degree in Jazz Studies from the Boston Conservatory/Berklee College of Music where he studied with Ray Santisi and Charlie Banacos. Bill taught and played extensively around the Boston area for the better part of two decades appearing everywhere from the legendary Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge MA to a long stand at the Hampshire House on Beacon Hill in Boston before relocating to the Raleigh-Durham NC area where he teaches full-time on