The Little Drummer Boy chords

by Faith Hill

  • Words & Music: Katherine Kennicott Davis - 1941 (original key - F Major)
  • Modern Arrangement: Henry Onorati & Harry Simeone
  • Featured Artist: Faith Hill
  • Album: Joy to the World
  • Music: A Major → E Major → B Major in 4/4 time at ~ 60 bpm (𝅗𝅥)
  • Chords: A, E, D, B, F#
Chart Legend
Numbered Circles: Fingers used to play chords   O: Optional Note
Barre Line: One finger holds down multiple strings   R: Root Note
Unmarked strings: Play open   X: Don't play string    B: Bass Note
A Major E Major D Major B Major B Major F# Major
A Major E Major D Major B Major B Major F# Major

The Little Drummer Boy

Song Key is highlighted - Transpose to any other key
             
Intro: 4/4 ||  Hum...  | Hum...  | Hum...  | Hum...  ||

   A
1. Come they told me  Pa rum pum pum pum 
  A
   Our new born King to see  Pa rum pum pum pum 
  E   
   Our fin-est gifts we bring  Pa rum pum pum pum 
  E          A                 D
   To lay be-fore the King  Pa rum pum pum pum 
  A                  E
  Rum pum pum pum    Rum pum pum pum 
   A
   So to ho-nor Him Pa rum pum pum pum 
   E       A  
   When we come 

   || Hum | Hum pum pum | Pum pum | Hum  pum  pum | Pum pum ||

   A
2. Ba-by Je-sus   Pa rum pum pum pum 
  A
   I am a poor boy too   Pa rum pum pum pum 
  E
   I have no gift to bring   Pa rum pum pum pum 
  E              A                   D
   That's fit to give our King    Pa rum pum pum pum 
   A                  E
   Rum pum pum pum    Rum pum pum pum 
   A
   Shall I play for you    Pa rum pum pum pum 
   E     A
   On my drum

 | Pum pum | Rum pa ra ra  Pum pum |Pa ra ra Pum |

 | Rum pa ra ra Pum pum |Pa ra ra Pum |... key change

   E
3. Ma-ry nodded     Pa rum pum pum pum 
  E
   The ox and lamb kept time    Pa rum pum pum pum
  B
   I played my drum for Him    Pa rum pum pum pum
  B            E                  A
   I played my best for Him    Pa rum pum pum pum
   E                  B
   Rum pum pum pum    Rum pum pum pum

 | Pum Pa ra ra Pum Pa ra ra |Pum Pa ra ra Pum Pa ra ra | Pum |... key change

   B
   Then He smiled at me    Pa rum pum pum pum
   F#        B                  F#        B
   Me and my drum...| Pum pum | Me and my drum...| Hum | Hum | Rum...
                                rit...

Notes:

  • The song starts in the key of A Major (3 sharps - F# C# G#) with a key change going into the 3rd verse to E Major (4 sharps - F# C# G# D#), and a final key change to B Major (5 sharps - F# C# G# D# A#) going into the last 2 lines of the 3rd verse.
  • There is a lot of 'Pa ra pa pamming' going on in this song, and I have included it in various parts of the song where it helps to keep track of bar counts, etc. It's almost a cross between African Traditional and Gregorian Chant and works beautifully in this song.
  • I have kept the chords to a minimum so that most of you can play along. The harder chords include F# and B. If you can't play barre chords, use the B (alternative) on the chart above. You can play the F# exactly the same as the B except the chord shape starts on fret 9 instead of fret 2. The chord would be written as x-x-11-11-11-9. If this sounds a little high, the easiest alternative for F# is exactly as the chart suggests except you omit the barre line and play it like an F major chord starting on the 2nd fret instead of the first.
  • If you usually play an F chord with the extra note on the 5th string, make sure you don't hit the 6th string when you play the F#. The chord would be written as: x44322.
  • If you usually play an F without the extra note, make sure you don't hit the 5th and 6th strings when you play the F#. The chord would be written as: xx4322
  • Alternatively, if you are finger-picking, you could play the F# exactly the same way as an open E chord shape except you move up 2 frets and make sure you don't play strings 1, 2, and 6. The E chord is written as 022100. The F# chord is written as x443xx. You probably wouldn't strum this chord as you would most likely play some unwanted notes.
  • Remember you are in 4/4 time which means 4 quarter-note / crotchet beats per bar. The tempo is set at 60 bpm in half-note / minim time which means the beat occurs on the 1st and 3rd beats of each bar... every second beat. If you want to count on every beat, the tempo would be set at 120 bpm. If you are using a metronome or click track, 60 bpm is more in keeping with the 'feel' of the song and is preferable... the choice is yours.
  • 'rit' is short for ritardando, which means to slow down. You will find this on the last line of the song.
  • This is an excellent rendition by Faith Hill and her amazing choir.
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