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'Once in Royal David's City' Chords

Christmas Carol Guitar Chords

See Full List of Christmas Songs

Chords Used: F | C7 | Bb | C | Dm | G7 | Csus4

F C7 F Bb C F  F C7 F

F    C7 F     C          F      Dm  F     Bb C    F
Once in royal David's city, stood a lowly cattle  shed,
F    C7 F      G7       C7 F   Dm F      Bb  C    F
where a mother laid her baby in a manger for His  bed.
Bb   F        Csus4 C   F     Bb    F          Bb  C
Mary was that mo - ther mild, Jesus Christ her little

F  C7   F       C             F      Dm   F      Bb C
He came down to earth from heaven, Who is God and Lord
of all,
     C7 F       G7    C7  F    Dm     F      Bb
And His shelter was a stable, and His cradle was
C  F
a stall;
Bb   F        Csus4 C      F       Bb      F
With the poor and meek and lowly, lived on earth our
Bb  C  F
savior holy.

F    C7     F       C             F     Dm F     Bb C
And through all His wondrous childhood, he would honor
and obey,
     C7  F      G7 C7 F          Dm       F   Bb  C
Love and watch the lowly mother, in whose gentle arms
He lay.
Bb   F        Csus4 C         F   Bb    F          Bb
Christian children all should be, mild, obedient, good
C  F
as He.

F    C7 F        C             F     Dm  F      Bb
And our eyes at last shall see Him, through his own
C         F
redeeming love.
     C7  F     G7       C7    F    Dm     F
For that child so dear and gentle, is our Lord in
Bb   C  F
heaven above;
Bb   F        Csus4 C     F   Bb     F
And He leads His children on, to the place where
Bb  C  F
he is gone.

Not in that poor lowly stable, with the oxen standing by,
We shall see Him, but in heaven, set at God's right hand on high;
When like stars His children crowned, all in while shall wait around.

Once in Royal David's City: Lyrics

Performance Tips

For guitarists unfamiliar with barre chords, this may be a tricky one to play. The reason is because the song is written above in the key of F major, which naturally requires a lot of barre chords on guitar. If you're struggling with these chords, don't be alarmed - I've got an easier way for you to play the song. By changing the key from F major to G major, you'll find the chords become much more straightforward.

Chord Key of F Key of G
II7 G7 A7
V7 C7 D7
Vsus4 Csus4 Dsus4
vi Dmin Emin

Try printing out the chords on this page, scratching out the chords in the key of F, and writing in the appropriate chord for the key of G. You'll be playing the whole song one tone higher, which will slightly change the register you'll need to sing the song in, but it won't be a dramatic change. The strumming pattern for the song couldn't be easier - use all very slow downstrokes, once per beat. If that feels too sparse for you, try eighth note strums (twice per beat), also using only downstrokes.

Notable Recordings of 'Once in Royal David's City'

Sufjan Stevens (listen on YouTube) - Indie rock favorite Stevens included this song as part of his Songs for Christmas recordings in 2002.

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