There are hundreds of songs to celebrate Christmas and plenty of tunes for other holidays, but few people associate music with Thanksgiving. However, there are plenty of great songs to play during Thanksgiving dinner or while baking holiday pies. Here's where to find them.
Free Thanksgiving Music
Try some of the following sites for free downloads for your Thanksgiving play lists.
Free Music Archive
The Free Music Archive, a site run by the WFMU radio station that has partnered with other music curators, offers a varied selection of songs available to download for free, including songs about giving thanks. Some good ones to try include:
- Reigning Sound's I'm so Thankful, a country/punk fusion
- Praise the Lord and Give Thanks by Ethan Persoff, which combines choral sounds with electronic music
- The reggae instrumental tune Give Thanks To Be Part by Normaa
New Hope Music
New Hope Music's song offerings are free to download for any "not for profit" purpose. Thanksgiving themed songs include Now Our God, Heaven and Earth, We Give Thanks to You Lord, and I Will Give Thanks. All the songs found here are based on scripture and are sung by a chorus or solo voice. In addition to an MP3, you may download a PDF songsheet or MIDI file for each song.
This is a free music site that gives musicians a platform to promote their tunes. Songs are available in all music genres from Christian to alternative to hip hop and jazz. In exchange for your email address, you'll receive free songs from artists you are interested in. Try the following for the holidays:
- DJ Sean Blu and DJ I Rock Jesus' Thanksgiving Grub Mix, a hip hop mix
- J. Robinson's Home for Thanksgiving, a Christian rap tune
- John Wesley's Thanksgiving Day, an acoustic patriotic melody
All songs can be sampled before downloading.
Jamendo has over 400,000 tracks available for free download on its website. All music genres are represented including pop, rock, heavy metal, Indie, and folk music. A few Thanksgiving selections include:
- Falcon and the Featherweight's Thanksgiving, an alternative rock song
- Season of Gratitude by ccMixter which includes pop selections that reflect the holiday season
- The ccMixter alternative rock tune, I Will Give You Delicacies
G Major Music Theory
Arranger Gilbert DeBenedetti has shared several traditional Thanksgiving piano arrangements for free on his free piano music website, G Major Music Theory. Selections include Five Fat Turkeys Are We and the popular road trip tune, Over the River and Through the Woods.
There is also sheet music available for each file so a piano student can learn to play the tune and can hear it played. Choose the title you wish to download and click the "play" link under the heading of Audio. A window will pop-up. Follow the directions to download and then open the files on your computer.
If you're looking for free Thanksgiving songs for children, Soundboard can help. After joining the site for free, you'll have access to download 17 Thanksgiving songs for kids including:
- First Americans and So Proud, a native American tribute song
- The First Thanksgiving, a traditional Thanksgiving song backed by organ music
- I'm Thankful, an upbeat pop melody
- Turkey Hunt, a fun folk-inspired tune
You can preview all songs before downloading.
A free music and hosting site for independent artists, ReverbNation has many Thanksgiving and gratitude inspired songs available to download. Some examples are:
- George Winston's piano instrumental titled Thanksgiving
- Kevan Eliton's Christian themed song Thankful
Purchasing Thanksgiving Songs
Once you've got a nice base of free songs, fill it out by purchasing some of these suggestions perfect for your festive music collection.
Amazon offers plenty of good music to help celebrate the holiday. Here are a few examples.
- Thanksgiving Dinner: Classics For Family And Friends: This audio album is also available in MP3 format. It is meant to be listened to during Thanksgiving dinner or a gathering of loved-ones. It is full of instrumental music that blends into the background. Songs include Canon In D and Greensleeves (Pastorale).
- Happy Holidays: The Thanksgiving Album: This album features 34 Thanksgiving themed songs from a variety of artists. Selections include You Raise Me Up, You Can Always Come Home Son, Homeward Bound and Amazing Grace.
iTunes has a variety of different songs with a fall and Thanksgiving theme available for purchase.
- Be Thankful by Natalie Cole: Cole's soulful voice is the perfect background for dinner or relaxing in front of a fire on Thanksgiving evening. Download the song Be Thankful or the entire album of the same name which includes songs like Our Love.
- Thanksgiving Song by Mary Chapin Carpenter: Country music lovers will enjoy this song from the album A Crooked Road.
Download tracks or whole albums with a Thanksgiving theme.
- Music for Thanksgiving: This album includes songs such as Thanksgiving and Moon River. This is an easy listening album with 35 tracks that will provide a relaxing background for any Thanksgiving themed activity.
- Thanksgiving Song CD by Dave Holiday Sylvester: There are several versions of the song here, including the dance track and instrumental arrangements.
Praise Charts features a nice variety of Thanksgiving songs for download. You can download single tracks or entire albums, chord charts, and lead sheets. Some choices include:
- Come Ye Thankful People Come by Don Chapman, a piano-based hymn
- Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing from various artists in various styles, including jazz and contemporary
- Thank You Lord by Dennis Jernigan, with piano and vocals
Using Thanksgiving Music
After you have compiled your collection of Thanksgiving music, you can use it in a variety of ways. Music helps to set a mood whether you are hosting a dinner party or are sitting down to talk with friends. Use the tunes in the car to keep the passengers in a thankful mood or play it while unwinding with a cup of hot chocolate and a roaring fire at the end of a busy holiday.