(don't delete this post, this question phrased like this hasn't been asked before) I know about music theory, chord functions and chord substitutions. But more in general terms. When I ask different guitarist to play simple songs, like silent night or other Christmas/kids songs/nursery rhymes etc. They all have different chord progressions. Are they simply just re harmonising the songs playing with tonic, subdominant and dominant at free will? I mean they all sound good and different, does it just boil down to taste and artistic expression? Unlike jazz which is my main category, which uses the real book as sort of a standard.
You’re saying that they don’t mess with the melody of a Christmas song, they don’t mess with the chords of a jazz one? Yes, there’s some truth in that. As a vast generalisation, jazzers don’t want to play the tune, they want to do their own thing over the chords. The chord sequence, rather than the original melody is the essence of the song.
Whereas, if you’re playing ‘Silent night’ there’s not much room for manoeuvre with the melody. Some players will be content to play the expected chords, others will feel they can only express themselves by playing anything EXCEPT those :-) There’s a place for both approaches. But probably don’t book a jazz guitarist to accompany your infant school’s Nativity play!