Category Archives for Chord Melody

Chord Melody – Round Midnight

Here is Round Midnight

'Round Midnight Chord Melody

You can buy the full arrangement in PDF form below.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

A beautiful tune to play. Somewhere Over the Rainbow is an arrangement by Robert Conti, with some modifications.

Chord Melody – Yesterdays

Not to be confused with the Beatles’ Yesterday, Jerome Kern wrote the popular tune Yesterdays.

This is a fairly basic arrangement with many standard guitar voicings. When you have a minor chord acting as the one chord, as it is in this case, jazz musicians often make it a minor 6 chord. Also I chose to ignore the slash chords in measures 5 and 6 and instead use a series of Dm6 inversions to ascend the scalar line. Make sure to hold the B diminished chord while you add the ring finger to play the note G in measure 5. This passage is reminiscent of George Van Eps and requires a little practice if you’re not used to it. If you like this idea check out his Harmonic Mechanisms series.

In measure 14 I chose a variety of chords to use over the Bbmaj7. A major 7 chord can often be played as a major 6 chord, which is the equivalent of a vim7 chord. For example Bbmaj6 is the same as Gm7. The first two chords I play are built off of fourths which is a nice sound. They can be analyzed as Bbmaj13 and Bb6/9 chords containing A, D, G, C and then G, C, F and Bb, but there are easy to play and move in chord melody arrangements and comping.

Yesterdays - Chord Melody

Yesterdays - Chord Melody 2

The tune is relatively short and repeats the first 16 measures. The second time through you can repeat it as is or try changing it up. The first option would be to add some rhythmic variation and fingerstyle to break up the chords a bit.

Other variations are to use different voicings. Get ideas from other chord melody arrangements or use your theory knowledge and chord practice to come up with your own variations.

Chord Melody – My Funny Valentine

Here’s my chord melody arrangement to My Funny Valentine.

I did something a little different at the beginning of the tune. I decided to just one or two notes played together like a classical approach, with a descending bass line. I guess I was inspired by the work I did on my Baroque Improvisation course.

I believe if you play this with feeling you can appreciate the beauty of minimal notes instead of the usual larger voicings. Let the notes ring as much as you can.

In this tune, you have the classic descending minor chord cliche. The notes that are descending are C, B, Bb, A to Ab over the Abmajor7 chord in bar 5. So rather than play C in the bass the whole time, we descend using this bass line. Since Abmaj7 moves to F I also opted to add a G in between to continue the descending line. I also add the Eb between Fm7 and Dm7b5.

But if you prefer a more chordal approach look at the last A section and use that at the beginning if your prefer.

My Funny Valentine Chord Melody

My Funny Valentine Chord Melody 2

My Funny Valentine Chord Melody 3

Let me know what you think by posting in the comments.

Chord Melody – ‘Round Midnight

Here’s my straightforward solo guitar arrangement of ‘Round Midnight written by Thelonious Monk. Feel free to adjust the rhythms shown below to add more feel. I didn’t want to make it too complex to read.

'Round Midnight Chord Melody

'Round Midnight Chord Melody 2

'Round Midnight Chord Melody 3

Chord Melody – All The Things You Are

Here’s a sample of the chord melody. Play the chords from the grid and note the melody below and you have the chord melody! For a PDF of the full song please purchase it below the image.

All the Things You Are

Jazz Guitar Lessons – Creative Scale Use in Chord Melody and Improvisation

There might be certain times in a chord melody when you want to just play the melody as single notes without chordal accompaniment. You can also use the technique I’m about to describe in comping or improvisational contexts. You can use this technique even if you just started to learn jazz guitar to make your playing sound more professional.

If you have a melody line, for example in Autumn Leaves where you might want to just play the melody, you can spice it up by making the notes ring together. In Autumn Leaves there is a scale sequence that is repeated starting a different scale tones. First there is E F# G, then D E F#, then C D E then B C# D#. Instead of playing each note separately we can arrange the notes so that all 3 notes can ring at the same time, by putting them on different strings.

I show this in the graphic below. I only show parts of the melody we’re focusing on from Autumn Leaves.

Creative Scale Usage

In this standard we have the convenience of open strings. But you can use this in other keys and standards as well with a bit of stretching, or transpose the song into a key that allows you to use this with open strings.

Another example can be seen at the beginning of Beautiful Love

Beautiful Love Intro

Here’s a video explaining all this:

What do you think of using open strings in scale or melodic passages? Post your comments below.

Chord Melody – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

It’s that time of year again and so I thought I would arrange a classic Christmas tune for you in the simplest way possible. I’ve seen much harder versions out there.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

When you first start to learn how to play jazz guitar, the idea that you can play chords and melody together is pretty exciting but can be a little intimidating. The Christmas season gives us a chance to play full songs all by ourselves on solo guitar for our family and friends. One such tune is Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. This is a great tune for any studying jazz guitarist to spend some time getting under their fingers and into their repertoire. Wouldn’t it be great to learn some Christmas chord melodies in time for Christmas? It takes a while get these down so get started now 🙂

The song uses a common I-vi-ii-V progression repeatedly which in the key of Cmaj7 is C Am7 Dm7 G7.

Here’s the Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas chord melody arrangement.

The arrangements are laid out with a chord grid about the basic melody of the song. This way you can easily see the chords and by playing the chords you will automatically be playing the melody note, as it’s the highest note of the chord! Then I make sure that other melody notes can be easily played while letting the current chord ring. Some chord melodies have a lot of single note soloing in them, but I prefer to have just chords and melody while everything ringing.

If you find yourself getting stuck and need more help in learning Frosty the Snowman, send me a note through my contact page and we can get together for a video lesson to help you tackle any problem areas in this, or any other, chord melody arrangement.

I don’t have a video for this at the moment but you can check out my other jazz guitar performances to see how I play.

Have fun!

Jazz Guitar Chord Melody – Blue Bossa

When you first start to learn how to play jazz guitar, one of the standards that many players come across is Blue Bossa. This is a great tune for any studying jazz guitarist to spend some time getting under their fingers and into their repertoire.

In today’s lesson, I’ve posted a chord melody version of Blue Bossa that I recently wrote out with beginner to intermediate players in mind. Often, when I was first learning how to play chord melodies on guitar, I noticed that while many arrangements sounded great, they were way over my head, causing me hours of frustration in the practice room and eventually to give up learning them all together.

So, I decided that I would write this arrangement in a manner that highlights the melody, introduces you to commonly used jazz guitar chords, and doesn’t stretch your fingers or technique too much so that a beginner or intermediate player could get this chord melody arrangement down in a week or so of practicing.

Check this chord melody arrangement of Blue Bossa out in your practice routine this week, and if you have any questions, comments or practice tips after you’ve worked throughout it, please share them in the comments section below.

To help you out, I’ve included an audio file of the arrangement to act as a guide for you in the practice room. But, if you find yourself getting stuck and need more help in learning Blue Bossa, send me a note through my contact page and we can get together for a video lesson to help you tackle any problem areas in this, or any other, chord melody arrangement.

Have fun!

You can listen to it here:

Blue Bossa Chord Melody

Blue Bossa Chord Melody 2

I don’t have a video for this at the moment but you can check out my other jazz guitar performances to see how I play.