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.

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