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The Girl From Ipanema, a video that taught me a lot.


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I happened upon a YouTube video about the history of The Girl From Ipanema that I found very interesting. History of the song. bosa nova, chord progressions that never play the root chord, Real Book. It really got interesting to me after the first 10 minutes. I hope someone here enjoys it as much as I did.

 

[video:youtube]

This post edited for speling.

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When you get past the association with kitsch that it's acquired outside Brazil, it's a beautiful song â especially when done in the more authentic braz bossa nova style where the tempo is a little slower.

 

There was a spot in NYC called the Zinc Bar where the A-list Braz musicians worked. One night I saw pianist Cidinho Teixeira with a great band and they did the tune but substituted the relative minor (instead of the maj7) for the first chord of the B section and the last A - It totally transformed the song! Try it sometime. Sadly, Cid passed away earlier this year.

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Thanks for that. I found it very interesting, especially the analysis of the melodic phrases and their repetition transposed up or down, as well as the "simplified" chord changes.
These are only my opinions, not supported by any actual knowledge, experience, or expertise.
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Getting ready to go bed-y-bye so I'll try those chords tomorrow Dave, thanks! BTW I didn't mean to imply that Cid Teixeira came up with those changes â it's just where I heard them first. As an exercise I've also taken to playing GFI in a random key. Kinda tricky at first, since the harmonic movement is not like the usual tin pan alley / GASB progressions that are easier to transpose to any key once you're a little familiar with the song.

 

Couldn't use those changes on a typical LA casual, way too hip for the room. ;)

 

Yea but the main problem is that it's the bass player that has to be on board â my RH voicings are the same! Anytime I can play the tune and I have an extra 15 seconds before we start, I tell the bass player to play those other roots.

 

Jimmy Rowles would play in the NY area occasionally, I think â never got to see him unfortunately.

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Informative video.

 

Interestingly, G was the key in which I first learned that tune because of the Readers Digest "Treasury of Best Loved Songs" songbook. My parents bought me the Readers Digest songbook in the early 1970s.

 

Later, when I started playing in clubs, I transposed the tune to F. But, deep in my psyche, G was my first love.

 

Like many of you, Girl From Ipanema has been part of my repertoire since the beginning.

Steve Coscia

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I learned Desafinado from the record years ago. João Gilberto"s performance of the melody is a fabulous study in pitch and rhythm. I think he even deliberately sings out of tune to somehow 'resonate" with the lyrics. The chord changes are WAY better than the homogenised ones in any real book. Leads to arguments on the band stand though...

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Very interesting video. Thanks for posting.

 

This song will always remind me of so many gigs (e.g., weddings, corporate events, etc.) where it was the first song we played. In many ways it set the tone for the gig. I always thought it was a great song but was overplayed. And because there were schmalzy versions it was thought to be uncool by some (probably many). What was interesting to me was how different musicians handled it. The best musicians took it seriously (like everything they played) and would make it wonderful and special. Then there were the seemingly accomplished musicians who, IMHO, didn't give it the respect it deserved. During their solo they sounded like they were practicing scales and arpeggios, which kind of pissed me off because I thought they were better than that. For me, it's a song that shows a lot about a player.

 

Whenever I hear the melodic fragment of 9 7 6 over a major 7th chord -- i.e., the opening melody of The Girl From Ipanema -- I think of this song. For example, the sax intro on What's Goin' On uses this melodic fragment.

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Using the relative minor for start of the A and B sections is really nice. Thanks for the tip.

 

First it (IMHO) marries the words better to the underlying sadness of the lyrics. The song loses its 'cutesy" character and invites a fresh exploration.

 

Second, for me it reveals in the first half of the B section a repeating series of a minor 11th chord descending two whole steps to a dominant 7th +11th chord. This is easier to understand, remember and play. BTW the way if you play those two chords in straight eights you might hear a bit of Conquistador.

 

I like Dave"s Db substitution, and offer my own for the the second chord of the A section: Bb7 +11. This fits the melody and mirrors the minor -> 2whole steps to dominant.

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Couldn't use those changes on a typical LA casual, way too hip for the room. ;)

 

Thank you for those lovely changes Dave. Brings home the orchestration principle that a recapitulation (as in the last A of an AABA) is always more personable if it is ever so slightly different in character.

 

The vocalist with whom I work would balk at the Db7#9b5, but may not balk at a Bflat#11 ... (Bflat#11 would also have the elegance of mirroring the primary harmonic relationship in the B section), so I suggest this less adventurous option for those of us who have to play unhip rooms, but want to enjoy this very cool language you have shared. Many thanks.

 

:thx:

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Lots of cool ideas here... I really liked starting the bridge on the relative minor, it really opens it up. Likewise moving to the Dm11 for the last A continues that vibe.

 

The Bb7#11 after the Dm11 works nicely, try next going to a C13sus for a bar, the B13sus for 2 beats to Bb9#11 and resolve to an Am6. Then cycle Abm7, Gm7, C7 to return to the top on Fmaj7.

 

Just another variation...

 

Jerry

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The Bb7#11 is from Piano Man51 above. But you're welcome!

 

I like the Db altered as well, but tougher for the singers comfort zone...

 

I like your Ab diminished as well... it works nicely in the top section of the tune with my Csus to Bsus as well.

 

Jerry

 

Cool, I like it ! The Bb7+11 is a surprise chord, it takes it to a different place.

 

Again the Db7 #9b5 works well there in the second bar too because of the downward chromatic root movement. The C13sus, B7 alt. are very cool....and while I like the F Maj.7b5/E -- I like the sound, at least in that register of what I'll call an alteration of a Ab dim. voiced like -- LH: Ab F RH: B E. Going to the Am6. It has sort of a minimalist Brazilian character to me there. As a quick side note, I recall early lessons with the great Terry Trotter, my mentor, who frequently stressed - often less is more. The 6 on the Am is a nice effect. Thanks Jerry !

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The guy in the video says something like, when in F, the first 4 bars of the bridge is in Db and the next 4 in E.

Uh

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Find 700 of Harry’s piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and jazz piano tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas

 

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The guy in the video says something like, when in F, the first 4 bars of the bridge is in Db and the next 4 in E.

Uh

... correct, because:

 

(a) all the melody notes within each four-bar sequence are in those respective keys,

 

(b) the first chord in each four-bar sequence is one of the subdominant chords (either IVma7 or iim7) in the respective key (IVma7 of Db in the first four bars, ii7 of E in the second four bars) (which is why substituting an Ebm9 for Gbma7 works and sounds great in the first bar of the bridge; it's ii7 in Db), and

 

© the second chord in each four-bar sequence is the bVII7 relative to the respective key, functioning *as if* it was going to be a bVII7 backdoor dominant approach to the tonic, but which turns out instead to pivot to function as V7 in the new key in first sequence or V7/ii7 of the new key in the second sequence. You can hear the bVII7 function, as it would've sounded without a pivot, by just ending each four-bar sequence with the tonic of the respective key: first four bars, play Gbma7 ... B7(Cb7) ... Dbma7, End. Second four bars, play F#m7 ... D7 ... Ema7, End.

 

The brilliance is in never hitting any of those tonics, and using a bVII7 -> V7 pivot chord to change keys.

 

Same analysis applies to the third four-bar sequence, in F: Gm7 (ii7) ... Eb7 (bVII7) ... Here, though, the bVII7 doesn't pivot to become V7 of a new key, it just sets up a iii7 - VI7(V7/ii) - ii7 - V7 in F: Am7 - D7 - Gm7 - C7.

Mike
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The guy in the video says something like, when in F, the first 4 bars of the bridge is in Db and the next 4 in E.

Uh

... correct, because:

 

(a) all the melody notes within each four-bar sequence are in those respective keys,

 

(b) the first chord in each four-bar sequence is one of the subdominant chords (either IVma7 or iim7) in the respective key (IVma7 of Db in the first four bars, ii7 of E in the second four bars) (which is why substituting an Ebm9 for Gbma7 works and sounds great in the first bar of the bridge; it's ii7 in Db), and

 

© the second chord in each four-bar sequence is the bVII7 relative to the respective key, functioning *as if* it was going to be a bVII7 I backdoor dominant approach to the tonic, but which turns out instead to pivot to function as V7 in the new key in first sequence or V7/ii7 of the new key in the second sequence. You can hear the bVII7 function, as it would've sounded without a pivot, by just ending each four-bar sequence with the tonic of the respective key: first four bars, play Gbma7 ... B7(Cb7) ... Dbma7, End. Second four bars, play F#m7 ... D7 ... Ema7, End.

 

The brilliance is in never hitting any of those tonics, and using a bVII7 -> V7 pivot chord to change keys.

 

Same analysis applies to the third four-bar sequence, in F: Gm7 (ii7) ... Eb7 (bVII7) ... Here, though, the bVII7 doesn't pivot to become V7 of a new key, it just sets up a iii7 - VI7(V7/ii) - ii7 - V7 in F: Am7 - D7 - Gm7 - C7.

Mike, You brought this back to ground for me. Thanks. All those years of playing the B section from memory because I couldn"t figure out just what the chords were doing. Now Girl From Ipanema (in my fuzzy thinking) joins all those others hundreds of tunes from the 50s and 60s where the B section quickly jumps to two or three different tonal centers (think At Last) before getting back to the original key and gluing it in with a standard turnaround before the last A.

 

BTW, for all two of you how tried a Bb7+11 to replace the second chord of the A section (a G7), I have to admit that I found it accidentally by letting my fingers do the walking. But going back to first year jazz theory any Dominant 7th chord can potentially be substituted with a flat third sub. So for G7 this would be Bb7, Db7 (like in Dave"s example) or an E7 (which also works nicely).

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Mjazz I follow your thinking, and not that it"s wrong, but I don"t hear the bridge that way. I hear it"s melody-line as a repetition of: ti, do, ti, la, ti la, sol, la

This would lead me to hear Gb Lyd as a temporary I, B7+4 as its IV7, then F#m7 as the next temporary i minor (Dorian mode) and then D7 (bVI of previous F#-7) also acting as V7 of G-7, then to Eb7(bVI of precious G-7) which acts as bVII7 backdoor to F, then back home in F via its iii VI ii V; on to the last A section.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Find 700 of Harry’s piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and jazz piano tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas

 

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I think they recorded it in Brazil not only Db but also a version in C

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Find 700 of Harry’s piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and jazz piano tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas

 

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Want to hear a total reharm of this tune? Check out this version by vocalist Catina DeLuna and her husband Otmaro Ruiz, who happens to be a killer piano player (residing in your neck of the woods I believe, Dave). This whole album is great. The track list includes two other Jobim tunes - Chovendo Na Roseira (Double Rainbow, arranged and reharmonised beautifully), and Fotografia (Photograph).

 

PS - I'm gonna have to steal some of the chords some of you guys have been posting here! In the meantime, enjoy this!

 

[video:youtube]

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Mjazz I follow your thinking, and not that it"s wrong, but I don"t hear the bridge that way. I hear it"s melody-line as a repetition of: ti, do, ti, la, ti la, sol, la

This would lead me to hear Gb Lyd as a temporary I, B7+4 as its IV7, then F#m7 as the next temporary i minor (Dorian mode) and then D7 (bVI of previous F#-7) also acting as V7 of G-7, then to Eb7(bVI of precious G-7) which acts as bVII7 backdoor to F, then back home in F via its iii VI ii V; on to the last A section.

Thanks, understood.

 

Thinking of it that way is harder for me because it treats each of the four-bar sequences as its own different thing. I hear those sequences as being essentially the same thing, transposed and repeated:

 

subdominant - bVII7 (pivot V7)

subdominant - bVII7 (pivot V7/ii)

subdominant - bVII7 (home key)

then 3 - 6 - 2 - 5 in home key back to the tonic.

Mike
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This morning, I happened to listen to Joe Henderson's version of another Jobim tune, "Triste," from his great album "Double Rainbow." (Youtube link is below). And his variations on that tune reminded me of this thread.

 

I'm actually not sure which changes are different from the original (mostly because I'm unsure whether the Real Book changes I've seen are correct in the first place). But Joe's version is definitely different from how I've usually played this.

 

To begin with, the first chord of the start of the second chorus (usually written as the "B" section) is different from the beginning of the tune (kind of similar to one of the alternate takes on TGFI mentioned above). But there are some other changes towards the end of the tune also (at least during the head). During Joe's solo, the changes do seem mostly to track the Real Book chart. But during Herbie's solo, the changes differ again (I think). And while it's possible Herbie was just being Herbie, it seems to me that the bass is following along. In other words, I think that they may have agreed to play some variation on the changes behind Herbie's solo.

 

Anyway, I love this version, and I think I'll try to figure out and transcribe what's actually going on.

 

[video:youtube]

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