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Jazz Guitar Lessons • Moon River Chord Melody • Rhythm Guitar, Vocal Melody, Tab, Video Lessons

As a guitar instructor at Long & McQuade, I have taught countless students (beginners to advanced) how to play or improve their chops.

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Moon River • Rhythm Guitar

This is the chord chart that the chord melody arrangement was based on. All these chords are based in the first three frets and many contain open strings. Most are standard open position chords, with a few exceptions. The F(b5), Bb9#11, F13, Bm7b5 and F#m7b5 shapes are not that common. I have written in the fingering for these unusual shapes, the rest of the fingerings can be be found in the the lesson: The Fifteen Essential Open Chords. Try strumming all downstrokes, three beats to a measure, until you are familiar with the progression, then add some expression to your playing (different strumming patterns, accents, dynamics, etc.). This will add 'feel' to your playing and make it so much more enjoyable for you and the listener. If you are accompanying a vocalist or melody instrument, try to 'read' where they are going. The more you practice this, the easier it becomes. You often hear of two musicians playing off of each other, this is what is meant.

Moon River • Rhythm Guitar

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Moon River arranged for guitar.

Moon River arranged for guitar.

Moon River • Rhythm Guitar

Moon River • Melody

The melody is strictly diatonic to the key of C Major (no sharps or flats in the key signature or the body of the song). When altered notes appear in the transcription and not the key signature, they are are called 'accidentals'. An accidental only lasts until the end of the measure. That is, if the note was to be flat or sharp in the next measure, the accidental would have to be written in again. The barline cancels out the accidental. If the note was to be played as an unaltered note in the same measure, the sharp or flat would be cancelled with a 'natural' sign. All my transcriptions are done in Finale, a professional music transcription and engraving program. Most all programs make these changes automatically.


The phrasing is quite easy. Don't forget the song is in three four time. Instead of a whole note (four beats), filling up a measure, the dotted half note (three beats), fills a measure. Something to note here is that, a whole rest still fills an entire measure whatever the time signature is. This is something that confuses many students, and I can definitely understand the confusion. Three four time is also known as 'Waltz Time' because most all waltzes are written in three four. This time signature results in a kind of lilting, swaying feel.

Moon River • Melody

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jazz-guitar-moon-river-chord-melody
jazz-guitar-moon-river-chord-melody
Moon River vocal melody arranged for guitar.

Moon River vocal melody arranged for guitar.

Moon River • Melody

Moon River • Chord Melody

This is an excellent entry into chord melody arrangements. With a good knowledge of jazz chords, this is fairly easy to execute. Again, the melody is voiced as the top notes of the chords.

This tune is in three four time. Three four time is simple triple meter. There are 3 beats to each bar and each beat can be divided by two. The melody is in the key of C Major. C Major is the only key signature with no sharps or flats. This transcription is played in free time. There is no designation of tempo. No click track was used during the recording. Free time is a very expressive way of playing, since the tempo is determined by the performer. The tempo changes tend to create tension in the slower parts and a feeling of release when the player returns to the base tempo. This also makes a huge difference when combined with dynamics (where the music gets softer and louder).

Chords In Playing Order

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Guitar chords for Moon River.

Guitar chords for Moon River.

Moon River • Chord Melody

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Moon River Solo Guitar

Andy Williams, Moon River

Comments

Lorne Hemmerling (author) from Oshawa on November 04, 2015:

Thanks greenbluenoter, they are beautiful chords!

greenbluenoter on November 04, 2015:

Really a joy to listen these chords. Thanks. Dreamy!

Lorne Hemmerling (author) from Oshawa on February 06, 2014:

You are welcome my friend. Happy to help. Thanks for the feedback!

TobyJazz on February 06, 2014:

Thank you, the chords helped me a lot! =)

Lorne Hemmerling (author) from Oshawa on April 29, 2013:

Hi Douglas. Good question. I placed the E11 in as a 'fill' chord. I wasn't really concerned about the melody at that point, just putting together two chords that fit nicely in that spot (the Bm7b5 into the E11), always a great sound.

douglas on April 29, 2013:

A nice arrangement with excellent voicings, but why is the E at the top of the E11 when the melody note is D?

Lorne Hemmerling (author) from Oshawa on March 24, 2012:

Thanks very much, Bill. Great old song. My sister played it over and over again, when we were young. Andy Williams version.

Bill K on March 24, 2012:

Very nice. You are helping me learn some jazz basics, and why not learn the basics on a great song like "Moon River."

Lorne Hemmerling (author) from Oshawa on January 09, 2012:

Thanks so much for the compliments, lucybell21. Coming to your house would be a long commute. My sister used to play accordion. We played Red River Valley over and over again. I know the feeling!

Bonny OBrien from Troy, N.Y. on January 08, 2012:

Once again I enjoyed reading your hub! You have so much talent!Come to my house and teach me! I suck really bad. it has always been my dream to play really well. My kids used to make fun of me back in the day, when I would play Tom Dooley over & over again, because it seemed so easy on the video that I had bought back then. Aha I hear you chuckling..