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“Anthropology” was tune written by Charlie Parker. It is a bebop head based on the chord changes of George Gershwin’s tune “I Got Rhythm”.   There are MANY other tunes that use the same chord progression. We call this set of chord changes “rhythm changes.” It is the 2nd most common set of changes in jazz music, after the 12 bar blues.

It is always good to know a handful of heads based on rhythm changes so you have more material to work with on jam sessions and gigs.  Anthropology is one of the more common heads based on rhythm changes (tunes based on “I Got Rhythm”).

This tune is most often played in the key of Bb major, the most common key for rhythm changes.

Videos to learn the melody/changes

Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for which he owns and operates. He actively performs around the New York metropolitan area and is the author of the Hal Leonard publication "Visual Improvisation for Jazz Guitar." He's also the host of the music entrepreneurship podcast "Passive Income Musician."


  1. Ive never had many people request Anthropology in the thousands of jam sessions that I’ve been to, and if it was it was always shot down pretty much unanimously by the rest of the group. Its just one of those tunes that no one really cares for in my experience. In fact, most prefer a Rhythm Changes for its blowing capabilities not the actual head, which means little to nothing. IF anything most jams will just call Oleo at b=300 rather than call Anthropology.


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Chord Charts

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