This is one of the most well-known standards of all time. It’s usually done in Bb major/Gminor or G major/E minor, although when I was researching recordings of this tune I found recordings in C minor, A minor, D minor, Bb minor, B minor, F minor with an 8 bar vamp on F minor after the form (Chet Baker), F# minor, and C# minor.

We have included only recordings in G minor below. You may find recordings and a play along in E minor here.

30 Stepsto Better Jazz Playing

Videos to learn the melody/changes

Autumn Leaves G minor

16 COMMENTS

  1. When I click on right of requested song, i can get the sheet music with chord names. However, since I am trying to select chord positions on the fret board that help with chord-melody. Does any of your material show chord charts with fret positions. Worry, I'm not sure i am describing my inquiry very well.

  2. Hello, I'm Daniel from Argentina. I recently join this site and I'm trying to figure out "How learn jazz standards"? Where the chords or transcriptions are? Maybe I'm not getting the idea.

    (Sorry my English)

  3. Hello, I was just wondering, doesn’t autumn leaves have a chromatic turnaround in the B2 section?

    for example, in E MIN

    f#dim b7 emin7

    eb7 dmin7 db7 cmaj7 (chromatic turn around)

    b7 emin7 e7#5

    (head)

    • Hey, think of the turnaround as a harmonic device using tri-tone substitutions for the domV's on ii V progressions.
      For example in Gm, you would start with Gm C7, Fm Bb7. Then substitue a dominant tritone for the C and Bb and they become F# and E.
      Now you have, Gm F#7, Fm E7.

  4. Is there a link or place on this site where you talk about or recommend specific jazz guitar voicings on these tunes? I know some basic ones but not all.

  5. I am pretty sure the trombone is a Bb instr. or at least that is what the trombone player I play with whines about all the time.. lol
    🙂

    • Hey Joe,

      You are right that trombone is a Bb instrument, BUT it’s written parts are in concert pitch (C).

      Trombone used to be my major instrument in high school. The trombone is a Bb instrument because the overtone series begins on a Bb. First position notes are Bb, F, Bb, D, F, Ab(it’s flat in pitch, however), Bb, C, D…depending on the air support and tightness of the player’s lips (embouchure).

      HOWEVER, trombone is WRITTEN in bass clef (sometimes tenor clef, but not often) in concert pitch, even though in a way it’s a Bb instrument. The trombone is NOT a transposing instrument, even though it’s technically a Bb instrument. Weird, huh?

      The trumpet and trombone are exactly one octave apart in pitch. Oddly enough, however, the trumpet is a transposing instrument, and so what sounds a Bb the trumpets actually is written as a C. Their open overtone series SOUNDS Bb, F, Bb, D, F, Ab(it’s flat in pitch, however), Bb, C, D…just like the trombone, but an octave higher. However, this overtone series is written C, G, C, E, G, Bb (flat in pitch), C, D, E…even though it sounds a whole-step lower than written.

      To illustrate, a trombone player and trumpet player could be playing a concert Bb an octave apart. The trombone player would be thinking Bb, and the trumpet player would be thinking C, even though they are both playing a concert Bb.

      Anyway, all that to say that a trombone IS a Bb instrument because the first position overtone series starts on Bb, but they are also a C instrument as far as the written notes go, as the trombone is non-transposing (concert pitch). Trombone players using LJS would look at the parts for C instruments for the chords. We don’t write out the chords in bass clef for trombonists or bass players because we just have the chords, not the melodies, and so the written clef doesn’t make a difference.

  6. That’s right-C just means “concert.” Those tunes are a good starting place. Brent and I are currently working on two new posts each with a list of standards every jazz musician should learn early on- Easy Jazz Standards and the 10 Mother Tunes. Stay tuned!

  7. i get it now, thank you. i play guitar, i’ve learnt myself the basic stuff so i’m planning on just getting some standards under the belt before i go onto learning lead. so does the C after the Bb/Gm just mean ‘concert’. thank for this. it really helped and saved me lots of frustration, what would be the main jazz standards i would have to learn if there are any, i know a couple that are ment to be important in learning jazz, (autumn leaves, misty, all the things you are, blue bossa and the girl from ipanema)

  8. i really don’t understand this, do i need to learn all the pdf’s for Bb/Gm, and what’s with the notes after them (C, Bb, Eb)

    • Hi David,

      Thanks for your honest question. First of all, this key is commonly played in two keys, Concert Bb/Gm and Concert G/Em. It is technically in the minor key, but I like to mention the major key also to avoid any ambiguity, espically since the tune dances between the major and minor keys so much (and since both common keys have a G associated with them: Bb/Gm vs G/Em).

      I don’t know what instrument you play, but not all instruments are in the the Concert key of C. Some instruments transpose to another key, and so they are playing different notes than a piano. If you play guitar, bass, trombone, or piano, or if you sing, then you are a C, non-transposing instrument (which makes life easier!), and you’ll just need to learn the C version (which is in Bb/Gm or in G/Em).

      However, if you play tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, or trumpet, you are a Bb instrument; in order to sound good with a piano, you have to transpose all of your notes up a whole step. You’ll learn your tunes using the Bb version (for this tune C/Am or A/F#m).

      If you play alto sax or tenor sax, then you an Eb transposing istrument. In order to sound good with a piano, you have to transpose all of your notes down a minor third. You’ll learn tunes with the Eb version (either G/Em or E/C#m for Autumn Leaves).

      I hope this helps! Wikipedia has a nice article on transposing instruments if you need more information. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transposing_instrument

      Let me know if you have any further questions!

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