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Round Midnight

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“‘Round Midnight” is a tune written by the great innovative pianist Thelonious Monk. Monk claims that he composed Round Midnight when he was 18 and eight years later, Cootie Williams recorded it with his orchestra. It is believed that Williams may have changed the composition slightly but regardless, his name remains on the copyright. Monk first recorded it himself in 1947. Lyrics were later written to this tune by Bernie Hanighen. This is normally played as a walking ballad and features an interesting set of harmonic twists and turns. There is a standard intro that is worth learning. You can hear this on different recordings of this tune and we have included the chord changes in our chord charts.
This is certainly a great one to add to your Monk repertoire!

Videos to learn the melody/changes

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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. As a tenorsax player I have a question about this song. For me it's in the key of Fmaj, but improvising as usually in F does not work here. It works better if I improvise in the key of Ebmaj. Can anybody explain this to me theoretically?

    • Well for one thing, its in the key of F minor, not major
      Also there are a lot of harmonic changes that take it out of the home key


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