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The Girl From Ipanema

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“The Girl From Ipanema” is a bossa nova tune written by Antonio Carlos Jobim and became one of the modern worlds popular songs. It was original written for a musical comedy entitled “Dirigivel”.
The 1964 album “Girl From Ipanema” that included Stan Getz, Jao Gilberto and Astrud Gilberto became an international hit and was topping charts all around the world.

Jobim composed this tune at his home in Ipanema, a seaside neighborhood located in the southern region of the city of Rio de Janeiro. It was inspired by a real girl named Helo Pinheiro who is the official “Girl From Ipanema.” Portuguese lyrics were written by Vinicius de Moraes and English lyrics were later written by Norman Gimbel.

This is one of those tunes that you need to know even if you don’t want to know it! Chances are at one point in your life you will be asked to play this song; whether by the lady at the bar, the bride at the wedding, or the big tipper eating at the restaurant wanting to sit in with the band to display his Sinatra skills. So study up! There is no escape!

This tune is most commonly played in the key of F Major.

Videos to learn the melody/changes

Brent Vaartstra
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. Too much people, like “the lady at the bar”, think it is jazz. No, it is a brazilian song and you have to hear a lot of music from this country to begin to really sing or play it. João Gilberto knew all the all-fashioned sambas of the 1930’s, and then he invented his way to play and song all and new songs.
    You can also listen to Baden Powell’s 1964 “Girl”, and look at some youtube brasilian tutorials like or here (after 4′ the professor shows the influence of samba, choro and jazz in bossa nova).

    • We don’t post melody lines for two reasons. We promote learning the melody by ear as this helps you really internalize the tune and research the way different players phrase the melody. There is nothing wrong with getting a fake book, but often times the written melody does not properly represent the way it should be played. We also encourage people to try lifting the chords from the recording before checking with a chord chart.
      The other reason is it would be a violation of copyright, as melodies(not chord changes) are copyrighted.

  2. I haven’t found the sheet music anywhere to “Girl from…” or other standards on this site.
    It would be real cool if they where also posted. But thanks for all this.. cheers..

    • Take a look again, the chord charts should be there for every standard on our site. Let me know if you still can’t find them

  3. hey guys,

    some chords are NOT correct. for example the last chord of the B (aaba) is not a C7 but a Bbo7 if you listen to the play-along track.

    • Hey Tim,

      I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you. I stand by Brent’s work and the chords here, which are the most common changes for the tune.

      With regard to the last bar of the bridge (B section), a C7 in practice is a dominant chord, which is the most altered chord in jazz. It wants to move to F (which it does on the first bar of the last A section, the first chord on the second page of our chart).

      Fakebooks may say C7, but it is standard practice to interpret that and alter the chord. For example, when they see a V7 chord in context, cats may interpret that as a C9, C13, C7b9, a C13b9, or C7alt at will, depending on the sound they want and depending on what the soloist is playing.

      Bbdim7 is an astute observation, but what you are actually hearing on the play along is a C7b9. They are effectively the same chord, by the way.

      When we spell them out:

      Bbdim 7= Bb, Db, E, G

      C7b9 = C, E, G, Bb, Db

      Notice that a C7b9 is just a Bbdim7, but with an added C as the root. Those two chords are very similar! I think about it like this: Any 7b9 chord is the same as a diminished chord starting on the third of the 7b9 chord. Edim7 (same notes as Gdim7, Bbdim7, and Dbdim7, since diminished harmony is so symmetrical) is the same as C7b9, only with a C7b9 there is an added C for a root.

      It could be argued that almost any diminished 7th chord is actually a sub for its corresponding 7b9 chord. For instance:

      C C#dim7 Dm7 D#dim7 is a common progression in many tunes.

      These changes are very closely related to:

      C A7b9 Dm7 B7b9

      Anyway, I hope this helps a little bit! My main point is that when you see a dominant 7th chord, you probably want to add something to it if you are playing jazz. You can add 9 or 13, or you can alter the sound with b9, #9, #11, or b13. You can use different combinations of these altered notes. Let your ear be you guide, and always use taste to figure out what will fit. Thanks for commenting!


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