The Girl From Ipanema is a beloved jazz standard by Antonio Carlos Jobim and lots of people like to play this song. It has a beautiful melody but the bridge is really complicated to understand.

So, in today’s video, I’m going to be going over a full-on chords analysis of the bridge of the Girl From Ipanema, so you can understand it better and therefore, play the song better.

Important Links and Resources

Suggested Resource:

This lesson comes out of my eBook and Companion Course “The Jazz Standards Playbook Vol. 2.” Check it out here.

Further Reading:

Ultimate Guide to Jazz Theory

30 Stepsto Better Jazz Playing

12 COMMENTS

  1. Take a look at another Jobim song "Meditation" in the key of F.
    From bars 9 to 16 the chords are exactly the same as the bridge bars 9 to 16 in Girl from Ipanema.
    From bars 5 to 8 of Meditation, again if you substitute A-7 for Fmaj7 in bar 5 you get the same as your substitution in Girl from Ipanema eg I to IV. in bars 5 to 8.
    So unless I have missed a trick, its only the first 4 bars of Meditation that are different from the bridge of Ipanema.
    I wonder which he wrote first?
    Tim Drewitt
    UK

  2. Hi Bret,
    I like this explanation but have a slightly different way of understanding Bars 5 to12 of the bridge.
    The move from the I chord to bVI7 is a feature in many standards. Examples are:-
    Out of Nowhere (bars 2 to 3), Robbin’s Nest (bars 2 to 3), I’m Beginning to See the Light (bars 3 to 4).
    Examples starting from a minor tonic, i to bVI7 appear in :-
    Angel Eyes (Bar1 to 2), Georgia (2nd bar of the Bridge), Summertime (bar 5).
    Now this root movement up a minor 6th or down a major 3rd to a dominant 7th chord is what is happening in bars 6 to7, and 10 to 11 of the bridge.
    From bar 3 of the bridge to the start of the final ”A” Section, the root movement is “round the cycle” – up a perfect 4th or down a perfect 5th, with one exception. The exception is bars 12 to 13, (Eb7 to Am7), which is a tritone.
    Root movement up (or down) a triton is fairly common. See Autumn Leaves (bars 4 to 5), Baubles Bangles & Beads (bars 8 to 9 & bars 16 to 17).

  3. Brett, Great timing I was just working on this song trying to understand it. Here’s what I need your guidance on: the chromatic root progression you’re assuming is based on the implied 1 chord in measures 15 and 19 right? F# to A to Bb? First I’m confused because F# to A is a minor third, not chromatic, and only A to Bb is chromatic. ?? The other thing that throws me in your analysis is that the root of F#m is not A and the root of Gm7 is not Bb. I was looking at those changes as 1 minor to the flat 6th in measures 15 and 19; and the D to Gm as a fourth. Forgive my lack of understanding, theory is all still pretty new to me.

  4. Brent- love your analysis of the bridge to Girl from Ip. I've played that tune a thousand times over decades and as far as I'm concerned, you've nailed it. And- also, the (bluesy) IV7 fits the metaphor (lyrics) so well. Any further tangent or complication people may want to run with-
    -not needed!
    Happy Holidays!

  5. I like this approach. Parallel melody, parallel chords

    | Fmaj7 | Fmaj7 | Fm7 | B7 |
    | Amaj7 | Amaj7 | Am7 | D7 |
    | Bbmaj7 | Bbmaj7 | Bbm7 | Eb7 |
    etc

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