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Girl From Ipanema Chords (Bridge Analysis)

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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.

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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

Brent Vaartstrahttp://www.brentvaartstra.com
Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for learnjazzstandards.com 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."

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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