One of the most famous chord progressions in jazz, and one of the ones you encounter early in when learning how to play jazz guitar, is the descending minor chord combo that starts the tune “My Funny Valentine.”
While many of us have played these changes, and can probably recognize them by ear, as guitarists we often fall back on one or two ways of comping through these chords when we play this tune, or a tune that uses similar changes.
In this jazz guitar chord lesson, we’ll be looking at 10 different ways that you can comp through the opening bars to “My Funny Valentine” using different chord shapes, string sets and voice movement.
To begin, let’s take a brief look at the theory behind this chord progression. The chord that make up the opening bars to “My Funny Valentine” are:
|Im |ImMaj7 |Im7 |Im6 |
Or in the key of C minor they would be:
|Cm |CmMaj7 |Cm7 |Cm6 |
What makes these chords works so well, and causes them to be so aurally distinct, is the descending movement from the root through the major 7, minor 7 and finally resting on the 6th of the underlying chord.
In the examples below, you will learn how to put that descending chromatic line, C-B-Bb-A in the key of C minor, in the bass, middle voices and melody line of the chord progression.
This will give you the option of focusing on that descending in the top of your chords, middle of each voicing or as a descending bassline when using these shapes in your jazz guitar chord playing.
My Funny Valentine Chords Practice Tips
To help you dig into these progressions, beyond just learning the shapes on the guitar, here are 5 ways that you can practice these chords in order to get them fully under your fingers, into your ears and into your jazz guitar chord playing.
- Play a chord progression in all 12 keys around the neck.
- Comp through My Funny Valentine and use a different progression each time you hit the Im-ImMaj7-Im7-Im6 section of the tune.
- Play one or more of the progressions and sing the moving line R-7-b7-6 as you comp the chords on the guitar.
- Practice these progressions with different grooves such as swing, ballad, Samba, Salsa, Bossa Nova etc.
- Write out 5 variations of these chords that you’ve come up with on your own, with either new voicings or using combinations from the 10 listed below.
10 Ways to Comp My Funny Valentine Chords
Here are the 10 variations on the opening bars to My Funny Valentine, with audio for each example above the tab/notation.
Grab your guitar, turn up your amp and have fun!
My Funny Valentine Chords 1
My Funny Valentine Chords 2
My Funny Valentine Chords 3
My Funny Valentine Chords 4
My Funny Valentine Chords 5
My Funny Valentine Chords 6
My Funny Valentine Chords 7
My Funny Valentine Chords 8
My Funny Valentine Chords 9
My Funny Valentine Chords 10
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