Fly Me to the Moon was written by composer Bart Howard in 1954 and recorded by singer Kaye Ballard in the same year. The song was originally titled “In Other Words” until Peggy Lee, who made the song popular after her performance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1963, convinced Bart Howard to change it to “Fly Me to the Moon”.
In this lesson, you will learn how to play Fly Me to the Moon’s melody, analyze the harmony, and play an easy solo over the chord changes.
It took me 20 years to find out how to write a song in 20 minutes – Bart Howard
- Julie London – The End of the World (1963)
- Frank Sinatra – It Might as Well Be Swing (1964) – Fly Me to the Moon was originally in 3/4. Sinatra’s recording, accompanied by Count Basie and arranged by Quincy Jones, was the first version in 4/4. This version of the song was played on a cassette player on Apollo 11, before landing on the moon.
- Howard Roberts – Goodies (1964)
- Wes Montgomery – Road Song (1968)
- Jim Hall / Red Mitchell – Jim Hall / Red Mitchell (1978)
- Ernest Ranglin – Now is the Time (1999)
- Ray Brown – Some of My Best Friends Are… Guitarists (2002; with Kenny Burrell)
- Ray Brown, Monty Alexander, Russell Malone – Ray Brown, Monty Alexander, Russell Malone (2002)
Fly Me to the Moon – Video
Fly Me to the Moon – Melody
Listen & Play-Along
Fly Me to the Moon – Harmonic Analysis
Before we go on to the solo, we’ll have a look at the harmonic structure and the scales you can use over Fly Me to the Moon.
Structure: 32 bars long, with an ABAC structure. A1 and A2 are identical.
Key: C major (the original is in Ab major)
C Major Scale
The C major scale can be used on all chords that are marked blue in the analysis chart.
A Harmonic Minor Scale
E7 (in Fly Me to the Moon) is a secondary dominant chord that resolves to Am7, the VI in C major.
It is preceded by Bm7b5, forming a minor II V I progression.
A secondary dominant is a dominant chord that resolves to any chord that is not the tonic (I).
The scale of choice to play over E7 is the A harmonic minor scale, also known as the E Phrygian dominant scale or the E Mixolydian b9 b13 scale.
|A harmonic minor scale||A||B||C||D||E||F||G#|
|Played over E7||11||5||b13||b7||1||b9||3|
D Harmonic Minor Scale
A7 (in Fly Me to the Moon) is another secondary dominant, this time resolving to Dm7 (IIm7 in C major).
The scale of choice here is the D harmonic minor scale (= A Phrygian dominant).
Fly Me to the Moon – Solo
The solo is based on the variations of two patterns.
Variations of the first pattern are used in the first chorus of the solo.
This simple pattern is based on an Am7 arpeggio and can be played over an Am7 or Dm7 chord.
Here is the major version of this pattern, based on a Cmaj7 arpeggio.
Variations of the second pattern are used in the second chorus of the solo.
This pattern is based on an A minor triad.
Fly Me to the Moon – Guitar Solo
Related Lesson: Fly Me to the Moon Chords