Fly Me to the Moon

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

Recommended Listening:

  • 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

Backing Track

Listen & Play-Along

Fly Me to the Moon melody for guitar

 

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)

 

Fly Me to the Moon harmonic analysis

 

C Major Scale

The C major scale can be used on all chords that are marked blue in the analysis chart.

C major scale diagram

 

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 scaleABCDEFG#
Played over E7115b13b71b93

A harmonic minor scale diagram

 

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).

 

D harmonic minor scale diagram

 

Fly Me to the Moon – Solo

The solo is based on the variations of two patterns.

 

Pattern 1

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.

 

Fly Me to the Moon jazz guitar pattern 1

 

Here is the major version of this pattern, based on a Cmaj7 arpeggio.

 

Fly Me to the Moon jazz guitar pattern 1b

 

Pattern 2

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 jazz guitar pattern 2

 

Fly Me to the Moon – Guitar Solo

Fly Me to the Moon Guitar Solo

Fly Me to the Moon Guitar Solo page 2

Fly Me to the Moon Guitar Solo page 3

 

Related Lesson: Fly Me to the Moon Chords

 

Fly Me to the Moon Guitar Pro FileGuitar Pro File

 

Fly Me to the Moon Band in a Box FileBand in a Box file

 

Band in a Box 2021

14 thoughts on “Fly Me to the Moon”

  1. Anthony McCormick

    Wow, thanks so much.
    This detail and background helped to bring it alive and opens new doors.

  2. Anonymous

    Magnifico como siempre. Muchas gracias maestro.

  3. Wellington Farias

    Parabéns, Parabens !!! Cada vez mais, nos coloca
    com mais vontade de aprender. Muito interessante como explica o assunto. Obrigado.

  4. Bernhard

    Great! Above all the harmony analysis is so helpful for me ( being a beginner in jazz guitar – im working the ” beginners guide” right now).
    One question: what is the meaning of the
    “V/ii” in the 8th bar – A7 ?
    V to D maj ? – (sorry if i have missed something – looked the beginners guide through, but didn’ t find an answer)

    Once more: great !
    Thanks
    Bernhard

    1. John

      V/ii is nearly what you’ve said. It is the V of the D minor scale or D Dorian (ii degree of C major). V/iii in the key of C would be the B7 chord as it is the V of Em (iii). Because the V of any minor or major scale is the same (G7 is the V in C Major and C Minor: or A7 is V in D Major and D Minor) you were basically correct but you are better of thinking in the correct harmony

      1. Anonymous

        thanks so much !
        my “jazz-thinking” is growing from nearly nothing to a little – and i like it !

  5. Anonymous

    Great lesson ! thanks very much !

  6. Barry

    Fantastic!! Your lessons are so so well done. Always love your lessons Dirk. Thanks much.

  7. Bluescat

    Thank you so much. I already knew that standard but you opened new possibilities. It’s like learning a new tune! Merci. 🙂

  8. Merci beaucoup pour cette magnifique version.
    Bien à vous

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