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How do I play the chords I marked with red dots? First, in measure 4, can I alternatively play C#m7 and F#7? Why does it sound off with the melody then? Second, the chords in measures 8, 9 and 10, how do I play those? To make it clear I'm talking about the chords in the parentheses. I'm not sure how to play them so maybe that's why they don't really sound good with the melody.

Fly Me to the Moon, m. 4 (C#m7 F#7); mm. 8–10 slash chords

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2 Answers 2

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These parenthesized chords are alternatives to the more commonly played non-parenthesized chords.

The first pair should present no problem. The E in the melody is a part of both chords, so should sound fine as long as the chords are played correctly. It may just be that you're not used to hearing the song with the alternative harmonization. It is a rather abrupt change of harmony.

The slash chords are explained in: What does the chord notation X/Y ("slash chord") mean?

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It's a popular plan for jazzers to re-harmonise when they feel the need. The 1st example, C♯m7>F♯7 are both admissible, on the grounds that they both contain an E note - the very one used in the melody (perhaps you're playing them wrong). And they're there to fulfil what every jazzer likes to play- ii V I. BUT - yes, there's a ii V, then comes the twist. Jazzers also like to use tts (tritone substitution), and playing F♯7 in place of the C(7) chord, then the following F chord fulfils that criterion!

Your other 3 (actually 4) chords use a chromatically descending bass line (the notes in brackets). And, being more specific, A7 fits the C♯ note; D7 rather than Dm7 fits, as the notes are ^1 and ^5 of any D; Dm/F is an extension/inversion of G9, and Em7 is a close substitute for CM9. So, in reality, the bracketed chords are just alternative chords which could be mixed and matched where they're written. No need to play them - the originals work quite nicely, thank you, although the alternatives could easily have been the ones used by the composer when the song was born. I often wonder what Bart Howard would have thought of his song being a third longer than anticipated - it was written in 3/4 time..!

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