Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off your first 2 months of Unlimited Monthly. Start your subscription for just £35.99 £24.99. New subscribers only T&Cs apply

Find out more

The tune “In Your Own Sweet Way”

The tune "In Your Own Sweet Way"
Dave Brubeck’s “In Your Own Sweet Way”. It’s a 32 bar sequence AABA, but with an interlude. Usually, not always, the interlude is played between each chorus. Different players use different length interludes. I like 8 bars. If you look at the Aebersold playalong they just use 2 bars. Look at the penultimate bar and it’s not the key, it’s actually a II-V-I that takes you to B flat in the ultimate bar. So it’s in B flat. Let’s first of all analyse the chords. We’ll forget the altered notes for the moment. We’ve got A, D, G, C, C, F, B flat - that’s a long cycle of fifths taking us to B flat.
So A is VII, D is III, G is VI, C is II, F is V, B flat is I. Then it goes to E flat major7, so it goes form I to IV and we’ve seen that a lot before. You can think of it as a flat 5, if you want to, of A. Anyway, let’s go on to bar 5. That’s clearly a II-V-I taking us to G flat major. The rest of that is basically getting us back to B flat. We’ve got a B major - B is the flat 5 of F, so it basically goes F, C, F, B flat. So it goes V-II-V-I.
The middle 8 - that ’s pretty clear, it modulates now to D major, so II-V-I D major, the first two bars. II-V-I to D major the third and fourth bars.
Fifth bar: II-V-I to C major.
The seventh bar is interesting: it’s a II-V, E flat minor7, A flat 7 taking us to D flat major, but it doesn’t actually make it. Remember, they don’t always have to make it. Instead, we get back to this G7, which is a V of C - it’s back to kind of a C scale at that stage. Then the rest is the same - the last A - is the same as the first A. Altered notes? In the first bar we’ve got A minor7 flat 5, D7 flat 9 - you can think of that as a II-V taking us to G minor7 - so it’s got a flat 5 and a flat 9.
Or you can think of it as something to do with the tune. The tune goes - so it’s still got an E flat kind of lingering on into that bar - so the A minor 7 flat 5 has got an E flat and the D7 flat 9 has got an E flat. Anything else? Yes, in the seventh bar we’ve got a C minor7 flat 5, which is a G flat, and a F7 flat 9 and that’s in the tune.
The tune actually goes. I’m not going to discuss that E natural. I’m just going to think of it as chromatically getting us to F. There’s more one can say about it, but I think it wouldn’t be useful at this point. Next in the middle 8 the first bar has got a B flat in it - and the E minor 7 has a flat 5 and the A7 has a flat 9. What about the chord for the interlude? It’s one chord - there’s no tune - just play over the chord. Some people have it as E flat minor 7. Some people have it as E flat Dorian, which is the same thing.
E flat Dorian, of course, has D flat major as the scale - that goes over it. Some people have it as E flat Dorian over A flat - so there’s a root of A flat - and some people have it as the equivalent of A flat sus - A flat7 sus. The scale that goes with that is A flat7 which is a mode of D flat major7.
I’ll just give you an idea of the tune.
Mentioning the tune, I should say that the tune is pretty well defined in the A section, but it’s not very well defined in the middle 8 at all. I’ve heard versions of Brubeck playing it where he doesn’t play the tune at all. If you listen to Bill Evans he doesn’t play the tune. If you listen to Keith Jarrett he doesn’t play the tune. John Taylor has admitted to me that he doesn’t even know what the tune is in the middle 8. I have a version here from the Real Book and I’ll try and play what’s written here. Let’s just get an idea of the tune. This is an Aebersold playalong - Dave Brubeck album “In Your Own Sweet Way”.
I find it too slow for my tastes. I like to play this medium, or even brighter, so I’ve got it at 140% of the original.
We’ll stop it there because, remember, Aebersold only has 2 bars of Interlude.

Analysing the structure of the jazz standard “In Your Own Sweet Way”.

You can download the chart for “In Your Own Sweet Way” in PDF format at the bottom of this step.

This article is from the free online

Learn Jazz Piano: Advanced and Solo Playing

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now