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I have the Bb Real Book, Hal Leonard. Autumn Leaves is in key of A.

When I listen to Stan Getz, I would say its in key of C.

Anyone know the original key?
 

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Original key is Em. Miles played it in Gm.
Morgan, what is the source for the original Em key? Not doubting you, just curious.

Edit to add: Just did some quick searching. Apparently, the song was written in 1945 and introduced by Yves Montand in '46 in the film "Les Portes de la Nuit". Montand sings it in D minor. Is there an earlier recorded version?
 

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Morgan, what is the source for the original Em key? Not doubting you, just curious.
You know, I had always just thought that was right. Spent a few minutes on youtube and it looks like I'm wrong. Yves Montand (who recorded it first) did it in Dm, so did Nat Cole, even Roger Williams. In the movie it's from, it sounds like Ebm.
 

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Booker Ervin recorded it in Em (concert) -- the Real Book key, in other words. And that's the only jazz recording of it in that key that I know of -- everybody else uses Miles' key...
 

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The story I heard somewhere about the RealBook having it in Em is that when the book was being compiled in Boston by Berklee folks, that tune was written out by an alto player. He wrote it out in alto key Em, then that version got put in the original "C" book. Similar story with "Green Dolphin Street" (often recorded in Eb, but in C in the RealBook).
 

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The story I heard somewhere about the RealBook having it in Em is that when the book was being compiled in Boston by Berklee folks, that tune was written out by an alto player. He wrote it out in alto key Em, then that version got put in the original "C" book. Similar story with "Green Dolphin Street" (often recorded in Eb, but in C in the RealBook).
Nice one. May be apocryphal, but it sure sounds true.
 

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I have the original sheet music and it was published in Gm (first chord of the chorus Cm). There is a lovely verse in 3/4. When I play it I like to be in Dm which also suits my voice. But I find that baritone singers like Gm.
 

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The Real Book has the Em version, but I'm not really used to that key with Autumn Leaves.
I'm a lot more accustomed to Gm on it.
Does anyone use the Em version?
Like the jazz brand name players.
 

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I have the original sheet music and it was published in Gm (first chord of the chorus Cm). There is a lovely verse in 3/4. When I play it I like to be in Dm which also suits my voice. But I find that baritone singers like Gm.
For some reason, when I first learned the tune (on piano), I learned it in Am (1st chord after pick up is Dm). So I always thought on tenor, the key should become Bm. So I'm quite relieved to find that concert Gm seems to be correct.

Then later, others told me to play it in the alternative key of Em. So, it that Em tenor key or Em concert (i.e. F#m for tenor)? Though one of the posters say it is concert Em in the Real book, the fact that some of the singers did it in concert Dm would mean the possibilit of Em being the tenor key?

As this is one tune I can sort of navigate better than the other tunes, I'm keen to learn the definitive or most common keys for the tenor on this. Of course, it could be played in any key, but what is the norm?
 

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In my experience there are two "norms": concert Gm or Dm (tenor Am or Em). I've played it in either one or other of those keys for years and years. You're right, of course, you could play it in any key you liked, but those have been my norms. It's a great tune for improvising in a minor key. You can even play Mash bingo. That's where you wait for someone to quote the theme from the film and TV series Mash as if they're being really clever, and you yell out "Bingo!"
 

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In my experience there are two "norms": concert Gm or Dm (tenor Am or Em). I've played it in either one or other of those keys for years and years. You're right, of course, you could play it in any key you liked, but those have been my norms. It's a great tune for improvising in a minor key. You can even play Mash bingo. That's where you wait for someone to quote the theme from the film and TV series Mash as if they're being really clever, and you yell out "Bingo!"
Thanks Pat for that answer! That's great because that is also the two keys I play them in, but I was confused for a while whether the Em was concert or tenor key. Thanks for clearing up my confusion!

It also means I have to relearn my piano Autumn Leaves then, but that is not too problematic :)
 

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I learned this tune by listening to the Ammons/Stitt version from Boss Tenors and got quite a shock several years ago when someone called it in the jazz quintet I was playing with and the Real Book version was in a different key. Never bothered to figure out what key those guys were doing it in but it lays better on tenor in that key than the Real Book version IMO.
 

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Autumn Leaves is an easy and extremely practical tune for learning in all 12 keys, because it's tonal center shifts back and forth between relative major and minor tonalities. That way, you'll have your bases covered regardless of who you're playing with, and you'll learn the major-minor relationship in all keys.

Randy
www.randyhunterjazz.com
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New Lesson:
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Lessons page: www.beginningsax.com/Jazz Improv Lessons.htm
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Rhythm Changes Lesson:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMOW7QAfpwo
 

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From my experience the hipsters played it in G-(concert). Only people I hear play it in the realbook key are people who's only experience with the song is from reading from the realbook.
 

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Any key works for this great song written by Joseph Kosma born in Hungary died near Paris.
Nice to play with a Ziguener flar to the song.
 
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