Video Tutorial: Chords For Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Fun With Chords For Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Chords For Somewhere Over The RainbowThe chords for Somewhere Over The Rainbow (music by Harold Arlen & lyrics by E.Y. Harburg) make up what has undoubtedly considered to be one of the finest written classic standard songs of all time. The song is often referred to by this title due to the fact that the word “Somewhere” is the first word of this all-time favorite hit and immediately precedesĀ  the commonly known title, Over The Rainbow. Written for the movie Wizard of Oz in 1939, it went on to become Judy Garland’s signature song. It’s no surprise that it was awarded the American Film Institute’s greatest movie song of all time.

A Video Program Using The Chords For Over The Rainbow

The song also ranks #1 on the famous Song of the Century list and it ranks no less on my own list of personal favorites. It was for this reason that I actually created a video program for aspiring piano stylists based on the chord changes of this classic. I had a lot of fun with it, too. The idea was to offer the program in four modules. Each video session demonstrates more progressive styling tips. I wanted the ultimate goalĀ  for the student to be able to create his or her own personal piano arrangement. The program is presented in an “over the shoulder” format (you look directly over my shoulder to see what I am playing). It consists of tips, techniques, and strategies with topics including chord voicings, fills, and improvisation. It seems to have become quite the popular learning tool, for which I am grateful.

Judy Garland sings the song in Ab Major here in the movie. In the program mentioned above, we go through the chords for Somewhere Over The Rainbow in C Major. This is a key that beginners can relate to. If you have never played the song before, these sessions offer a great opportunity for you to pick out the actual melody by ear as we explore the changes using an original melody. Truly, the aspiring piano stylist can grow with those four video tutorials.

Chord Changes For Over The Rainbow: Genius!

Harold Arlen displays pure genius in his approach to staying within the diatonic system (for the most part) in the chorus as he leaves the tonic chord and comes back home to it. This song also lends itself ever so well to the art of chord substitution. Personally, I feel that when the original changes leave themselves open to so much creativity, it’s a mark of a piece of exceptional work. He chose to stay in the original key of the chorus for the bridge rather than modulating. His use of the II-V-I chord progression is clearly stated and soon followed by an implication of a key change at the close of the bridge. However, he comes back home to the II-V of the tonic key, leading back to the I chord in the chorus.

E.Y. Harburg certainly did justice to the song with those lyrics, as anyone would agree. The story conveyed by those words, together with Harold Arlen’s musical intelligence and Judy Garland’s presentation of Over The Rainbow have made it a masterpiece that will always prove to stand the test of time.