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  Both Sides Now  

Ted Greene Arrangement - 2004-2005
Compilation pages by P. Vachon


Both Sides Now is a classic and well-loved Joni Mitchell song, written in 1967 and recorded by her in 1969 and 2000. It has been covered by many and diverse artists. Ted recorded a version of it in 1978 on a cassette that we have posted in the Audio section. His arrangement was written 26 years later, and these two are quite different. The recording begins in the key of B and then modulates to D. The written arrangement begins in D and then modulates to B.

Ted mailed a cassette of the recording to his student, Allan Whiteman, who told us, “In Ted’s letter that accompanied the tape (which I cannot find), he apologized for the solo stuff saying he was just “fooling around.”… When I told him I particularly loved Both Sides Now, he again apologized for it, saying that it was very rough, ‘mainly because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.’ I guess in his mind he really was fooling around. God help the rest of us!”

The rendition is quite gorgeous, probably due in a large part to Ted’s touch, his tone, vibrato, and the delicate sensitivity and feeling he can get out of playing just even a little triad...not to mention his exquisite intro, reharmonization, interlude, and harmonics! Too bad we don’t have a studio quality recording of him playing this piece. Oh well, we can be grateful for what we do have.

Because the written arrangement is incomplete, I went ahead and finished it. I hope I’m not been too bold in doing so. The original sheet is marked as “p. 1” but we have no document for p. 2. It ends at measure 39, which is after one verse in the new key of B. For the missing sections I used Ted’s chords from a transcription of the recording and from chord moves transposed from the earlier “key of D” sections of the written arrangement. My intention was to keep it as Ted-like as possible and keep “me” out of it. On page 7 of the compilation page I’ve detailed the sources for these additions.

As usual Ted didn’t put chord names on most of the gird diagrams—this work was for the student to do—and so I went ahead and added them. There are a few sections that need clarification and explanation, so below I’ve added a blow-by-blow account of some of these areas. Measure numbers are from the compilation pages.


Measure 1:       Right from the very beginning Ted made a variation from the original score.  The melody calls for two quarter-notes of A followed by G and F#.  Instead, Ted plays A, F#, G, F#, and on the recording he is more rhythmic with the melody.  In the notation I’ve added an A in red on the second beat to show the original note. 
Now, that first Dmaj9 chord is a challenge to sustain the notes while you play the X’d F# note on the second string.  Here is what James Hober offers as a solution for fingering that baby:

Dmaj9 with finger 2 double-stopping and finger 3 barring three strings.  Move finger 4 for the X.  Not all notes sustain.

2 2 1 4 3 3


T T 1 3 2 2 with finger 2 double-stopping the top two strings.  Finger 4 for X. 
This way you get all notes sustaining.

Measure 4:       Finger the G/9#11 chord as 1,2,3,4,1.  If you have great pinky barre technique you might be able to get away with 1,2,4,4,1.  Good luck!

Measure 7:       The original melody on beats 1 and 2 calls for three A notes.  Ted’s diagram only has one A, so I added another one.  He also played F # instead of A on beat 2 as a variation.  No big deal, but I marked it in red so you’re aware that he changed it slightly. 

Measure 9:       Like in measure 1, Ted is not playing the A note on the second beat.  I added it in red in case you’d prefer to include it.

Measure 10:     On the 4th beat Ted adds an extra D note (which I marked in red).  It’s not clear, but I think he was intending this to be a hammer-on from D to E.

Measures 11-12.          This is a tough one to play smoothly.  First you play the F#m7 chord.  Then with your right hand you tap the C# on the first string and hold it.  Now move your left hand to finger the G chord and do what Ted refers to here as “back-of-hand strum” followed by tapping or sliding the C# note on the first string to the D note on the 10th fret.  If that wasn’t hard enough, we conclude this little section by playing a very wide-spread D triad.  Oh, and if you want to make it even more challenging you can add the optional notes on strings 4 and 2.  That’s Ted.  Have a nice day.

Measure 14:     The squiggly lines on the Em7 are meant to be sustain notes, maybe vibrato as well.  The rest of the measure is a fill, so perhaps you’re supposed to do some right hand arpeggio rolls or harp harmonics.  Go ahead…be creative here.

Measures 16-29:          Ted did not include these measures.  I added them as an alternate ending in case you wanted to stay in the key of D and go back to the top and do verse 2 before going on to the modulation.  Create your own interlude or fill here.  The chords are from the original score but you may wish to create a completely different progression.

Measure 31:     To me it sounds like the progression is missing a V7 before modulating to B, so I added the F#7+ chord.  Try it…maybe you have a better chord to complete the passage, or you could just jump from the C/9 to the new key as Ted wrote.  It’s all up to you.

Measure 34:     It is interesting how Ted describes the chords here as “approach chord,” “Mixolydian” and “Lydian.” 

Measure 35:     On beats 3-4 I don’t know why Ted didn’t mark the second B note with an X on the D11/13 Chord.  I’m assuming he would have wanted the chord to sustain.  I put that last B note in parentheses because it’s an added melody note in which there’s no lyric on this third verse of the song (but there is if you consider this the second verse).

Measures 40-47:          Okay, here is where I continued the arrangement with chords from other places.  As is mention on page 7, these chords are taken from a transcription of Ted’s recording.

Measure 48-50:           I borrowed the chords from measures 17-20 and transposed them to the key of B….same grids, just different fret numbers and names.

Measures 52-58:          This section is also taken from Ted’s recording.  It also includes the F#m7/11 in measure 51.  On the recording Ted doesn’t end after the E/B in measure 48, but instead modulates to the key of D.  I just cut it short here and put in the final B.  You will certainly want to spice this up a bit…maybe some different chords, harp harmonics, arpeggios…whatever sounds good to you.

I hope this helps.  Enjoy!


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