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  Polka Dots and Moonbeams (key of F)  

Ted Greene Arrangement - Nov, 1992
Compilation pages and comments by P. Vachon

Ted's Original Lesson sheet
Polka Dots and Moonbeams (key of F, 1992)

My Compilation Page

Here is Ted’s early version of the 1940 Van Heusen / Burke jazz standard, written out for a student in a private lesson. It’s good to keep in mind that all of Ted’s written arrangements were done for his students. When Ted performed live his arrangements were spontaneous, loosely based on ideas he tossed around, or worked out in advance and then modified according to how he was feeling or hearing at the time. He would effortlessly shift between styles, tempos, keys, and textures according to his fanciful whims—topped off with beautiful intros, interludes, modulations and tag endings. To commit an arrangement to paper meant making choices from a seemingly endless palate. Student arrangement pages were often meant to instruct a student according to their needs. Sometimes he would write an arrangement based on a particular area that a student needed to work on, giving him challenges without being too much beyond his current abilities. Ted had folders of chord-melody arrangements for “Level 1, 2, or 3” or “beginner, intermediate, or advanced” players.

If Ted wrote out an arrangement on-the-spot during a lesson, he would give that page to the student and ask him to make a Xerox copy for him and bring it back at the next lesson. This is why Ted had copies of all his “Given to Individual Students” arrangements. Usually Ted left out the names of the chords as a homework assignment for the student to add. In the case of this arrangement, the chords were written in, but they are not in Ted’s handwriting. I believe the student took the page home, added his chord names and then Xeroxed it for Ted. Because of this I chose to type in the chord names on the compilation pages rather than adding the student’s chord names via the cut-n-paste method.

I put Ted’s arrangement in standard notation, and, like his other version of this song in the key of D, it sounds best when played in a relaxed rubato pace, as opposed to “in time.” Learn the rhythms from the notation in order to know how the song sounds, but then let it go and be freer with the time and phrasing. Be sure to check out Wes Montgomery’s version as a good benchmark.

Some comments and fingering suggestions: (referring to the compilation pages)
Measure 1: For the smoothest transition between the F and the E7, use these fingerings: 3,2,1 then to 3,2,4,1. Fingers 2 and 3 just slide down a half-step.
Measure 1: It may seem a bit weird, but the Dm7/Cworks best for me as:  1,2,2,2,1.
Measure 6: The diagram of the Fmaj7 chord may look a bit confusing. It probably should have been written on two grids instead of just one. First play the Fmaj7 followed by the X note. Keeping your second finger planted, play the“box” or “square” notes as:  3,2,1. Now add your little finger for the dotted note of the next chord diagram (the Abm), and then lift little finger for the X note. Finally, play the Abm chord.
Measure 13: Finger the Bbm as:  1,2,3,1,1 and then add finger 4 for the Xnote. Notice how this inner line of F to G leads nicely into the A note of the following F chord. You might want to emphasize this line to bring it out.
Measure 14: The Fmaj9 to A/C# looks more difficult than it really is. In order to play the X note on the second string you have to either lift a finger or lean your first finger backwards at a slant. Instead, you’ll find it much easier and be able to keep the chord sustaining if you simply move the E note on the third string up a half-step (slide your pinky up one fret). This also sets you up for the A/C# chord (the square notes). As an alternative, you might try to play a Am/C instead of the A/C# by lowering the bass note one fret.
Measure 24: It’s probably easiest to add the C bass note with your thumb, unless you prefer to barre.
Measure 31: For the Gm6 this fingering works best for me: then lift 4 to get the F note with the side of the first finger (the GVE Fifth Finger technique).


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