Autumn Leaves (1945 song)

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"Les feuilles mortes"
Song by Yves Montand and Irène Joachim
English title"Autumn Leaves"
GenreJazz, pop
Composer(s)Joseph Kosma
Lyricist(s)Jacques Prévert (French), Johnny Mercer (English)

"Autumn Leaves" is a popular song and jazz standard composed by Joseph Kosma with lyrics by Jacques Prévert.


Kosma was a native of Hungary who was introduced to Prevert in Paris. They collaborated on the song "''Les Feuilles mortes'' [fr]" ("The Dead Leaves") for the 1946 film Les portes de la nuit where it was sung by Irène Joachim.[1] Kosma was influenced by a piece of ballet music, "Rendez-vous" written for Roland Petit, which was itself borrowed partially from "Poème d'octobre" by Jules Massenet.[2] Johnny Mercer wrote English lyrics and gave it the title "Autumn Leaves".[1]

Structure and chord progression[edit]

The song is in AABC form.[3] "Autumn Leaves" offers a popular way for beginning jazz musicians to become acquainted with jazz harmony as the chord progression consists almost solely of ii–V–I and ii–V sequences which are typical of jazz. It was originally, and is most commonly, performed in the key of G minor, but is also played in E minor and other keys. Eva Cassidy's version (clip on the right) is played in B-flat minor.

Its iv7 – VII7 – IIImaj7 – VImaj7 – iiø7 – V7 – i chord progression is an example of the circle-of-fifths progression.[4]

\relative c' { 
\partial 2.
\new ChordNames { 
\set chordChanges = ##t
\chordmode { r2. a1:m7 d:7 g:maj7 c:maj7 fis:m7.5- b:7 e:m}

\new Staff {
\tempo "Medium jazz"
\key e \minor
e4 fis g | c1~ | c4 d, e fis | b2 b2~ | b4 c, d e | a1~ | a4 b, cis dis g1

Other versions[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. New York City: Oxford University Press. pp. 24–26. ISBN 978-0-19-993739-4.
  2. ^ Massin, Brigitte (1999). Les Joachim: Une famille de musiciens. Paris: Fayard. ISBN 978-2213604183.
  3. ^ Spitzer, Peter (2001). Jazz Theory Handbook, p.81. ISBN 0-7866-5328-0.
  4. ^ Kostka, Stefan; Payne, Dorothy; Almén, Byron (2013). Tonal harmony with an introduction to twentieth-century music (7th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 46, 238. ISBN 978-0-07-131828-0.
  5. ^ Anonymous. "1987 Programs & Ticket Stubs". The Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2006-11-07. As listed in 1987 program
  6. ^ Poet, J. "One by One". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  7. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  8. ^ Cf. Miles Davis discography by Peter Losin.
  9. ^ "Sergio Franchi". Archived from the original on 2017-03-01. Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  10. ^ François, Corinne (2000). Jacques Prévert, Paroles. Editions Bréal. ISBN 978-2-84291-702-9. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  11. ^ damiimVEVO (2018-02-15), Dami Im - Autumn Leaves, retrieved 2018-06-16
  12. ^ "The Jerry Lee Lewis Show". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  13. ^ Flanagan, Rob. "As Is". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  14. ^ The Big Show. "BigShow-02". BigShow. Archived from the original on 26 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-25. As carried on Internet radio at
  15. ^ "Ben Webster: Autumn Leaves - Digipak - Futura Et Marge". Jazz Messengers. Retrieved 2016-08-22.
  16. ^ "Autumn leaves : Ben Webster et le Trio Georges Arvanitas (Music)". 2016-06-29. Retrieved 2016-08-22.
  17. ^ Anonymous. "Roger Williams". Nebraska Music Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2006-11-07. In 1965, Williams added a chorus and charted it again at no. 10 Billboard Easy Listening as "Autumn Leaves - 1965."

External links[edit]