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Standard Study Guide – Black Orpheus

Written By: Matthew Warnock
Published By: Guitar for Life LLC
Copyright 2017 Guitar for Life LLC 2
Table of Contents

Introduction ........................................................................................................ 4

Harmonic Analysis ............................................................................................ 5

Samba Comping Pattern 1 ............................................................................ 10

Samba Comping Pattern 2 ............................................................................ 15

Samba Comping Pattern 3 ............................................................................ 18

Scales for Soloing ............................................................................................. 21

Samba Scale Patterns ..................................................................................... 31

Arpeggios for Soloing ..................................................................................... 34

Samba Arpeggio Patterns ............................................................................. 38

Samba Rhythm Soloing Patterns ................................................................ 41

Major ii V I Lines .............................................................................................. 48

Minor ii V I Lines .............................................................................................. 52

Soloing Study 1 – Jim Hall Inspired ........................................................... 55

Soloing Study 2 – Chords and Notes .......................................................... 58 3

Welcome to the Black Orpheus study guide.

Great to have you here!

When learning any jazz standard, you need to have an understanding of
four main elements:

Ø Melody
Ø Form
Ø Soloing
Ø Comping

Because of copyright issues, this eBook leaves out the melody and
focuses on the other three elements.

By studying form, soloing techniques, and comping patterns, you give
yourself everything you need to jam this tune on guitar.

From there, you can add the melody, learning it by ear or from a lead
sheet such as you find in the Real Book.

Make sure to work each section in this eBook to get the most out of your

It’s no use being able to rip a solo over a tune if you can’t comp the
chords, or you can comp great chords but get lost in the form.

It’s the marriage of these three devices, form-soloing-comping, that
provide the skills needed to jam this tune with confidence.

So, grab your guitar, turn up your amp, and learn how to play one of the
most popular jazz guitar songs, Black Orpheus. 4
Harmonic Analysis
Before you learn how to play this song on guitar, take a minute to
understand the form and progression for Black Orpheus.

First, this song has a number of different names, but no matter what
name you use, the song is the same.

Some of these names include:

Ø Black Orpheus
Ø Manhã de Carnaval
Ø Carnival
Ø A Day in the Life of a Fool
Ø La Chanson d'Orphée

As well, like many jazz standards, there are a number of ways to play
the chord changes to this song.

The ones I’ve chosen for this eBook are the ones I’ve seen and heard the
most on gigs over the past 20 plus years.

If you prefer to use a different chord here and there in the tune, go for it.

Just be prepared for others to use these chords in their playing when
jamming this tune on a gig or pick-up session.

Now let’s get to the form of Black Orpheus.

The song is divided into two halves; both start the same but end

Because of this, you can think of the first half as A, and the second half as
A’, a variation of the first half of the song.

Here’s how those two halves break down in their harmonic content. 5
Analysis - 1st Half

The first half of the song starts and ends with ii V I chords in Am, in bars
1-4 and 13-16 in the chart below.

Then, it moves into the relative major key, C major, for a bit in the
middle, where you have ii V I VI and ii V I IV chords in C.

Though it’s not a true modulation here, as C and Am use the same key
signature, I labeled it as C major to make it easier to see those changes.

Other than that, notice the focus on ii V I chords in both keys, as that will
be essential studying in your comping and soloing on this tune. 6 7
Analysis - 2nd Half

The second half of the tune uses all the same chords as the first, except
there’s one new change, Em7b5.

The Em7b5 is part of a ii V I to Dm in the second line of this half of the

As well, this half stays in A minor throughout, though it does have a ii V
to the ivm7 chord in bars 5-8.

There, Em7b5 is the iim7b5 of Dm7, A7alt is the V7alt of Dm7, and the
Dm7 is the ivm7 chord.

Beyond that, the chords stick around Am, including a very common walk
down in the third line.

There, you start on the ivm7 chord, and then play ivm7 with its b7 note
in the bass, in this case it’s Dm7-Dm7/C.

Then, you play a ii V in Am, Bm7b5-E7alt, followed by Am7 then Am7
with G in the bass, it’s b7.

The phrase finishes on the bVImaj7 chord in Am, Fmaj7.

The use of the descending bass is a common way to create movement
over static chords.

In this case, it’s used to move from ivm7 to VImaj7, passing through Im7
along the way.

Keep an eye out for this progression, you see it in many jazz standards,
and it can be intimidating when you first encounter it.

But, if you understand what it is, how to comp, and how to solo over it,
you’re preparing yourself for success on this, and other jazz standards. 8 9
Samba Comping Pattern 1
The most important part about playing any Brazilian jazz song is nailing
a convincing and authentic comping pattern.

Often we guess at what rhythms and patterns we should use in our
comping, or play with rhythmic freedom as we do in a bebop tune.

But, Brazilian jazz has standard rhythms and comping patterns that all
guitarists playing this music should have down.

To help you develop this side of your playing, and learn the tune at the
same time, here’s an essential Samba comping pattern to work out.

To begin, you lay down the root note of each chord on the 1st and 3rd
beat of every bar.

Doing so not only outlines the roots, it lays the steady beat needed to
hold things together when you add syncopation below.

Though it’s a simple exercise on paper, this can be tough when applying
it to a whole tune.

Before you move on to the next step, play root notes for every chord in
Black Orpheus to solidify this concept in your playing.

Audio Example 1 10
The next step adds a chord, the top 3 notes of the shape, on beat 1 of
each bar.

Here’s how that looks over the first four bars of the song before moving
on to the next step below.

Audio Example 2

The next step is to add a chord, top 3 notes, on beat 2 of each bar.

Here’s how that looks over the first four bars of the song before moving
on to the final step in the next example.

Audio Example 3 11
You finish off the rhythm by adding a chord, top 3 notes, on the & of 3 in
each bar.

Here’s how that looks over the first four bars of the tune to practice,
memorize, and smooth out before taking it to the whole tune.

Audio Example 4

Now that you know the pattern, you apply that rhythm to the entire

Go slow, work this one phrase at a time, then bring it all together to play
the tune as a whole.

Though it’s only one rhythm, keeping it steady and solid in the pocket is
tough over a whole tune.

Work with a metronome, then the audio example, and finally over the
backing track as you expand this rhythm in your studies.

Audio Example 5 12 13 14
Samba Comping Pattern 2
Now that you have the first Samba pattern down, you can work on a
syncopated rhythm that only features two attacks in each bar.

You might be thinking that this is easier than the full rhythms you just
played, but this rhythm is tough to get down.

The reason for this, is that you have to anticipate the next chord in the
progression on the & of 4 in each bar of the tune.

So, on the & of 3 you play a shape for the chord that you’re on at that

Then, on the & of 4, you anticipate the next chord change by a half a
beat, causing many players to rush this rhythm or lose the form.

This beat, the & of 3 and & of 4 only, mimics a drum used in Samba
music, and therefore it’s an essential Samba rhythm to learn.

Because of this, take your time, count every bar, use a metronome, and
go very slow with this rhythm to begin.

Start by learning one bar at a time with a metronome, slowly, and
counting each beat.

After you can play the rhythm correctly in bar one, then add bar two,
then bar three, etc., until you can play the rhythm in every bar.

This rhythm is not only important on its own; it sets you up for the 3rd
Samba rhythm that follows.

Take your time with this rhythm, but have fun with it. It’s a tough one to
nail, but when you do, it fits right in the pocket.

Audio Example 6 15 16 17
Samba Comping Pattern 3

In this 3rd pattern, you combine the previous two samba patterns to
form a full comping pattern over the tune.

This means that you play the first Samba pattern, then you add one
extra attack on the & of 4 in each bar.

As was the case in the 2nd Samba rhythm, the & of 4 anticipates the next
chord in the progression.

Because of this, you need to start slow with this pattern, work it one bar
at a time, then connect each bar to form the progression.

It’s tempting, since you know the first two rhythms already, to dive in
and combine them over the whole tune.

For some people that can work, but for others that causes mistakes to
creep into your comping, resulting in practice room frustration.

Take your time, use a metronome, break down each bar one beat at a
time if necessary, then build everything back up to the full rhythm.

This 3rd Samba rhythm is one of the most commonly used for Black
Orpheus on guitar, so it’s worth taking the time to get down.

If you’re stuck on the rhythm, listen to the audio example a number of
times and clap along.

This will get the rhythm in your ears so you can have an easier time
taking it to the fretboard from there.

After you have this rhythm down, put on the duo backing-track and play
all three Samba rhythms in a row to compare them back-to-back.

Audio Example 7 18 19 20
Scales for Soloing
When learning how to solo over Black Orpheus, scales are a good place
to start, as you only need three different scales to outline all the chords.

From there, you can move on to arpeggios and lines when building your
soloing vocabulary over this tune.

The three scales that you need to solo over this progression are as
follows, with fingerings for each below.

Ø JH = Jim Hall Scale
Ø HM = Harmonic Minor Scale
Ø Maj = Major Scale

Here’s how those three scales line up for each chord in the song.

While you only need three different scales to solo over this song, you
need to play those scales from different root notes.

Because of this, make sure you practice these scales in every key needed
to solo over this tune.

Or, better yet, practice them in all 12 keys so that you’re prepared to use
these scales over this, or any standard you’re soloing over.

If you forget the shorthand to any scale, refer back to the above list so
you know which abbreviation is used for which scale.

Last thing, notice that the scales often change in each bar, meaning that
you have only three scales, but you need to move quickly between them.

Because of this, go slow and work these scales in the order you see
below in order to best prepare yourself to use them in your solos. 21 22 23
Now that you know where to put each scale in the progression, you
learn about how each scale is built and played on the guitar.

There are two positions for each scale shape so you can move them
around the guitar without jumping in your solos.

To begin, start with the one scale you probably haven’t heard of before,
as I made the name up, the Jim Hall scale.

Jim Hall Scale

When analyzing Jim’s solo on this tune, and Paul Desmond’s for that
matter, I came across a group of notes that Jim used over m7 chords.

This group of notes I’ll call the “Jim Hall Scale,” as beyond this usage it’s
not a commonly referred to scale in jazz.

The Jim Hall scale uses the intervals 1-2-b3-4-5-b7, all the notes in a
minor scale, but it leaves out the 6 or b6.

This means that this scale is very versatile over m7 chords, as it doesn’t
imply Dorian (6) or Aeolian (b6).

Rather, it lies somewhere in between those two sounds.

Learn this scale in both keys, Am and Dm, and in both positions, then
add it to your solos over this tune.

It’s a fun scale to play with, and the leap between the 5 and b7 provides
extra interest as you explore this sound in your solos. 24 25

Harmonic Minor Scale

The next scale is the harmonic minor scale, which is commonly used in
jazz over dominant chords, creating a 7b9,b13 sound.

When doing so, you play the tonic harmonic minor scale over a 7th

This means that if you see E7 or E7alt, you play A harmonic minor, as E7
is the V7 in A minor.

Doing so creates a mode that’s commonly called Phrygian Dominant. 26
Learn both shapes in Am and Dm below, then add it to your playing over
Black Orpheus.

When soloing over minor ii V progressions, such as Bm7b5-E7alt in the
key of Am, you have three choices.

Ø You can solo over the iim7b5 chord only.
Ø You can solo over the V7alt chord only.
Ø You can solo over both chords with scales or arpeggios.

In this guide, you focus your attention on the V7alt chord for the whole
progression when using scales.

This means over Bm7b5-E7alt you play A harmonic minor over both

If you prefer to outline both chords in your solos, mix in the m7b5
arpeggio when soloing over the minor ii V changes.

This allows you to outline each chord, if that’s what you’re going for, and
mixes arpeggios with scales in your solos.

Both bring a sense of variety to your lines if you’re heading down that
road in your studies. 27 28

Major Scale

The last scale is the major scale, which you use over the ii, V, I, and IV
chords in C major on this tune.

Learn these shapes in as many keys as possible, as the major scale
comes up time and again when soloing over jazz standards. 29 30
Samba Scale Patterns
After you get the three scales under your fingers, you can expand them
in your playing by adding patterns to those shapes.

You can do this to build your technique and knowledge of those three
scales, as well as provide material to use in your solos.

Each of these pattterns is written over an A harmonic minor scale shape.

After you can play them in this key and scale, take them to other keys
and other scales to get the most out of them in your studies.

To begin, here’s a syncopated four-note pattern that runs up the scale.

If you want to take this pattern further, accent the 4th note of each
group, so beats 1 and 3 of each bar.

Audio Example 8 31
The next pattern is a syncopated descending scale pattern.

Here, you play down the scale starting from the highest note, beginning
on the & of 1.

Then, on the next & of 1 in bar 2, you start on the 2nd highest note and
descend from there.

You repeat this until you reach the tonic note on the 6th string.

Audio Example 9 32
The next scale pattern is a variation of the previous descending pattern;
only here you have an extra rest added in on beat 2 of each bar.

This causes the line to have a “hiccup” sound that adds a new dimension
to your solo when adding this pattern to your playing.

Audio Example 10 33
Arpeggios for Soloing

Alongside using scales in your solos, it’s also important to add arpeggios
to your lines over Black Orpheus.

Arpeggios outline each individual chord in the progression, and provide
contrast to scales in your solos.

To help you work arpeggios into your solos, here are fingerings for each
chord in the tune.

Start by learning the first shape, then soloing with it over Am7.

When ready, move on to the Bm7b5-E7alt shapes and solo with them on
their own.

From there, solo over those chords with these arps, and use the scales
you already learned over the rest of the tune.

As you proceed, add one new arpeggio at a time until you build up to
soloing over the entire tune with arpeggios.

If you start to stumble on memory or fingerings with any arpeggios, take
your time and work that shape until it’s solid.

As arpeggios are essential when soloing over this, or any, standard,
there’s no rush to get them down.

It’s better to work on one shape at a time until you nail it than rush
through and stumble through these shapes in your solos.

Lastly, these shapes were chosen so that you outline the chords with as
little movement in your fretting hand as possible.

After you get these shapes under your fingers, or to reinforce these
shapes as you learn them, check out the patterns below. 34 35 36 37
Samba Arpeggio Patterns
To help you expand your arpeggio lines over this tune, here are common
Samba patterns that you can work on and add to your solos.

Work each pattern over the Am7 shape below, then take them to other
arpeggios when ready.

From there, use them in your solos over Black Orpheus as you mix them
into your arpeggios over the track.

To begin, here’s a lower neighbor pattern added to each note in the

Here’s the formula for the first arpeggio pattern.

Ø Arpeggio Note
Ø Chromatic Note Below
Ø Arpeggio Note

Now that you know what the pattern is, time to take it to the fretboard.

To begin, apply it to an Am7 arpeggio, and then take it to the rest of the
arpeggios in this tune from there.

When ready, add this pattern to your solos over Black Orpheus. 38
Audio Example 11

In this pattern, you add a lower approach note to each arpeggio tone in
an Am7 shape.

Here, you play one fret below each note in the arpeggio to create a
tension-release sound in your lines and solos.

Work it on this chord, then others, before bringing it into your solos
over the entire progression.

Lastly, mix it with the first pattern in your technical and improvisational
workout to expand this pattern further in your studies. 39
Audio Example 12

The final pattern mixes an upper and lower approach note to arpeggio

On the first note of the shape you add an upper approach note, one fret
above that note.

Then, on the second note, you add a lower approach note, one fret
below that arpeggio tone.

This pattern continues from there through the entire shape.

Audio Example 13 40
Samba Rhythm Soloing Patterns

In this section you work on developing your rhythmic vocabulary in a
Brazilian setting.

Each of these rhythms has been expanded from their original 2/4 time
signature, which is how most Samba is counted.

This means that in the original rhythms you would play 8th and 16th
notes, compared to quarter and 8th notes as you do here.

This is done to make it easier to get under your fingers, as well as apply
these patterns directly to Black Orpheus, which is in 4/4 time.

The first pattern is written over an A harmonic minor scale.

After you can play this pattern over this scale, take it to any other scale
or arpeggio you’re working on with this tune.

From there, add this rhythm to your solos over the tune.

If you want to expand this rhythm to a faster feel, play each quarter note
as an 8th note, and each 8th note as a 16th note.

Audio Example 14

Here’s a syncopated line over the same A harmonic minor scale.

In this pattern, you rest for an 8th note, then play 3 8th notes over the
scale from there.

The toughest part of this pattern isn’t the notes you play, it’s the rest
that you don’t play.

Because of this, count along, write out the counting if needed, and work
slowly with a metronome until it’s comfortable.

From there, take it to other scales and arpeggios, then add it to your
solos over the tune when ready.

Lastly, if you want to expand this pattern, turn the 8th-note rest into a
16th note rest, and the 8th notes into 16th notes. 42
Audio Example 15

Here’s another highly syncopated pattern that plays 3 upbeats in a row,
& of 1, 2, and 3, followed by 8th notes on 4 and 4 &.

Go slow with this pattern, clap it out with a metronome and write out
the counting if needed.

From there, work it one bar at a time while counting to get it under your
fingers and into your ears.

It’s a tricky rhythm to nail, but once you do, it’s a very fun pattern to add
to your solos over this or any Brazilian jazz tune.

Lastly, to expand this pattern, turn each 8th-note rest into a 16th-note
rest, and turn all 8th notes into 16th notes. 43
Audio Example 16

In this pattern you play all up beats, all &’s, in each bar.

What makes this pattern work is the rests on beats 1 and 3 of each bar.

This breaks up the held notes and gives the pattern a “bouncy” feel at
faster tempos.

Again, go slow, count, write out the rhythms, and work this one bar at a
time until you’re ready to run the whole pattern together.

To expand this pattern, turn any 8th-note rests into 16th-note rests, all 8th
notes into 16th notes, and all quarter notes into 8th notes. 44
Audio Example 17

In this pattern, you imitate the Samba 3 comping pattern you learned
earlier; only here you don’t hold the last note in each bar.

The pattern plays down beats in the first part of the line, 1-2-3 beats,
then up beats on the & of 3 and 4 to finish each bar.

To expand this pattern, turn all quarter notes into 8th notes and all 8th
notes into 16th notes. 45
Audio Example 18

This is a very common Samba rhythm pattern, where you play a dotted
quarter note, dotted(tied) quarter note, and a quarter note in each bar.

Doing so hides the 3rd beat of the bar, and gives the rhythm a sense of
forward motion that’s important in Samba grooves.

Because you don’t play the 3rd beat in any bar, it’s easy to rush this
rhythm, so make sure to count along when first learning this pattern.

Then, if you want to expand this pattern, turn the first two notes of each
bar into dotted 8th notes and the last note into an 8th note. 46
Audio Example 19 47
Major ii V I Lines

As Black Orpheus contains both short and long major ii V I progressions,
learning lines over those chords is essential when playing this tune.

In this section you learn four lines, two short and two long, that fit over
the major ii V I progression.

Learn each line as written, then use them in your solos over the tune to
expand them in your playing.

If you like any of these phrases, take them out of this chapter, work
them in 12 keys, and add them to other songs in your solos.

In the first line, you play up the Dm7 arpeggio, then switch to a rhythmic
pattern over G7.

As well as having an interesting rhythm over G7, this line has a lower
neighbor tone on that same chord.

The note D#, stuck between two E’s, is a lower neighbor between the
13th of G7, E, and the 3rd of Cmaj7, E.

If you like that lower neighbor sound, as you also heard it in the
patterns earlier, apply that note to other areas of your soloing.

Audio Example 20

The next short major ii V I line goes down the D Dorian scale, then
jumps up from the 3rd to the b9 of G7, B up to Ab.

This is a common technique found in the playing of Wes Montgomery
and others called “octave displacement.”

Octave displacement is when you continue in alphabetical order down a
scale, but you jump up an octave to break up the line.

Here, rather than continuing down from B to Ab in the same octave, you
jump up to the Ab and continue down the scale from there.

If you like this pattern, which you also saw in the scale patterns section
earlier, work it over other keys and scales in your playing.

Audio Example 21 49
You now borrow a chapter from Hermeto Pascoal, a famous Brazilian
composer and performer, as you use triad subs over a long ii V I.

Here, you play Bb-Eb-Ab as subs over Dm7-G7, before resolved Ab down
to G and then to C to end the line.

If you like this sound, work on keeping those triad subs in your lines,
just change the notes you use to outline those chords.

Because you’re using subs in this line, the first bar and a half sounds
tense, and it should, before resolving into the second half of G7.

Audio Example 22

Here’s a mostly diatonic line that uses two essential chromatic note
concepts in the first and second bars.

The first note, C#, is an approach note into the root of that chord, D.

Approach notes are played one fret below your target note, before
resolving to the target note from there.

As well, there’s an enclosure in bar 2 that uses a chromatic note, D#.

Enclosures like this one are built by playing a fret above, then fret
below, then your target note. 50
Again, if you like either of these chromatic concepts, extract them from
this line and add them to other areas of your soloing.

Audio Example 23 51
Minor ii V I Lines
You now move over the minor side of the tune as you learn short and
long minor ii V I lines.

Again, work the lines in the keys given, then take them to the tune as
you add them to your solos.

From there, work them in all 12 keys if you want to explore any of these
lines further in your playing.

The first line uses arpeggios to outline each chord in the progression.

You play a Bm7b5 arpeggio over Bm7b5, then a Bdim7 arpeggio over
E7alt, creating a 7b9 sound over that chord.

Then you play Cmaj7 over Am7 to finish the line.

When soloing over minor ii V I chords, you can play iim7b5-iidim7-
bIIImaj7 to create colors over the V7 and Im7 chords.

Doing so creates a V7b9 and Im9 sound over both chords in the

Audio Example 24 52
The next line uses a lower neighbor tone over Bm7b5, A#, as well as an
approach note over E7, D#.

From there, the line is diatonic.

Audio Example 25

The next line uses syncopation, up beats, and a b13 over A7alt to create
tension and release over this progression in D minor.

If you like the sound of this line, take the rhythms out and add them to
your playing.

Focusing on rhythms is a good way to break out of a rut or your old
habits without having to learn anything new on the fretboard.

A good place to start with this idea is to keep the same rhythms as the
line below, but change the notes to your own.

You can do this by writing a line based on this rhythm, or improvising
with the same rhythm but different notes in real time.

Start with writing a new lick based on this rhythm first, then when
that’s easy, try making one up in real time. 53
Audio Example 26

In this final minor ii V I line you use an Em7b5 arpeggio over Em7b5,
then an Edim7 arpeggio over A7alt, same concept as before.

From there, you use a passing tone to connect E on A7alt to D on Dm7
and before finishing the line.

Over Dm7, you use a passing note, C#, and a lower approach note, G#, to
create tension and release over that bar.

This is a longer lick with a good amount of tension, so take your time
and work this line slowly until it gets into your ears.

Then, it’ll be easier to add into your playing from there.

Audio Example 27 54
Soloing Study 1 – Jim Hall Inspired
You now work on playing a full solo over Black Orpheus using rhythms
and lines inspired by Jim Hall’s solo on this tune.

Jim had a great sense of timing and rhythm, and some of my favorite
rhythms from his solo are included in this study.

As well, I broke down a few of his lines, then used the concepts in those
lines to construct phrases in this solo.

Often times we take full lines from our favorite players and add them to
our vocabulary.

But, it’s just as important to study the rhythms and concepts behind
those lines and add those to your playing as well.

This study focuses on those sides of Jim’s soloing vocabulary.

Notice that each four-bar phrase uses one rhythm or phrase from Jim’s

This means that you can learn this solo one phrase at a time to keep
focus in your studies.

As well, it means that you can take any phrase out of this study and add
the line or that rhythm to your own solos.

After you learn this solo, see if you can take the rhythms from the first
page and use them to build your own lines.

Lastly, take the lines, or fragments of the lines, on the second page and
play them in other contexts, keys, and tunes in your soloing.

This way you learn a new soloing study, and build your own vocabulary
at the same time.

Audio Example 28 55 56 57
Soloing Study 2 – Chords and Notes
In the next soloing study, you work on a technique that many players
love to use, but you might not know how to add it to your playing.

This technique is comping for yourself as you solo over a tune, in this
case Black Orpheus.

In this study, you alternate single-note lines and chords, using various
rhythms studied earlier in this eBook.

Because you’re in the context of a solo in this study, you don’t play any
bass notes with the chords, just 3-note shapes.

To get started, learn the single-note lines in the solo one at a time.

Then, learn the comping sections one at a time until you can play them
all fluidly with a metronome.

From there, blend those two sections one phrase at a time until you can
play the entire study.

When you can do that, replace the single-note lines with your own
phrases, but keep the chords as written.

Then, keep the single notes and replace the chords and rhythms with
your own ideas.

Finally, practice comping and soloing on your own over the duo backing
track to take this concept to the next level in your playing.

Audio Example 29 58 59 60