Round About Midnight
Sheet Music, PDF Download, 4 pages, advanced level
A midi MP3 guide track is included with purchase
Monk’s most famous composition, “Round Midnight” was first recorded by Cootie Williams’ Orchestra in 1944, with Monk’s close friend Bud Powell on piano. A private recording made later that year of a solo version by the composer was issued in 2015, and Monk recorded it for Blue Note with a quintet in 1947. It is been recorded thousands of times since, and many guitarists have transposed it from Eb minor to E minor, as Duck Baker does in this arrangement. This is a demanding arrangement in many ways, involving some tricky bends and challenging stretches, but at least the slow tempo gives students plenty of time to change hand positions. One chord shape that definitely requires attention if students don’t already know it the complex E minor chord at the end of the coda, which includes the 6th, 9th, and major 7th. This involves making a half-barre on the 4th fret of 3rd, 4th, and 5th strings with the middle finger and putting the ring finger next to it on the 4th fret of the 2nd string. Meanwhile the index finger holds the 2nd fret of the high string and the little finger is on the 5th fret of the 4th.
We also need to give attention to bar 36, in the B section, not because it’s very difficult but just to be sure that the 12th fret harmonic notes on the 2nd and 3rd strings ring through when we play the note voiced under them on the 5th and 6th strings. And do note that, in bar 41, we want to hold G on the 5th fret of the 4th string as part of the Am13 chord that follows, and also, if possible, the G# on the 11th fret of the A string as part of the the G#M7th chord that follows that (this would involve fretting with the thumb). Another passage that is not difficult is also worth mentioning, because it requires a technique some students may not have used before. This comes at measure 44. After playing the notes we find with the common B7 barre chord on the 7th fret, we need to tap the fret that's 12 frets higher on the bass string with our right index finger to sound the harmonic there. As is always true with harmonics, we are not pushing the string down into the fretboard there, but tapping the string right above the fret itself.
The mp3 accompanying this transcription is a midi version generated by Sibelius, and allowances should be made for the weird way that program interprets the sound of bends.