Tenderly Jazz Standard

Tenderly Tutorial – Jazz Piano Lesson

Tenderly is written in the key of Eb Major and has an impressionistic character similar to that are early Debussy. The tune has a 32 measure A – B1 – A – B2 form which repeats the same melodic figures and motives throughout.

There is a melodic motive that repeats throughout to give the tune its character. A motive is a musical idea, usually a recurring idea which contains a short succession of notes. The motive in Tenderly rises up and then drops by a minor second interval.

Score, Transcription & Midi File

To download a .pdf copy of the chord changes and full transcription… head over to the Transcription Library on the Pro Member dashboard . A midi file is also available to run through your favourite midi programs.


  • Leonardo

    Hi, nice lesson. I would like to learn the version that you are playing a the intro witch has a lot more runs, unfortunately you just played the first few bars. Do you think a more elaborated version of the tune would be possible?

    • PianoGroove

      Hi Leonardo, yes sure thing – I can create an updated version of the tutorial. Check out the lesson on the major modes – that’s where the notes in the runs are coming from so it’s important that you understand which modes correspond to which chords. Cheers, PianoGroove

      • Ty

        Hi, if you create an updated version can you make it an additional lesson and leave “this version” on the site? I think this version is great for beginners to get up and running without having too many complex things to work on before being able to play a tune.


        • Ty

          I.e. Tenderly part 2

          • PianoGroove

            Yes great name – thanks! It has been added to the lesson schedule and will be ready over the coming weeks. All the best, PianoGroove

        • PianoGroove

          Hi Ty, yes that was exactly my thinking – it will be a more challenging arrangement that leads on from this one. We can also look at things like upper structure triads and chord substitutions which we did not cover in this lesson. Cheers, PianoGroove

  • Ty

    Great lesson! Thanks

  • Samuel Maylor

    what is the theory behind changing the Fmin7 bar to Abm9-Db13. why does that work

    thank you

    • Hayden

      Hi Sam, this is just a reharmonisation. Reharmonisation is when you change the chords that are written on the lead sheet. Ab-7 – Db13 is a 25 in the key of Gb Major. This works because Bb is in the melody and Bb is the 9th of Ab-9 and the 13th of Db13. The easiest way to think about rehamonisation is to ask yourself “what voicings do I know that contain that melody note on top” Then just experiment and listen to your ears. Does that make sense? Cheers, Hayden

      • Dave


        I was thrown for a loop by the Db7 in bar 6, then I read someone’s analysis saying that the Db7 is a flat VII7, which is borrowed from the parallel minor of Eb, which is Gb minor. I understand this to be a “modal interchange”, where the V7 chord of the parallel minor is used in the major key as the flat VII7.

        So, is something like this also going on with this reharm? You have a ii-V in Gb (the parallel minor), followed by a ii-V in Eb, the major key of the song.

        Or am I overthinking this? It sounds good, so I don’t really care. But I’m a theory geek, so I guess I do care…


        • Hayden

          Hi Dave,

          What you are looking at here is a variation of a 251 progression. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘backdoor 251 progression’.

          Effectively this is a 251 in Eb Major.

          The backdoor 251 progression uses the following formula:

          IVmaj7 → bVII7 → Imaj7

          In the key of Eb Major that would be Abmaj7, Db7 and Ebmaj7.

          The F-7 that you see before the Db7 is the relative minor of Abmaj7. That explains the first chord.

          But what about the Db7, how is this related to the 5 chord (Bb7) you may ask? And how does this function as a V-I into Ebmaj7?

          Well the Db7 is very closely related to the Bb7 (V) and E7 (tritone sub) that you would normally associate with a 251 in Eb Major.

          If you play the following 3 dominant chords with a b9 and then drop the root:

          – Bb7b9
          – E7b9
          – Db7b9

          You will see that each time you end up with the notes of Ddim7 (D-F-Ab-B).

          Furthermore, these 3 chords can be used interchangeably. You will already be aware of the tritone sub option you have. Well another option you now have is
          the bVII7 into Imaj7.

          Here is a nice way to visualize this relationship on the piano…

          Instead of playing Db9, play Db7b9, so you are basically just flatten the 9th in the chord.

          Now look at the notes you are playing… you have the 3rd and 7th of Bb7 and also the b9. If you play Bb in the bass instead of Db7 you are now playing Bb7b9 which is the normal V chord of Eb.

          So effectively the Db7 is just a substitution for Bb7.

          Look out for this progression in other tunes:

          – Bars 4 – 5 of “Misty”
          – Bars 9 – 11 of “There Will Never Be Another You”

          There are many other examples too that you will come across.

          Hope this helps 🙂

          • Dave

            Got it. Thank you. So much to learn…

          • Hayden

            Thanks Dave. I think it’s really great that you are trying to analyse and understand harmony… it sounds like you are certainly on the right path!

            Jazz theory is very challenging to begin with but i can guarantee that with time and focused daily practice you will see improvements with my teaching method.

            There is no ‘finishing point’ with learning jazz…. there is always more to learn and so I like to look at it as a journey that I’m taking for the rest of my life.

            I find that thinking like this takes the pressure off, as sometimes it can be frustrating when progress is slow… as it often is with learning jazz harmony!

            If I can help you with anything else you are working on, just let me know 🙂


  • Jack

    Please I want to learn how to play jazz music… How do I start…tnx

  • marc

    Hi hayden
    I just start tenderly and I have a question about the fingering . What is the best fingering of the first measure Bb C Eb and D of the second measure ? I think I must have the little finger on the D because I must do at the right hand D A D (Eb maj7) ? Have a good day .


    • Hayden

      Hi Marc,

      I use the following fingering:

      Bb(2) C(3) Eb(5) D(5) – so yes you are correct – the little finger is best.

      Notice that I play both the Eb and the D with my little finger… so I slide off the black note (Eb) onto the white note (D) all with my little finger.

      Congratulations that you are now playing jazz standards… you should find that your practicing becomes much more enjoyable!

      All the best 🙂

  • marc

    Hi hayden
    What are the main lessons of theory that you recommend to start well “tenderly”. I think that there is “chord extension 9,11, 13 ”
    And what else ?

    Have a good day.


  • marc

    Hi hayden,

    I start a little bit tenderly with chord extensions (first video for the beginners).
    And at the measure 9, we have Eb maj 7
    You play at the left hand :
    – root and 7th : Eb and Bb : i is OK.
    You play at the right hand :
    – 9, 3, 13, 7 : F G C D
    I don’t understand the right hand because in the melody, we have Bb and not D. Bb must be at the top of the chord in the right hand. Can you explain me ?

    Thank you very much.
    Have a good day.

    • Hayden

      Hi Marc,

      You need to understand that you do not have to play the melody exactly as it is written on the lead sheet. You are free to change the notes, change the rhythm, add notes in, take notes away etc… this is what makes jazz sound unique. Often, if you play the melody exactly as it is written, it sounds quite plain and boring.

      This is part of the creative freedom you have as a jazz musician… you can change chords, change the melody notes, and even change entire progressions with rehamonisations.

      If you listen to 2 different jazz musicians play the same tune, you will hear that they both play it very differently… this is because you are allows to change things to make it your own.

      I hope this helps 🙂