ALFIE (lesson request)

Hi Hayden, could we please have a look at ‘Alfie’ sometime? Intermediate level. A lot of the arrangements out there are advanced. It’s a difficult lead sheet so presume it’s intermediate level to begin with.


Agree, this tune is beautiful, would love to see a tutorial on it. There’s a very nice Bill Evans version.


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My apologies for the late reply @niall - I thought I had replied to this. After seeing your post last month I immediately listened to the tune and printed off the lead sheet. Indeed the form is unusual but the harmony is very beautiful.

We can definitely cover this tune. I set myself a new year’s resolution to create a new piano course in every month of 2023. So far so good with my progress on the new “Minor Harmony & Improv Course” which will be ready towards the end of the month.

I will get started on this tune with some listening and planning asap. Perhaps the course could be Bill Evans related or titled. I will think of some ideas.

@john - yes I was immediately drawn towards this Bill Evans recording of the tune:

I see that he has other versions too:

There is also a transcription of this television recording version here:


Look forward to see what you come up with, @Hayden!

I just watched the third YT video in your post, from Helsinki in 1970, probably around the time Tuomo’s parents were thinking about having children!

It’s fantastic–great sound quality, a terrific arrangement, one of the nicest live Evans videos I’ve seen, but what really stood out is the setting and interview. I poked around a little bit…apparently this was a private performance and conversation at the home of a famous Finnish composer, Ilkka Kuusisto. It was filmed for Finnish TV and later colorized. Here’s the full 30 min version, which also includes Emily (which, after listening to again, realized probably inspired Waltz for Debby) and Nardis.

Also tagging @Tuomo for obvious reasons!


@niall great choice and great video finds @Hayden @gregb. Heading right to the shed now to practice after that great interview and playing with Evans. Very inspiring!

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Likewise! The melody and harmony is already beautiful which makes my job a little easier :grin:

I’ve watched these performances/interviews many times, but I never knew a colourised version existed. Thanks for sharing!

Yes the interview section also made me head to the shed earlier; wise words from the maestro himself.

@niall - yes the form of this tune is not standard, and the chord changes are already quite rich without reharmonisation.

I have created a cleaner version of the chord changes with the sections clearly marked. I find that the real book version makes the sections difficult to visualise.

This is a first draft so please take it with a pinch of salt. I will do my due diligence listening to various recordings and make amendments as necessary.

More to follow.


Amazing performance and some wise words from the great Bill Evans! Also enjoyed how the performance did not feel Bill Evans centered and an equal amount of respect and appreciation were given to the insurmountable talents of Eddie Gomez and Martin Morell.

Looking forward to the Alfie tutorial!

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Alfie, what a great tune!

I recorded solo version of this tune on my latest album, coming hopefully out this Spring!

Keeping you posted!


Awesome, I look forward to hearing it.

@tuomo - Do you have any tips on memorising tunes like Alfie that follow non-standard forms?

The chord chart I created above from a couple of sources has a 10 bar A section, followed by a 16 bar B section, and then a 14 bar A section to finish the tune.

Repetition and playing the tune many times would help to internalise the form but I know that you have a gigantic repertoire of tunes that you have memorised so I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this.




I’d think simplifying as much as possible will help to get started with memorisation; for example in Alfie, based on the melody, I’d think the following:

Form: AABA
1st A section 10 bars
2nd A section 8 bars
B section 8 bars
3rd A section 14 bars, or more depending if you want to play the outro loop

After this, try to find all the similar things, for example all A sections start the same, and the first 2 A sections are almost identical, 2nd A just skips the last 2 bars of the first A.

Overall process is the same as with more standard forms; listening lots of versions, learning to sing the melody, and understanding where the harmony is moving.

I’ve asked a colleague who wrote a good lead sheet of the tune to send it, I’ll be posting it here asap!



Yes that makes a lot more sense than my version above.

Awesome, and thanks for the memorisation tips!

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Here’s my friends lead sheet/arrangement of Alfie I promised to share:

Alfie_concert.pdf (86.8 KB)


Thanks @Tuomo!

Quick question: If the lead sheet is in Ab, what’s the meaning of the note:

Voice and piano rubato (piano gives only Eb )

Just curious.


Hi @scott1 , thanks for writing!

Tha marking “Voice and piano rubato” means that the first A section is to be played ‘rubato’, meaning freely, not in time by only piano and vocals. “(piano gives only Eb )” tells the piano player to give only the note Eb before the beginning, to show the starting note of the song to the vocalist.

I hope this helped,


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Thanks for getting back @Tuomo

I knew the term rubato; it was the “(piano gives only Eb )" that confused me. Now it makes sense.


Hayden ,

Also - in celebration to the amazing work and life of Burt Bacharach, you could put together a seminar or tutorial of the ‘ALFIE’ song, to mark his great achievements and this tune ‘ALFIE’ would be a perfect one.

It’s version in the simplest form is in the link below by Bacharach himself.

It would be wonderful for you to make this happen and share with PianoGrooveers.