The Nearness of You - Stunning

Hayden, you did a wonderful job with this arrangement! I can’t believe that I did not know the song before I started it. Now, it is impossible to get it out of my head! I love Norah Jones vocal version. For those of you that have not looked at the lesson, beware you will become addicted to it!!!

I am loving the drop 2 and block voicings.

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Thanks Celia. Glad you like the arrangement.

It’s one of my favourite ballads to play… such a great tune!

And yes the Norah Jones version is amazing, beautiful comping from the pianist:

I also like the Red Garland version:

I think the Norah Jones version is in C Major, I don’t have a piano with me right now to check.

The Red Garland version is in F Major; the same key that we cover the tune in. I had some fun transcribing some of Red Garland’s fills and melodic ornamentation. He plays some really nice stuff.


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Thanks for sharing the Red Garland link. Very nice!!!

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As @celia mentioned, the simplified arrangement is amazing, thanks a lot Hayden for doing this in a beginner-friendly way, that’s exactly what I was looking for!

I have a question regarding the use of the damper pedal in the song (and in general). I’m following the pedaling marks in the transcription, but it sounds a bit muddy in some sections, e.g. in the Am7-D7 ii-V.

Are there any rules of thumb about how to use the pedal? I treat it as an on/off switch at the moment, but I’m sure it’s supposed to be more nuanced than that. Any link to a video or forum post would be more than welcome! :slight_smile:


Hi @Iordanis_Grigoriou :wave:

Yes we certainly have to strike a balance between using the sustain pedal appropriately, and blurring the harmony.

A general rule of thumb is if we can get the desired effect without using the sustain pedal, then don’t use it.

Overusing the sustain pedal can become a ‘crutch’ that hides other areas of bad technique such as not playing legato.

I wouldn’t treat it as an on/off switch, rather a device that we can use to make our harmonies connect smoother where needed. Sometimes we may have large jumps to make in which case the pedal is a useful device.

I’d recommend to try playing the whole song without the pedal. This may sound very strange and unnatural to begin with, but it will also open our ears to the parts of the song where the pedal is not necessary and so we are using it just out of habit.

You may find that there are some parts where the pedal must be used, so identify these points and that is where I would tastefully apply the pedal.

Above anything else, follow your ears Iordanis, if you feel there is too much pedal, leave it out, and vice-versa.

Let me know if that helps and if you need any further guidance let me know.


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