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Improv on "Happy Birthday"

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by FredH, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. I always seem at a loss when asked to play “Happy Birthday”. I used to play with this crazy tenor who’d blow a scorching version over Bflat rhythm changes, and I’ve played it over minor blues. I try to treat it as a “real” song with differing results, sometime its fun, other times it’s a chore.

    I wonder what others do with it.

    I can imagine some folks refuse to do that stuff but I don’t mind in fact I get a charge how touched the birthday person reacts, not to mention it seems a guarantied $20 tip….
  2. andrewc4000

    andrewc4000 Guest

    Oct 10, 2006
    Irvine, CA
    When my group is ever asked to unexpectedly play Happy bday, it usually ends up just being the first violinist or pianist playing it since we can't figure out what the notes are in the 20 seconds before the guests start singing. what are the notes and chords it's supposed to follow?
  3. in Bb arent the changes:

    Bb | F | F | Bb
    Bb | Eb Eo | F | Bb

    melody starts on the 5

    I got lucky enough to play this with benny green -holy sh*t! best "happy birthday" ever
  4. my group did an on the spot arrangement thats stuck ever since. trombone plays the melody and the bass/guitar start on Bb7 and go down in half steps untill Eb all of the chords are dom. 7 and then aftrer Eb it just repeats again. we dont really blow on it so idk about those changes in your situation.

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