Stella By Starlight

(by Victor Young)

This great tune is probably the most played jazz standard of all time. It was composed in 1944 by Victor Young for the “ghost movie” The Uninvited. It was in fact the movie’s recurrent theme. Young later asked lyricist Ned Washington to add words to it.

This tune is played in all sorts of tempos and styles. I personally prefer it as a walking ballad or a medium latin. The chord progression lends itself well to personal interpretation. Jazz musicians generally love to improvise on the changes. Although many chord substitutions are common over Stella by Starlight I stayed close to the basic harmony for this arrangement.

As always, you have the melody straight in the TABS. Then in between the staff and the TABS, you have possible chord shapes to use for you chord melody arrangement. See the video below for an idea of how yours truly (your teacher!) approaches it. 🙂

STELLA BY STARLIGHT jazz guitar chord melodyStella by Starlight PDF (Chord Melody, Lead Sheet & CHORD sheet)

Jazz Guitar Chord Melody: Video Demonstration

So, the video is this Stella By Starlight jazz guitar chord melody arrangement demonstrated, with some improvisation. the PDF (with TABS) for the complete arrangement and the fingerings. Note that yours truly sometimes let himself go … so be merciful. That was just one take!!!

As with most tunes on the website, this chord melody PDF contains three things: the leadsheet (chord symbols + melody), the chord melody arrangement (played in the video here), a basic chord chart on the last page(basic guitar shapes for you to use in comping.)

Suggested listening

I’d say you could walk in any jazz jam session in North America and hear a decent version of the tune but… I believe it’s a good idea to go directly “at the source”: Charlie Parker’s 1952 recording of Stella was the first jazz version of this piece. It’s a must hear!

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