Autumn Leaves – Joseph Kosma

Here is a ukulele adaptation of a standard of the French song, but also of the jazz repertoire, written and composed by Jacques Prévert and Joseph Kosma in 1949 : Autumn Leaves.

First of all, this is my first YouTube video. At that time, I didn’t think I would be posting videos regularly, let alone creating this blog! So this video was the beginning of this adventure.

Why this song.

To begin with, I had just bought this Ukulele Kala Tenor second hand and at a distance. In order to test the instrument, I started to play Les Feuilles Mortes. Indeed, it is a piece I know well. It was a very good opportunity for me to know if this instrument suited me. And more widely, if the ukulele was a playable instrument because it was my first ukulele.

Cité de l'Ermitage - Mastomo
Cité de l’Ermitage, Paris 20ème © Mastomo


First of all, I think it is good to observe the melody. The most important aspect of this melody seems to me to be the organization in sequence. Indeed, the first 4 notes, G, A, B, E are shifted one second down to F, G, A, D then to E, F, G, C and finally to D, E, F, B.

Then, we can also look at the harmonic grid. We are in Gm. The relative major is Bb. The grid starts with a II V I for Bb followed by a II V I for Gm.

For my adaptation, I first play the theme by playing melody and chords simultaneously. Then, and in order to respond to a jazz context, I play a variation that is similar to a solo.

Video capture.

For this first video, I didn’t prepare much. So I used my laptop to take the picture and the sound at the same time.

Score and tablature.

If you wish, my adaptation as well as the lead sheet of the real book are available in pdf format just below this text.
This is a non-commercial sharing.