Fly Me To The Moon Chords: The Ultimate Guide

This classic Jazz tune has been played countless times & countless ways – Let’s learn the Fly Me To The Moon chords!

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • How to play Fly Me To The Moon for beginners
  • How to play this song with full chords
  • What the ‘ii-V-I’ progression is & how to use it
  • How to understand A & B sections in jazz
  • The concept of Jazz standards & how they work

Get Ready To Learn These Fly Me To The Moon Chords!

The Great American Songbook seems like an unattainable goal for mere mortal guitarists like ourselves.

With songs by legendary composers from Rodgers and Hart to Gershwin, the collection of music from the mid-20th century is jazzy and sophisticated.

More than that, it sounds, well, difficult.

Luckily, we’re always here to help break things down for you and show you how easy music can be.

The songs of the Great American Songbook are as joyful and fun as they are educational, and among the first standards to learn  is the Frank Sinatra treatment of the classic “Fly Me to the Moon.”


This song is an excellent choice if you’re just beginning to learn some standards.

  • The Fly Me to the Moon chords are jazzy, but they won’t turn your fingers into pretzels.
  • The chord changes, are frequent but not too fast.
  • The melody is easy to sing and swing while you keep the beat on the guitar.
  • We’ll show you how to play these Fly Me to the Moon chords in the most reasonable guitar key for the song, along with some easy and intermediate chord substitutions.

Let’s crack open this timeless tune and play ourselves a piece of music history!


Fly Me To The Moon Chords: The Song Background

Bart Howard, composer of “Fly Me to the Moon,” was grinding it out as an accompanist for cabaret singers in the 1950s while writing songs in the style of his idol, Cole Porter.

He wrote the song, originally titled “In Other Words,” as a cabaret ballad after his publisher told him he’d have more success writing simpler songs than the ones he had been penning.

He developed it while working in the cabaret scene, and it was initially released by singer and incredible Renaissance woman Kaye Ballard in 1954.


Peggy Lee recorded it in 1960, giving it some popularity when she sang it on The Ed Sullivan Show.

The song itself isn’t the only popular thing we’ll be talking about today.The Fly Me To The Moon chords themselves have a lot of significance in Jazz music. Let’s discuss.


In 1964, “Fly Me to the Moon” changed forever.

Quincy Jones was arranging the songs on Sinatra’s album It Might as Well Be Swing (with the Count Basie Orchestra), and changed the song from a waltz to a swinging four-count bar.

  • It’s hard to overstate the impact this song has had on the world over the last 60 years as a well-known hit.
  • By the time Sinatra sang the song, it had already been recorded over 100 times.
  • By 1995, it had been recorded 300 times.

Let’s take a look at the Fly Me to the Moon chords.


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Fly Me To The Moon Chords For Beginners

We’re going to play this song in the key of C major.

It’s a common key for this song as it’s easy for any instrument.

You can play this song in any key that suits your voice by learning these key-of-C chords and using a capo wherever it feels and sounds good.

The main challenge in this song is the sheer number of chords!

You’ll end up using all of them, so we’ve included some easier stepping-stone versions of these chords  where it’s possible.

Check out all of the Fly Me to the Moon chords below.

Some of these are probably familiar, so practice the rest until you’re fairly comfortable.

Am7 (x02010)


(If you don't understand the above image please read our article "How To Read Guitar Chordboxes In 60 Seconds". It will make everything clear!)

Dm7 (xx0211)

G7 (320001)

or (xx0001)

Cmaj7 (x32000)

F (xx3211)

or (xx3210)

Dm6 (xx0201)

E7 (020100)

A7 (x02020)

Fm (xx3111)

or (xxx111)

If you are looking at that huge stack of chords and feeling a little bit nervous, don’t worry – practice makes perfect and with time, you’ll be nailing all of these.

You can practice these chords in pairs.

  • There’s a tendency in a lot of songs for chords to work in pairs.
  • The Fly Me to the Moon chords are an excellent example of this.
  • It’s not important for you to fully grasp the music theory behind it in order to get these chords to work for you.

Practice the Fly Me to the Moon chords in these pairs:

  • Am7 to Dm7
  • G7 to Cmaj7
  • F to Dm
  • E7 to Am7

Getting those changes down is more than half the job done with this song!


Pro-Tip: The reason chords tend to pair up has to do with the Circle of Fifths.


A fifth (musically speaking) is a measured distance between notes.


If C is one, then G is five. Count it on your hand.


Chords lead to each other by fifths, so that when you play a G or especially a G7, the next chord your ear expects is a C. This principle is hard at work in these Fly Me to the Moon chords!


Fly Me To The Moon Chords For Intermediate Players

You don’t need to know a bunch of complicated shapes to play these Fly Me to the Moon chords. The beginning guitar shapes above work beautifully.

Using moveable chord shapes, however, gives you an excellent first lesson in jazz chord progressions.

When chords pair up the way they frequently do in Fly Me to the Moon, around the Circle of Fifths, you can usually find moveable shapes that are close together and easy to find.

Am7 (5×5555)

Dm7 (x5x565)

G7 (3x343x)

Cmaj7 (x3x453)

Fmaj7 (1x221x)

Bm7b5 (x2x231)

E7 (x79797)

A7 (5x565x)

Fm (133111)

As above, practice these chords in pairs, as follows:

  • Am7 to Dm7
  • G7 to Cmaj7
  • Fmaj7 to Bm7b5
  • E7 to Am7

As it happens, the pairs of chords above make up the progression of Fly Me to the Moon chords in the beginning part of the song.


“Wait a minute,” you may be saying to yourself.

“In the beginning of these Fly Me to the Moon chords, there’s a D minor, so why are you making me deal with this Bm7b5 monster?”

Take a look at the chord shapes side by side:

Dm (xx0231),

Bm7b5 (x2x231)

The Bm7b5 is just a Dm chord with a B in the bass. We could also call it Dm/B, which is a little more comprehensible as a guitar chord name.

You can simplify the Bm7b5 by removing the root and making it a Dm, although the harmonic movement of the song through the Circle of Fifths indicates that the B is what belongs on the bottom of that chord.

  • Tearing apart chords to look at the notes inside them is a gigantic rabbit hole, and a lot of studying can be done over these Fly Me To The Moon chords.
  • When you begin playing jazz chords however, it helps you to understand how harmonic shifts happen in a song.


Fly Me To The Moon Chords: The Song Structure

The great majority of songs that we learn on guitar are built a certain way, especially in the guitar-centric genres of pop, rock, blues, and folk.

There are verses, and usually there are either refrains or choruses. Sometimes there are bridges, and sometimes there is an intro and outro.

  • This comes from the folk tradition, where songs were learned by listening and repeating.
  • The simple verse-chorus structure and repetitive melody of the most ancient folk song you know is what made it easy to remember.
  • This is why people have always used songs, from the alphabet song to Bob Dorough’s incredible Schoolhouse Rock collection, to convey important information.


Fly Me To The Moon Chords: Jazz Song Structure

Songs from the Great American Songbook (commonly referred to as “standards”) generally follow a different structure than most current pop songs.

In Jazz, song sections are frequently given letters. This helps us to navigate songs in a way that’s useful and somewhat precise.

  • It’s also less nitpicky than the method of song navigation used most commonly in classical music, which is by measure number.
  • That method assumes that you’re looking at a song score and is not useful when the goal is to perform from memory.

The song structure for the Fly Me to the Moon chords is A, B, A, B1. The number means that the B1 part is similar but ends differently.


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Fly Me To The Moon Chords: The A Section

Each section of the Fly Me to the Moon chords is eight measures. Each measure is four beats.

This is where pairing up and practicing your chords really helps you get ahead of the game.

  • You may have noticed that in music, things tend to go in fours.
  • There are four measures to a line.
  • There are frequently four beats to a measure.

The A part is one chord per measure, except the last measure, and goes like this:

Am7  Dm7 G7  Cmaj7

Fmaj7  Dm7 (or Bm7b5)  E7  |Am7 A7|

You can practice the A section efficiently by beginning to string together the paired chords you’ve already been grooving on.


Fly Me To The Moon Chords: The B and B1 Sections

The B section of this song illustrates a main chord progression in standards and other jazz songs, called a ii-V-I.

This song is in the key of C major, so the numbers come from assigning a number to each note of the C major scale.

You don’t have to memorize the theory of these Fly Me To The Moon chords right now, but the ii-V-I is a progression that will appear over and over as you learn more jazz-influenced songs.

In C major, C is I, D is ii (minor chord), E is iii, F is IV, and G is V.

So in C, a ii-V-I progression goes Dm7-G7-Cmaj7.


The B section of the Fly Me to the Moon chords follows this progression:

Dm7  G7 Cmaj7  Am7

Dm7  G7 Cmaj7  E7

That last chord of the B section, the E7, is a turnaround chord. It sets up your ear to expect that the next chord in the song will be the Am7.

The B1 section of the Fly Me to the Moon chords follows this progression:

Dm7  G7 Cmaj7  |Am7 E7|

Dm7  |G7 Fm|  Cmaj7 Cmaj7

The ending of the B1 part is different because it’s not meant to be a turnaround.  The song lands, or ends, on the Cmaj7 chord.

  • This does not mean that you have to finish the song after you’re done running through the A-B-A-B1 form.
  • After all, that’s only 32 measures, and we haven’t even taken any solos yet!


Fly Me To The Moon Chords: Arrangement

This song, like most standards, is meant to be played through more than once.

Let’s take a look at Quincy Jones’s arrangement used in the Sinatra recording.

Intro: Four bars, mostly of drums

A section: “Fly me to the moon…”

B section: “In other words…”

A section: “Fill my heart with song”

B1 section: “In other words…”

A section: Instrumental

B section: Instrumental

A section: “Fill my heart with song…”

B1 section with tag: repeating “In other words…”

If you are playing this song with other musicians, you can repeat the entire form as many times as you like to accommodate anyone who’d like to take a solo.


How do you take a solo over these Fly Me to the Moon chords, anyway?

Improvising over jazzy chords can sound complicated, but it’s very simple to get started.

  • We’re in the key of C major here, so any C major scale will work with the Fly Me to the Moon chords you have in front of you.
  • You can use a straight major scale or a pentatonic (five-note) scale.


The pentatonic scale is, as its name suggests, a pattern of just five repeating notes. You’re not going to defeat the legend of John Coltrane with it, but it’s a start.

The beauty of starting with a simpler scale form like the pentatonic scale or the major scale is that you can really explore how the notes interact with the chords.

Check out this lesson on the C major scale for more on how to take a solo in this key!


Opening The Doors To Jazz

Standards like these Fly Me to the Moon chords are manageable and satisfying tunes that you can use to introduce yourself to jazz.

There are amazing resources out there that you can turn to, in addition to the National Guitar Academy, to develop your chops and vocabulary. We love this Jazz Guitar Chord Creativity book for getting started.

If you want a bit more context to the lyrics, click here.

Remember, practice makes perfect!

Recommended Resources

If you’ve enjoyed this lesson, we have other places for you to go next! Continue on your path with these lessons:

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