How to Play “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Lisa Witt  /  Film Scores  /  UPDATED Jan 12, 2023

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Moon River is an iconic, beautiful song. It was originally performed by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s and won the Oscar for Best Original Song.

<< Download the Lead Sheet Here >>

It’s a timeless classic and one that I’m so excited to teach you! 

Now, there are a couple of things I need to mention. I’ll be playing this from a lead sheet, so we have the melody written out in notation, and the chords are written above.

Some of those chords might be new to you, and they can be intimidating (especially the half-diminished ones). If you see a chord and you have no idea what it means, or you just don’t quite get it, that’s ok! You can just play the root note with your left hand, or play the simple chord instead.

I’ve tried to explain every chord that’s in the song, but if there’s one that you still just can’t wrap your head around, let me know in the comments and I’ll answer it for you!

And speaking of chords, I made an ERROR in the video (I’m so sorry). At 2:20 I talk about a funny chord with a weird symbol. I say it’s a B diminished 7, but it is actually a B HALF-diminished 7. It’s a small difference but it’s important!

B diminished 7 has the notes B-D-F-Ab. B half-diminished 7 (or m7b5) is B-D-F-A. So only the top note is different. But it is a mistake and I’m sorry about that.

This song might be a challenge for you. If so, that’s great! It’s important to push ourselves in order to get better. Just go slow, one line at a time. If you find a section that’s causing you trouble, start with that section.

Go slow, keep it simple and go from there.

Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for more than 20 years and in that time has helped hundreds of students learn to play the songs they love. Lisa received classical piano training through the Royal Conservatory of Music, but she has since embraced popular music and playing by ear in order to accompany herself and others. Learn more about Lisa.

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