Autumn Leaves / Les Feuilles Mortes

  • Number of parts: 4
  • Difficulty: Challenging
Luscious harmonies, interesting rhythms & a beautiful melody. Complex, yet accessible.


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This arrangement is in 4 parts for the chorus (the better-known section of the song) & 3 parts for the verse. With enough time, it can be taught to many groups, even with some less confident members; it seems to be one that lots of people are motivated to try hard with. Because of the clashes, the big range for each harmony & the timing issues in the chorus, I’ve categorised this song as Challenging, but don’t let that put you off if you think your mixed-ability group might fancy giving it a go.

Joseph Kosma created the music for the song, for the 1946 film: Les Portes De La Nuit, using a poem by the film’s scriptwriter, Jacques Prevert. Johnny Mercer created English words in 1949. When I was creating the arrangement, I felt that the long gaps between the lines at the beginning of the chorus invited a harmony response to the melody’s call. Later the backing parts create short patterns (broken chords) between them, so this arrangement demands good listening by all the singers to all the other parts… &, of course, that’s the joy of acapella singing!!