Duke Robillard

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Romance in the Dark


Duke Robillard Lesson >

Romance in the Dark > Chords

Hello Folks, This week we are working on a new tune that is the best example I know of the blues in a 32 bar song form. It's Lil Green's classic, "(Romance) In the Dark." We are going to play with the track from my recording of it with Sunny Crownover. Our first lesson is, as always, the chords and rhythm. In my version of it, we play a Freddie Green style rhythm beneath the electric guitar track. This track works with a jazzy blues style electric guitar or an acoustic Big Bill Broonzy type single string style also.

This is going to be a fun one folks! Duke

Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Duke Robillard
Romance in the Dark
32 Bar Blues
Lil Green
Big Bill Broonzy
Sunny Crownover

Print Print Chords & Tab

Romance in the Dark background listening: Lil Green & Dinah Washington

loop @ 0:00 Duke with Sunny Crownover (note: track starts with the turnaround played twice)

loop @ 1:07 introduction to Romance in the Dark and 32 bar blues (A A B A)

loop @ 4:25 chords for A section

%5/2.X/X.4/1.6/4.5/3.X/X[A6] / / / | %5/1.X/X.5/2.6/4.5/3.X/X[A7] / / /
%10/2.X/X.9/1.11/4.10/3.X/X[D6] / / / | %10/2.X/X.9/1.10/3.10/3.X/X[Dm6] / / /
%5/2.X/X.4/1.6/4.5/3.X/X[A6] %10/2.X/X.9/1.10/3.X/X.X/X[G7] %9/2.X/X.8/1.9/3.X/X.X/X[F#7] / | %7/T.X/X.7/2.8/3.X/X.X/X[B7] / %7/2.X/X.6/1.7/3.X/X.X/X[E7] /

I, IV, II, V turnaround

%5/2.X/X.4/1.6/4.5/3.X/X[A6] / %9/2.X/X.8/1.9/3.X/X.X/X[F#7] / | %7/T.X/X.7/2.8/3.X/X.X/X[B7] / %7/2.X/X.6/1.7/3.X/X.X/X[E7] /

loop @ 9:21 run-through of A section twice (A A)

loop @ 10:22 chords for B section (bridge)

Transition (turnaround) to bridge:

%5/2.X/X.4/1.6/4.5/3.X/X[A6] / %X/X.X/X.4/2.4/3.3/1.5/4[Bm7/F#] %X/X.X/X.4/1.5/3.4/2.5/3[F#dim7] | %5/2.X/X.4/1.6/4.5/3.X/X[A6] / %5/1.X/X.5/2.6/4.5/3.X/X[A7] /


%10/2.X/X.9/1.11/4.10/3.X/X[D6] / / / | %10/2.X/X.9/1.10/3.10/3.X/X[Dm6] / / /
%9/3.X/X.7/1.9/4.X/X.X/X[A] / %7/2.X/X.6/1.7/3.X/X.X/X[E7] / | %5/2.X/X.4/1.6/4.5/3.X/X[A6] / / /
%10/2.X/X.9/1.11/4.10/3.X/X[D6] / / / | %10/2.X/X.9/1.10/3.10/3.X/X[Dm6] / / /
%9/2.X/X.9/3.9/3.9/3.X/X[Dbm7] / %9/2.X/X.8/1.9/3.X/X.X/X[F#7] / | %7/T.X/X.7/2.8/3.X/X.X/X[B7] / %7/2.X/X.6/1.7/3.X/X.X/X[E7] /

loop @ 14:07 run-through of B section, then A (B A)


Backing track with vocal by Sonny Crownover





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halve zool
halve zool Jul 19, 2019

Mr. Robillard, which chords are you hitting at the ending of the song? I get as far as the diminished chords, but then I can't figure out the fingering.


helmut Jan 18, 2016

Hello Duke, thanks for the quick response. With the help of your chords and vocal melody from Li'l Green and Dinah Washington I am perhaps able to make a lead sheet. I'm used to read standard musical notation, so I can not deal with tablature. The best tool of musicians are ears anyway. At my age, I realize that I have a lot in common with Beethoven, I'm not so musical, but at least as deaf.
Many thanks for the help you offered.

helmut Jan 15, 2016

Hello Duke, hello fellow students,
first I say hello to everyone, I'm new here.

Seeking a Lead Sheet for romance in the dark. I have a lot of jazz fake books, but nowhere this song. Thank you for any advice.
Regards Helmut

Duke Robillard
Duke Robillard Jan 17, 2016

Wecome Helmut, I wouldn't know where to find a lead sheet for this. It's not considered a standard although it could be I supose. Soory i can't help you on this one. duke 

Duke Robillard
Duke Robillard Mar 07, 2014

Hi Lizalu, Yes its one of my favorites! Bet this would  be a good tune for you to sing also. Duke 


ooh I love this song, I have the Lil Green version in my collection but hadn't gotten around to working it out, what a great tune I hear it now. thank for the kickstart. I'll be right back

Rpurser Jun 07, 2013



i think at the end of the fifth bar. Ron

Mike Caren
Mike Caren Jun 07, 2013

Hi Ron ... I can help with that.  As I look at it, the chord diagram for F#7 in the A section is on the 9th fret.  

Can you tell me the timecode for the chord you are referring to so I can double check?  

Thanks!   Mike

Rpurser Jun 07, 2013


Never mind, I see it is just a F#9 or F#6 


Rpurser Jun 07, 2013

Hi Duke

In the A section, the chart shows A6--G7--F#7....Your chart shows F#7 being played up at the 13th fret, but in the video you are playing it at the 9th fret it appears...could you give us the chart fingering for that chord?


Tom Apr 11, 2013

Pops... an' his chops...

Pops Apr 11, 2013

Hey Duke -

Here's where I've progressed to with the rhythm.  I feel I've made some gains along the following self critiques but have a ways to go:

1.  don't rush the beat

2.  keep a consistent sound with a percussive feel

3.  let my whole body swing into my playing

4.  still don't have the turnaround right at the 32 bar end

I've never done videotaping before.  It sure can be humbling!  Staying positive, though, and trying to grow as a player...     Thank you for all this,  Pops

Duke Robillard
Duke Robillard Jan 17, 2016

Hi Pops, really good rhythm playing here! very steady and strong. Good job! Duke

Duke Robillard
Duke Robillard Mar 30, 2013

Thanks Tom

Tom K.
Tom K. Mar 29, 2013

Duke , as I said before , what a great song . Been playing it all week . Love the changes .  Thank you Sir !!!

Duke Robillard
Duke Robillard Mar 29, 2013

Hi Sami, Thanks, glad you are enjoying it, next one is coming right up......Duke

Sami Parkkinen
Sami Parkkinen Mar 29, 2013

Meanmojo & Duke,

there's a book called 'Swing & Big Band Guitar -- four to the bar comping in the style of Freddie Green'  by Charlton Johnson. A good book, too.

But this lesson  here is just great.  Thank you once again Duke! Sami P.

Here I am, 1.23 PM (Finland), waiting for the next one and the solo part ... :)

Mike Caren
Mike Caren Mar 29, 2013

@MeanMojo ... Thanks for the suggestion.  GuitarPro is a great program, Sibelius too.  We're likely going to stick with a version of our current system.  Although it's minimalist at the moment, the underlying design is very powerful as you will see over the next couple years.

Duke Robillard
Duke Robillard Mar 29, 2013

stevie boy, Sounds great! Duke

Duke Robillard
Duke Robillard Mar 29, 2013

Hi Pops, You have the chords down good. You should practice through with the track to get the tempo and even flow of the rhythm down now. The new lesson is coming soon. Duke

Pops Mar 29, 2013

Hello Duke & SJ Members,

I am inspired by this gathering!  Thank you all!

In the past, I've hacked around with these kind of chords but never really put anything together.

This sound is so cool, this swinging, shifting harmony...    I flub it half the time and forget it the other...

Here's the third half, when it occasionally comes together ok.  Duke, I realize I've left the song itself behind here in the process of just trying to get the progression down.  I look forward to getting back to it as you lead us toward melody and improv ideas.   Pops

Tom Mar 29, 2013

Attn: Mike Caren... Considering MikeH's suggrstion... I wish you'd take a look at the "Guitar Pro" software, it's a wonderful and usefull program that I use. It's inexpensive. ( I'm not working for them..., honest... )

Go see: http://www.guitar-pro.com/en/index.php?pg=accueil-2&utm_expid=13369301-1 

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