Stella By Moonlight: Arranged for Cello

Here is the jazz classic “Stella by Moonlight” transcribed and arranged for cello.

Written originally in 1944 as part of a movie soundtrack, this piece has become one of the most popular jazz standards. Its composer, Victor Young (1900-1956) was an American classical violinist who switched over to pop in the 1930’s. Because the melody is so slow, we have almost infinite possibilities for playing around with its rhythms, giving it a free, improvisatory style of delivery. This is probably one of the reasons why it has become so popular, each interpreter being able to give a very different rendition with their own syncopations and rubato. This possibility for great rhythmic freedom also means that it is not worth trying to notate it in a “jazz” style, which is why we present it here in its “square” “skeleton” notation.

  1. Edited Square Version
  2.    Clean Square Version

We play it here in Bb major and repeat the song twice, with the second verse being in the higher octave. For an “Easier Version” simply play the first (lower) verse twice.

And here below is a play-along audio accompaniment: