Category Archives: Great American Songbook

The Passing of an Era?

One thing I’ve noticed when playing music from the Great American Songbook – that is, songs written primarily between 1920 and 1950 by greats such as Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Rogers and Hart, the Gershwins, et. al. – is that, … Continue reading

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Posted in chord progression, color tones, Great American Songbook, guide tone lines | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Finding The Guide Tone Lines: “All The Things You Are”

Now that we’ve picked this tune apart in terms of structure, it’s time to find the actual guide tone lines. Now, granted  we could have done this from the get-go – our analysis of the piece was not completely necessary. … Continue reading

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Posted in canon, chord progression, common tones, counterpoint, Great American Songbook, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, mathematics, music theory, nelson riddle, Orchestration, string section writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Finding The Guide Tone Lines: “All The Things You Are”

Part 3: Not Not-Quite-As-Amazing (But Still Useful) Augmented Chord

When we arrive at the “B” section of All The Things You Are, the piece returns to the key of G major, where it started in the verse. Harmonically, this part of the piece consists of nothing more than a … Continue reading

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Posted in cadence, changes, changing keys, chord progression, common tone diminished, common tones, diminished chords, Great American Songbook, harmonic structures, Improvisation, key change, modulation, music theory, Orchestration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Part 3: Not Not-Quite-As-Amazing (But Still Useful) Augmented Chord

Going Fourth, Part 2

Before we continue with our analysis of the refrain of Jerome Kern’s  All The Things You Are,  you may wish to go back and review the recording – then review my last post. After you’ve done that, give this a listen: These … Continue reading

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Getting From Here To There – Go Fourth…

In the last post, we examined the verse of Jerome Kern’s All The Things You Are – which, while not especially memorable from a melodic standpoint when compared to what follows (Oscar Hammerstein’s lyrics here do set up the refrain … Continue reading

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Posted in baroque composers, baroque era, cadence, changing keys, chord progression, common tone diminished, common tones, diminished chords, dissonance, dissonant intervals, Great American Songbook, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, Improvisation, key change, modal scales, modes, music theory, Orchestration, Shenkerian Analysis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Mathematics of It All

If you are anything like me, you struggled with math in school. Oh, I could write like Faulkner or Hemingway, play the saxophone like Jimmy Dorsey, draw like Rodin or Picasso….but when it came to numbers, I was lost. Eventually, … Continue reading

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Posted in baroque composers, changes, chord progression, contrary motion, counterpoint, Great American Songbook, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, mathematics, music theory, Orchestration, percussion, rhythm, rudiments, Shenkerian Analysis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

They Do – Except When They Don’t

“The verse was nothing – but the Chorus was Art – And its Music was enough to tear you apart…” – Joseph Moncure March, The Wild Party (1926) In my very first post to this blog, I said “…the harmonic … Continue reading

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Posted in changes, chord progression, european pop songs, Great American Songbook, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, Hollywood Scores, Latin Music, laws of physics, music theory, physics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Tale of Two Ditties

Actually, it’s two versions of the same ditty – in this case, the Harry Warren example we’ve been working with so far. You’ll remember the first version in which we simply used the guide tone lines. Here’s what it looks … Continue reading

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Posted in chord progression, common tones, contrary motion, counterpoint, Great American Songbook, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, neighbor tones, Orchestration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Guide Tone Lines In Action, Part 3 – Colors of the Winds

So – what’s wrong with the guide tone line in the second ending in terms of orchestration? Nothing, provided we drop the line an octave. In simplest terms, the second ending of the “A” section in the current example (Harry … Continue reading

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Posted in Big Bands, cadence, changes, chord progression, common tones, counterpoint, Great American Songbook, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, Hollywood Scores, Improvisation, Orchestration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Guide Tone Lines In Action, Part 2

It is said that the only thing two music theorists can agree on is how a third got his analysis wrong. I’ll start out with a disclaimer: this is not  a true Shenkerian analysis of the Harry Warren classic. I … Continue reading

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Posted in big band singers, Big Bands, changes, chord progression, common tones, Great American Songbook, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, Hollywood Scores, Orchestration, Shenkerian Analysis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment