Awful singers aside, I feel that George and Ira Gershwin’s “’S Wonderful” is a great piece!
The song is most fairly represented as having a verse-refrain considering its two distinct
sections, each of which are repeated. Since the A section does not re-appear after the B, the chorus, I could not belong to a rounded binary, however one could argue it to be a Simple Binary. Considering it’s popular nature, in addition to the general publics ignorance that the A section even exists, I stick strong beside my verse-refrain identification of the song.
Of these two main sections, I feel the second, the chorus, is definitely the more harmonically stable of the two. In the verse, the harmonies are filled with chromatic tones and borrowed chords and the harmonic rhythm are very fast. All of these factors propel the melody forward as if it is trying to get to the chorus quickly. Because of this tonal ambiguity and the quick and persistent rising dissonance in the accompaniment the listener’s ears are never given the chance to catch-up or settle on any particular harmony.
An interesting motive appears in the bass of the accompaniment when examined closely. In the first eight measures, the bass repeats a descending four-note scale which it completes every two measures. The motive is shifted up or down every time it is repeated by a second. In the next eight measures, the bass life fills itself in and while still following the initial pattern, it adds a parallel counter-melody with itself a perfect octave apart.