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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Once at IMEA Distict I Regionals, a 9-10 choir sang a really awful arrangement of this song

"Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair"

"I Dream of Genie with the Light Brown Hair." That is incorrect. If I am not mistaken I believe Barbara Eden had very light BLONDE hair. I think I can look past the falsehoods of the song however, and appreciate it for what it is, despite how incorrect it is. The form of this song is NOT rounded binary, although prior to this week, it would have been rounded binary. The reason it is not rounded binary is because I learned this week that quaternary is like rounded binary. And hence, this piece is in aa'ba'' form, or quaternary form.

Despite the horrid choral arrangement that first introduced me to this song years back, I do believe it is a good example of popular music. The meter is simple, There aren't any crazy cadences, and the melodic line flows without running on too long. The musical phrases that make up the periods complement each other with very clear antecedent and consequent phrases. In addition, the text is represented very well in the form of falling lines on phrases like "blithe birds .... warbled them over .. ah!" and most importantly, there is a home base, or a recognizable phrase that the song constantly returns to, which is the gentle falling and rising of the melody when we are reminded that the genie has light brown hair.

The bridge section in contrasted by rhythmic and melodic variation. For example, the rhythm at the start of m.9 differs from the previous rhythmic patterns in that we see the appearance of sixteenth notes. In addition, the harmonies although they remain in E flat major, seem to deviate from the tonic key and dabble amongst other harmonies especially in the bass. So, it seems to be a typical bridge, sans a key change, where the line is shaped rhythmically and melodically different giving in a legitamate "b" section feel.

Key:E flat Major
13 V7, ii
14 I V64
15 I, V6, VI6-5
16 V7/V, Vadd6, ii43
17 I64-53


Scott said...

Don't forget performance ideas, and that this song was composed before Major Nelson was a gleam in his father's eye. Good thoughts about the piece.

Scott said...

Except m. 13, the second chord is V9#5, and m. 17 is V64-53 - I.