So as the directions for this week’s blog instructed I listened to the piece from beginning to end with out reading the questions. I wanted to shoot myself. So, instead of looking at the questions and just trudging on I spent about 20 minutes on youtube, my new best friend because of this class. I finally found two much better versions to listen to, a clip from Funny Face and An American in Paris. Finding these two other recordings also allows me to make comparison to the way that it is performed on the cd and the way most people know the song.
I also tried to go back on moodle and review the notes from our power-point presentation but was unable to find it. I believe that the form is known as verse-chorus, which I think is the one that most people only know the chorus and often when they hear the verse do no recognize the song, as is the case with our example in class “My Kind of Town” performed by Frank Sinatra. The verse and chorus are the two main sections with the verse first (measures 5-28) and the chorus being the second section (measures 29-60). The first and second sections have very different rhythms in the melody. Also, the first section seems to have a sequence of ascending seconds but the harmony is actually descending seconds. It ascends up a fifth, eventually, and then backs down to where it started.
The first section not only has a different melodic rhythm but also has a different harmonic rhythm. It usually has a rhythm of a new chord every two beats. It ends on a five chord, so presumably a half cadence. The second section however has a harmonic rhythm of every two measures with an occasional change after one measure. As most pieces tend to end it does so on a one chord with a perfect authentic cadence.
Three examples of no diatonic harmonies or added-sixth chords can be found in measures 31, 33, and 41. The book tells us that measure 31 is a c# º chord on marvelous. I think it does this to contrast the previous ‘s wonderful, since they are melodically the same I think that Gershwin wanted to change the harmonies. In measure 33 there is a B flat 7 add 6 on “you should care”. Again there is the same melody but I think there was supposed to be an added harmony and add emphasis to the idea of you should care for me. Measure 41 uses the same B flat add 6 chord, but is no longer a seventh chord. The add 6 is again just used to continue the melody.
The fifth question discusses the highpoint of the song. I was slightly confused by measure 47 because the book says that it is harmonized with a g chord, but when I looked at it I thought it was an e minor chord which doesn’t really make sense in e flat major. So is it a possible G add 6? I really hate to admit that I do not know the answer to this question.
If I were to perform this piece I would chose to take my inspiration from Gene Kelley and Audrey Hepburn, instead of the singers that are on our recording. They sung the song straight instead of beginning with the chorus which is most often done and provides the listener with an idea of what the singer is performing because many do not know the verses. I would also choose to not stick strictly to the rhythms but probably give it a bit of a swing or jazzy feel. In An American in Paris it is performed with a tap dance interlude which I believe is perfect to convey the happy, lighthearted feel that Gershwin intended. All though the harmonic analysis is important I feel that for this song it would be more important to have a better idea of the feel of the piece and the form.