Jul 21, 2019

"There Will Never Be Another You" - Why does F7 resolve to Eb major?

In older lead sheets for some jazz standards, you will sometimes see II dominant chords (that is, V of V) progressing directly to the tonic. In the key of C, that would be D7 moving to C major. This sequence is found in "There Will Never Be Another You," "It Might As Well Be Spring," "Memories of You," and "Time After Time," among others.

In newer charts for these songs, this progression is often replaced with some sort of reharmonization "workaround" that better fits current preconceptions of how harmony should function.

D7 resolving to C might seem to somehow transgress the rules of harmony, but if a composer wrote this chord change, there was probably a good reason. In the original sheet music for these songs, the piano arrangements will usually show the II dominant going to a tonic chord that has its fifth in the bass. In the key of C, that would be D7 going to C/G (C major with G in the bass) 

This is a classical device, the "cadential six-four chord." In classical terminology, a triad with its fifth in the bass (2nd inversion) is called a "six-four" chord. Although C/G might appear to be a tonic chord, it is actually functioning as a V with two suspended notes. In jazz terms, C/G could be regarded as a sort of Gsus4 chord. Generally, it will then go on to a typical V  I final cadence. If you look at it that way, the D7 to C/G progression is not so odd after all.

In the original sheet music for songs using this harmonic device, the piano arrangement may include a fifth in the bass of the tonic chord, while the chord symbols may fail to mention it. If a lead sheet is created from these chord symbols, players will just see D7 going to C, and may feel that it is flawed writing, that should be fixed - hence the reharmonizations in many modern lead sheets.

Of course, a reharmonization may have been made because it just sounds better to the arranger, or because it offers better opportunities for improvisation. The composer's original harmony may not be what is best for you. Still, it's interesting to see why these songs differ in various printed sources, and what replacements musicians have come up in an effort to avoid the V of V to tonic six-four device.

There Will Never Be Another You

Harry Warren's "There Will Never Be Another You" provides a great illustration of how this device has been avoided and rewritten in contemporary fakebooks. Here's the last page of the original sheet music. Click to enlarge.

"There Will Never Be Another You" is in Eb. The V of V to tonic six-four (F7 to Eb/Bb) occurs in the first two measures of the last line (mm 28-29 of the song, not counting the introductory "verse"). 

Although the chord symbols show Ebdim over the word "If" on beat 4, IMO this chord (it's actually a 4-note Ebdim7, as there's a C in the melody) is functionally insignificant. The Ebdim chord symbol is only shown to make a guitarist's comping fit with the F# note in the piano part; that F# is just there to provide a passing harmony with the C melody note on beat 4. 

The F7 (V of V) provides a strong push towards a V (Bb7), but instead of a V, the next measure has a cadential six-four (Eb/Bb, though the chord symbol shows only Eb). This is a textbook usage of the cadential tonic six-four. It makes me think that perhaps Harry Warren (Salvatore Antonio Guaragna) had some classical training.

Although the chord symbols show F7 for beat 3 of bar 28, there is no F note in the piano part. Nevertheless, I agree that the functional chord is actually F7; the bass line moving from Bb to A is typical of a II V (Cm7 to F7). 

Apparently many jazz players have found the indicated F7 to Eb sequence to be unsatisfactory, as it has been reharmonized in a number of different ways. 

Here are the last 8 bars of the tune as shown in various fake books:

Old ("Classic") Real Book:

Although this is the first version I learned, the Gm7  C7 never sounded right to me.

Hal Leonard "6th Edition Real Book":

The Am7 D7 here sounds better than the Gm7 C7 in the old RB version. Comparing this version to the original piano part, you might convince yourself that the D7 corresponds to the original F7 Ebdim7, in the sense that D7b9 is kind of equivalent to Ebdim7, and Ebdim7 is kind of equivalent to F7b9. However, IMO, this has nothing to do with Warren's original intended progression.

"New Real Book" (Sher Music): 

This is the same as the "6th Edition" version above, but with b5 added to the Am7. To their credit, the editors showed F13 as an alternate chord change, though without showing the following Eb/Bb.

Hal Leonard Real Jazz Standards Fake Book: (This useful book shows slightly edited sheet music chord symbols above, with a more modern reharmonization below):

In the "revised" changes, F#dim7 occurs on beat 3 rather than on the original sheet music's beat 4 (except for the root, F#dim7 and Ebdim7 are the same set of notes). I see the function of the F#dim7 here as being different from the Ebdim7 in the original sheet - in this chart, it's there not so much to accompany a piano arrangement that has an F# note below the melody note C, but rather is there to put passing tones between the F7 and the Ebmaj7 so that the change does not seem so abrupt. 

"Colorado Cookbook":

Here we see the same Am7 D7 as in the "6th Edition Real Book," but resolving to Gm7 rather than Eb. Perhaps this seemed like a good solution because D7 is V of Gm7, and Gm7 is a reasonable substitute for Eb major.

"The Book":

Here we see Cm7  Ebdim7 going to Eb. It's like the chord symbols in the original sheet music, but leaving out the F7 that should be the main functional element here. This doesn't make much sense. It misses the original intent, and results in a weak bass line.

Hal Leonard "Ultimate Jazz Fake Book":

(Click to enlarge.) This version fills bar 28 entirely with an F#dim7 chord. This chord does not follow logically from the Cm7 that precedes it, and does not make for a good bass line. The only logic here is that (1.) diminished chords can pretty much pivot from anywhere to anywhere, and (2.) F#dim7 is sort of like the F7 in the original sheet music, though of course the original V of V to six-four intent is lost.

All in all, it seems that jazz musicians have gone to considerable effort to avoid and rewrite the V of V to cadential six-four device in Warren's tune. 

Below is a list of some more tunes that use the V of V to cadential six-four, with some sources where you can see the progression (thanks to Tom Simpson for this list). I only had the original sheet music for a few of these. 

Embraceable You (mm 12-13, 28-29) (see Sher "Standards Real Book") 
I Remember You (mm 28-29) ("Real Jazz Standards Fake Book")
I've Got A Crush On You (mm 14-15) (Old "Classic Real Book vol. 3")
It Might As Well Be Spring (mm 36-37, not counting intro "verse") ("Real Jazz Standards Fake Book")
Lover Come Back To Me (mm 4-5) ("Real Jazz Standards Fake Book")
Memories Of You (mm 28-29) (Old "Classic Real Book vol. 2")
Nice Work If You Can Get It (mm 4-5, 28-29) (Sher "Standards Real Book")
I Surrender Dear (mm 4-5) (Django Fake Book)
Time After Time (mm 28-29) (Sher "Standards Real Book")
My Romance (mm 28-29) ("Real Jazz Standards Fake Book")

It's interesting to note how many of these instances occur in measures 28-29, as part of the final cadence.

If you can think of any more tunes that use this device, please leave a comment!

Jul 9, 2019

João Gilberto article from NPR

João Gilberto passed away last Saturday at the age of 88. He was one of the most influential musicians of our time. No one could deliver a melody with more depth and subtlety.

Here is an article from NPR's Tom Moon that does a great job in describing his legacy.