Theory & Analysis
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  My Funny Valentine

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My Funny Valentinesubmitted:
2008/11/11 10:24:30
2017/01/28 09:35:27

My Funny Valentine

My Funny Valentine contains a basic line cliché: C, B, Bb, A, Ab, G. It is a way of creating a sense of movement over harmonic stasis (inactivity).

From the Real Book changes:

|| i | iMA7 | i7 | i6 |

| bVI MA7 | iv7 | ii7-5 | v7-9 ||

|| i | iMA7 | i7 | i6 |

| bVI MA7 | iv7 | bvi6 | V7-9/bIII MA7 (becoming V7 in Eb)||

Eb (Relative Major):

|| I MA7 ii7 | iii7 ii7 | I MA7 ii7 | iii7 ii7 |

| I MA7 V7/vi | vi ii7/IV MA7 SubV7/IV MA7| IV MA7 |(in Cm) ii7-5 V7-9 ||

|| i | iMA7 | i7 | i6 |

| bVI MA7 | ii7-5 V7-9 | i | SubV7#11/bVI MA7 V7-9/bVI MA7 |

|bVI MA7 | (in Eb) ii7 V7-9 | I6 | (in Cm) ii7-5 V7-9 ||

The tune has a 36-measure AA'BA'' form with a 4-measure extension at the end. It plays the traditional tonal game of toggling between the relative major and minor modes (closest of all modulations because they share the same key signature).

bVI is diatonic to C (pure) minor (bVI) in a straight-forward progression (the Bbm7 is a secondary ii7, progressing to A7 (SubV7 of Ab bVI).

The final passage is ambiguous in its transitory quality. It is not clear at this point which of the two related keys it is in (Cm or Eb major), a common quality of this traditional modal exchange (the device is as old as tonal music itself): Such tunes often purposely temporarily confuse the listener as to which key it is in. It is part of its charm.

Having already heard the key relationship between Cm and Eb, in retrospect the Ab chord in the final passage can be heard dually as both bVI in Cm--and--IV in Eb. It could be considered a pivot or dual function chord in a transitory modulation.

In either case it would (most diatonically) take an Ab Lydian scale, according to Berklee dogma.

The guidelines of modulation are general: usually around four measures; but that is affected by various contextual factors, such as tempo--and especially its context in the progression (qualitative emphasis), and more. It has to somehow last long enough or be placed in a prominent place in order to be perceived to actually change tonics.

In ascertaining this, I usually start with the melody rather than the progression. I solfegge the melody, which has its own tonal logic and tonal phrasing.

Those guys knew what they were doing and how to do it. They were steeped in traditional tonal formal devices: This is as old as the hills.

Most of what I said about relative key juxtapositions hold true also for the parallel major/minor relationship. The ultimate purpose is to keep the listener guessing: If it's either too predictable or too obscure, the listener is gone and the gig is up. Often the payoff is in the final phrase.

What, in the end, is a Picardy Third?

Re:My Funny Valentinesubmitted:
2017/01/28 05:57:05
2017/01/28 05:57:05

Sorry, but I think that in the 15th bar is an bVI-6. I see a minor instead of a major in the real book, and I can't find the explanation to that. The only thing relatively possible could be that is a modal exchange chord bVI-6 from the following Eb key... Thanks!! :)


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