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  1. #1

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    I'm going to learn this song next month (I've picked a song a week to work on, so I learn it STONE COLD so I will never forget it again. Right now, I have 10 songs penned to internalize, through first week of March).

    Most of these tunes, I kind of know--played them before, could figure it out if you give me 10-15 minutes: my goal is to fully internalize these, so by the end of the year, I'll have a repertoire of 52 songs I could always play without thinking.

    I decided to pick Stardust for a week next month. The weird thing is I've never played this song; secondly, I've rarely heard it performed these days. Thirdly, this H. Carmichael tune was apparently HUGE, someone said it regularly the top song each year for many many years, possibly decades.

    My question is: what do you think of this tune, what accounts for it now being, for lack of better words, a "lost standard"?
    Navdeep Singh.

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  3. #2

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    there are all the other tunes, then there's stardust

    nat king cole does it for me

    its the prettiest i can think of - that and skylark

    don't know why its not done often - maybe its a bit grand and serious, hard to do a light version that works

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Groyniad View Post
    there are all the other tunes, then there's stardust

    nat king cole does it for me

    its the prettiest i can think of - that and skylark

    don't know why its not done often - maybe its a bit grand and serious, hard to do a light version that works
    Ya, Skylark is on my list right now, as well as Speak Low. What can I say? I decided to work on tunes I absolutely love, that are pretty AF.

    Here's the full list right now FYI, through first week of March:

    (my time is super limited, so I have to use it wisely, can't devote what is needed due to work, but still):

    The Way You Look Tonight
    Embraceable You
    My Funny Valentine
    September Song
    Come Sunday
    Skylark
    Stardust
    Without a Song
    Out of This World
    Speak Low

    Yeah, what can I say, I love pretty ballads.
    Navdeep Singh.

  5. #4

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    Always a favorite of mine. A few years ago someone quite close to me took their life and it put me in a tail spin for some time. I finally worked that song up during the period of grieving as it resonated with me for some reason. I think it's just that new stuff comes along and the older things get lost. A good tune though will never really be lost. I find myself "finding" great old songs all the time.

  6. #5
    I don't know about lost , but it's my favorite tune. Ever.

    Okay. Slightly biased by being a singer, but I mean, it's a nearly perfect marrying of lyric and music. Both are transcendent in my opinion, but I'm a sap.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ View Post
    My question is: what do you think of this tune, what accounts for it now being, for lack of better words, a "lost standard"?
    I think it's a generational thing. It literally was the most popular song of the 20th cent. IIRC from an older edition of The Guinness Book of World Records. (It got displaced by the Beatles' Michelle, a much less interesting song.)

    Many, many older tunes have the verse, and then chorus structure, the latter being 32 bars of AABA, or some variation. Most times, the "verse" part is much less musical, and is often thrown away or never performed. Stardust is an exception. Both the verse and chorus are good. The melody is a bit tricky. Not the easiest song to learn.

    Some people don't like the lyrics. Mitchell Parrish wrote some really, really bad lyrics in his day. But I actually like these more and more, as I am learning the song...they are sad, and if you've had a lost love, wistful..."haunts my reverie" is unusual--but if fits the mood of the song. These lyrics have a grandeur to them...as does the tune itself.

    There are also many great, but highly arranged, versions: Artie Shaw; the Tonight Show Band w/ Doc Severinsen did a good one that was a Grammy nominee; the Nat King Cole "outer space" version, and others. Very hard for a small group to do this, and not have audience members think "Yeah...OK pretty good, but where's the drama of the big, arrangement that I keep hearing in my head".

    I don't think Hoagy Carmichael wrote 600 or 1000 songs, like Jimmy Van Heusen or Jerome Kern, but he wrote some really memorable ones....this plus Skylark; Georgia on My Mind; The Nearness of You; and Heart and Soul.

    Carmichael was raised in Bloomington, Indiana, the home of Indiana University, one of the top music programs in the country. It probably was a pretty good music town even back then. (Clare Fischer, a superb arranger and all-around musician, was raised in the shadow of Michigan State Univ., and attended it for music study. Funny how that works.)
    Last edited by goldenwave77; 01-21-2017 at 07:25 AM.

  8. #7

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    Willie Nelson has a pretty fun performance of this tune.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  9. #8

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    I've played this one quite a bit, one of my favourites.

    Great verse. Hoagy could write a verse.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77 View Post
    Many, many older tunes have the verse, and then chorus structure, the latter being 32 bars of AABA, or some variation. Most times, the "verse" part is much less musical, and is often thrown away or never performed. Stardust is an exception. Both the verse and chorus are good. The melody is a bit tricky. Not the easiest song to learn.
    Absolutely on both counts. The melody is a beast to sing a capella when you first start messing with it and think that maybe "you sort of know it".

    It also has a ton of space. You've got to do something with it. I think it's a big trumpet tune. Usually includes the verse, which on trumpet comes across as a kind of candenza.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ View Post
    Ya, Skylark is on my list right now, as well as Speak Low. What can I say? I decided to work on tunes I absolutely love, that are pretty AF.

    Here's the full list right now FYI, through first week of March:

    (my time is super limited, so I have to use it wisely, can't devote what is needed due to work, but still):

    The Way You Look Tonight
    Embraceable You
    My Funny Valentine
    September Song
    Come Sunday
    Skylark
    Stardust
    Without a Song
    Out of This World
    Speak Low

    Yeah, what can I say, I love pretty ballads.
    You work on tunes you like, you'll learn a lot of tunes.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  12. #11

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    Free advice: If the goal is internalizing tunes, never ever keep the leadsheet in front of you as a crutch or "just in case".

  13. #12

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    Tunes like Stardust, Lush Life and Autumn in New York have an almost through-composed quality that makes them more challenging than your typical 'user friendly' standard.

    I grew up hearing my mother sail through an elaborate version of Stardust on the piano. I once asked if she could play me something else but that was the extent of her repertoire!

    As you've noted NSJ, many artists (particularly guitarists) have sidestepped Stardust over the last few decades. One exception is Jonathan Kreisberg:

    Last edited by PMB; 01-19-2017 at 05:48 PM.

  14. #13

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    "Stardust" is a great tune and NSJ, your goal is laudable but if I may offer a word of caution: decide now is more important: a) learning each tune, or b) keeping the weekly schedule. if you try to do both, you may find out that as Johnny Mercer wrote, "Something's Gotta Give!" ;o) Wishing you all the best!
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by coolvinny View Post
    Free advice: If the goal is internalizing tunes, never ever keep the leadsheet in front of you as a crutch or "just in case".
    Yep.

    I'll add, write your own lead sheet. Then hide it as soon as you xan.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  16. #15

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    I don't know why my last post doubled up and I can't seem to remove or edit either one.

    Here's a solo rendition of JK playing Stardust:


  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by coolvinny View Post
    Free advice: If the goal is internalizing tunes, never ever keep the leadsheet in front of you as a crutch or "just in case".
    Yep.

    I'll add, write your own lead sheet. Then hide it as soon as you can.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by PMB View Post
    I don't know why my last post doubled up and I can't seem to remove or edit either one.
    Dirk is doing maintenance and an upgrade, so hereabouts "It's A Most Unusual Day." (I love June Christy's version of this tune, so why not post a link to it?)

    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by PMB View Post
    Tunes like Stardust, Lush Life and Autumn in New York have an almost through-composed qualitythat makes them more challenging than your typical 'user friendly' standard.
    No definitive tonic cadence until the very end.

    Looking at it again tonight, it's still just the perfect tune. One of the best examples of word painting in all of popular music in my mind, especially the mood change at the end of the first chorus.

    Ethereal Harmony to start . Sounds like a dream . Sounds "long-ago". Sounds like Stardust. Then, with the lyric "but that was long ago" , you awaken with cheesy Lazyriver sounding "lighter fare " style.

    But then he dives right back in, gives in to the dream and even goes deeper lyrically , and by extending it further and longer, and more melancholy...."though i dream in vain". Of course all of that is without even touching on the perfect verse proceeding all of that.

    Musically, the whole thing lends itself to seemingly endless variations in phrasing.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by PMB View Post
    I don't know why my last post doubled up and I can't seem to remove or edit either one.

    Here's a solo rendition of JK playing Stardust:

    I was in the audience when he performed this before his master class. He was hugely disappointed that very few people knew what the tune was.

    I think for many of the songs I rely on the lead sheet more for the lyrics honestly. Before I didn't think it was important to know the words. Now I realize it's very very important . A lot of these tunes I've worked on and it takes me a bit to think of the intervals for the melody. Of course I agree the lead sheet needs to be thrown out. Also note for note memory is not enough, analysis especially intervallic patterns needs to happen. I realize this now and that explains why I learned a tune and forget it eventually have to relearn it. Because I didn't understand the structure before . Now when I think of "the way you look tonight" I can recognize the intervallic patterns and sequences that comprise the Melody.
    Navdeep Singh.

  21. #20

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    Great tune, very cool as solo guitar too. And btw it's played a lot on hot jazz scene. Maybe not so much for straightaheaders.

  22. #21

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    Most of these tunes, I kind of know--played them before, could figure it out if you give me 10-15 minutes: my goal is to fully internalize these, so by the end of the year, I'll have a repertoire of 52 songs I could always play without thinking.
    Great goal... just do not forget that 1 week is pretty short term to really internalize a tune if you have day-time job and not much free time... and you have to repeat tunes from time to time... so by September you will have more than 30 tunes to keep up...
    I try not to put such long-time goals any more... I I handle one tune it's ok for me then I go for some next.
    If I do not I do not have gigs I forget tunes - except a few that I really love and play repeatedly for myself.
    And to keep it up by force is quite difficult for me... I can play something I am not really after if I have a gig. But I really cannot make myself repeat it just because I have it on my list if I am into another tune at the moment.
    But that's just me.

    what do you think of this tune, what accounts for it now being, for lack of better words, a "lost standard"?
    I would not call 'Stardust' lost but it really has some vintage vibe. First it is really old standard, and second it sounds like 20's music a lot..
    I also think that it is not so easy to improvize... lots of harmonic spaces... the melody is mostly based on chord tones and harmony is very basic...
    It's charm in how it works all together in original

    if you begin to invent something it loses lots of its originality... mostly people play it very close to original... and it also brings in this 'vintage' feel... some songs change with time... but Stardust is always the same... and always good.
    Sometimes it seems it's a bit like something untouchable...

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    "Stardust" is a great tune and NSJ, your goal is laudable but if I may offer a word of caution: decide now is more important: a) learning each tune, or b) keeping the weekly schedule. if you try to do both, you may find out that as Johnny Mercer wrote, "Something's Gotta Give!" ;o) Wishing you all the best!
    Thanks. I think it's doable. Most of these tunes I've already played and am familiar with, my understanding of harmony and the instrument is better than it was before; I think I have to just make the tradition from "sort of knowing them" to "knowing them without thinking". That means using all the tools I've been developing, levering what I've learned about the form, intervals, diatonic sequences, chromaticism, cadences, secondary domiants, etc.

    I mean, I haven't started reworking on "Speak Low" but I still can recall the main memory now. But now I understand that it goes from the 5th below the tonic to the third and the sequence of triplets that follow reinforce the M3, etc. That kind of understanding was lacking when I played the tune before.

    Basically, it's not enough to must memorize the chords and melody and hope you can retain it. That's my belief anyway. It comes from watching pros and realizing they don't have to THINK about what they're playing.

    It's just time to put it all together and build a solid repertoire that will stay with me for life.

    From studying and working, for me, the key thing is repetition from multiple angles (singing, harmonic and melodic analysis, reinforcement of the same, rinse and repeat and repeat.
    Navdeep Singh.

  24. #23

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    It takes me a few months to properly learn a standard.

    I need to play it on 3 or 4 gigs as well. At least.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    It takes me a few months to properly learn a standard.

    I need to play it on 3 or 4 gigs as well. At least.

    I almost need to learn it, play the heck out of it, leave it for a bit and come back. That second time around, relearning what I thought I already knew, that's big for me.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  26. #25

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    A lifetime - and that's OK.

  27. #26

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    Mr Beaumont,

    I like your style!

    I find that at 60, I can still learn a song fairly quickly (about a week) and in a month or so can internalize it..

    However, now my memory serves as a "LIFO" (Last-in-first-out) where if I want to internalize one, another
    will escape my grasp and I'll have to pull out the dreaded sheet...

    When I played classical guitar, I had a stockpile of Choro's and Bossa-nova songs that would last ~1 hour...
    15 songs or so, but now, as a a "seasoned citizen" I can hold about 5-6 chord-melodies of Jazz standards...

    The song "Stardust" to my ears is one of the most beautiful imaginable, I first heard it through my folks who
    were "Big-Band" fanatics, so we mostly heard the spectacular Glenn Miller version. If I hear this version
    out and about, by accident, I will surely get goose-bumps, and may actually shed a tear or two.

    I ordered (recently) the sheet from Rick Seversen (Guitar College) and it looks like quite a
    "Knuckle-buster" to play the chord-melody. I used to play the melody on my Mandolin from
    the "Frank and Joe Show" CD, but now you have inspired me to take on this monster whilst
    screaming out the Greg Kihn lyric "They don't write 'em like that anymore"
    measure with micrometer... mark with chalk... cut with axe

  28. #27

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    I can empathize with the feeling of Stardust being a "lost" tune, as in underperformed.
    A couple of thoughts spring to mind, primarily that due to the static nature of some points of the chord progresion, it's not really a blowing tune, also Hoagy Carmichael utilized some really unusual poetic/rhythmic meter in his tunes, I'm also thinking of "I Get Along Without You Very Well" as being another similar case in point.

    I believe for this reason, "Stardust" and also "Lush Life" are more effective as "set pieces" rather than vehicles for improvisation. (Purely based on personal/subjective opinion).

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by PMB View Post
    I don't know why my last post doubled up and I can't seem to remove or edit either one.

    Here's a solo rendition of JK playing Stardust:

    C major???????

    Unacceptable, Mr Kreisberg

    (only kidding)

    In all seriousness, I was to understand Db was the 'right key' but I do know a lot of people play it in C. Any thoughts?

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    C major???????

    Unacceptable, Mr Kreisberg

    (only kidding)

    In all seriousness, I was to understand Db was the 'right key' but I do know a lot of people play it in C. Any thoughts?
    Ralph Patt's "Vanilla chords" has it in C. I was always taught to consult the Ralph Patt website, to get a sense where the tune originally started at, before all the mods/subs did their tricks.

    In fact, here are the Ralph Patt changes to Stardust:

    STARDUST


    Key of C 4/4

    Pickup | C7 |

    [ F | F | Fm maj7 | Bb7 |

    | C | Em7 A7 | Dm A7 | Dm |

    | G7 Gdim G7 / | Dm7 G7 | C | C |

    | D7 | D7 | G7 | G7 C7 |

    || F | F | Fm maj7 | Bb7 |

    | C | A7 | Dm A7 | Dm |

    | F | Fm | C | B7 E7+ |

    | F A7 | Dm7 G7 | C | C |
    Navdeep Singh.

  31. #30

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    I came up with a few guitarist performances of "Stardust" but, compared to something like "All the Things You Are," it's under-played.

    Charlie Christian, both with the Benny Goodman sextet and the open jam sessions at Mintons
    Herb Ellis and Remo Palmier, Windflower
    Joe Pass with Jimmy Rowles, Checkmate
    Joe Pass, solo, Unforgettable
    Jim Hall and Ron Carter, Telephone
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    I came up with a few guitarist performances of "Stardust" but, compared to something like "All the Things You Are," it's under-played.

    Charlie Christian, both with the Benny Goodman sextet and the open jam sessions at Mintons
    Herb Ellis and Remo Palmier, Windflower
    Joe Pass with Jimmy Rowles, Checkmate
    Joe Pass, solo, Unforgettable
    Jim Hall and Ron Carter, Telephone
    Jimmy Rowles! Now there's a name. My friend who grew up in LA and studied with Art Pepper and Harold Land was extolling his virtues recently. I don't think I have that Pass record. Off to google land.
    Navdeep Singh.

  33. #32

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    Tony Mottola did a nice version, included the verse ,too and played it in "C." I have it in my iTunes library, but have no idea how to post it here, I'm sorry to admit !

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    C major???????

    Unacceptable, Mr Kreisberg

    (only kidding)

    In all seriousness, I was to understand Db was the 'right key' but I do know a lot of people play it in C. Any thoughts?
    Neither key is 'correct'. The original manuscript is in D major.

  35. #34

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    "Stardust": the most popular song of the 1st part of the 20th century, now LOST?-stardust-jpg

  36. #35

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  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by PMB View Post
    Neither key is 'correct'. The original manuscript is in D major.
    Excellent. a fine fact to annoy horn players with.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Excellent. a fine fact to annoy horn players with.
    The first recording of Star Dust in 1927 for Gennett Records had Carmichael backed by horn players. Will Friedwald in his book, Stardust Memories: The Biography of Twelve of America's Most Popular Songs writes "the arrangement is in D natural (two sharps), which, as [Richard] Sudhalter observes, must have been the key Carmichael felt best suited his piano solo. He certainly wasn't doing the horns any favors by throwing them into "sharp-infested waters.""

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Excellent. a fine fact to annoy horn players with.
    Important rule: NEVER pass up a chance to annoy a horn player...
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ View Post
    Thanks. I think it's doable. Most of these tunes I've already played and am familiar with, my understanding of harmony and the instrument is better than it was before; I think I have to just make the tradition from "sort of knowing them" to "knowing them without thinking". That means using all the tools I've been developing, levering what I've learned about the form, intervals, diatonic sequences, chromaticism, cadences, secondary domiants, etc.

    I mean, I haven't started reworking on "Speak Low" but I still can recall the main memory now. But now I understand that it goes from the 5th below the tonic to the third and the sequence of triplets that follow reinforce the M3, etc. That kind of understanding was lacking when I played the tune before.

    Basically, it's not enough to must memorize the chords and melody and hope you can retain it. That's my belief anyway. It comes from watching pros and realizing they don't have to THINK about what they're playing.

    It's just time to put it all together and build a solid repertoire that will stay with me for life.

    From studying and working, for me, the key thing is repetition from multiple angles (singing, harmonic and melodic analysis, reinforcement of the same, rinse and repeat and repeat.
    I once asked Jonathan Kreisberg about his own practise program for learning chord types and their inversions. He said he wrote out all the possibilities, stuck them on the wall and removed each one only after he had them truly under his fingers in every position and key.

    Regarding tunes, as long as you break things down and shake them up in an imaginative way, your approach should work fine. Where things usually come unstuck is having a long-term goal without any specific steps or strategies to get there. There's a statement I read years ago from Howard Roberts (can't find the source) that discouraged students to tell themselves things like "I want to be a great jazz guitarist in two years time" as it confined them to mediocrity in the interim. Deep!

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by PMB View Post
    I once asked Jonathan Kreisberg about his own practise program for learning chord types and their inversions. He said he wrote out all the possibilities, stuck them on the wall and removed each one only after he had them truly under his fingers in every position and key.
    I rather like that idea.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by PMB View Post


    The first recording of Star Dust in 1927 for Gennett Records had Carmichael backed by horn players. Will Friedwald in his book, Stardust Memories: The Biography of Twelve of America's Most Popular Songs writes "the arrangement is in D natural (two sharps), which, as [Richard] Sudhalter observes, must have been the key Carmichael felt best suited his piano solo. He certainly wasn't doing the horns any favors by throwing them into "sharp-infested waters.""
    Just right for a string band tho

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I rather like that idea.
    It's also how Roger Woodward worked on memorising the 32 Beethoven piano sonatas so there must be something in it!

  44. #43

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    I don't know why Joe Pass' photo is there
    Last edited by medblues; 01-19-2017 at 07:15 PM.
    -----------------------------------

    "The instrument keeps me humble. Sometimes I pick it up and it seems to say, "No, you can't play today." I keep at it anyway, though." Jim Hall

  45. #44

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    -----------------------------------

    "The instrument keeps me humble. Sometimes I pick it up and it seems to say, "No, you can't play today." I keep at it anyway, though." Jim Hall

  46. #45

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    Tunes that start on IVmaj7

    Stardust
    Just Friends
    After You've Gone
    I Can't Believe You Are in Love With Me

    Any more for any more?

  47. #46

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    The distinctive thing about all those is that they all move to ivm before resolving to I (unlike say, Blueberry Hill that bypasses the intermediate change). There are also tunes where the ii is acting as a kind of disguised IV. For an example that's closer to the IVmaj7-iv6 songs you cited, the opening chords to As Time Goes By are sometimes played as Fm7 Bb7 | Fm7b5 Bb7 | Eb6 but they could be equally well expressed as Abmaj7 | Abm6 | Eb6.

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim View Post
    Well, I didn't mean that starting on the IV chord was all that unusual; I was talking more about the fact that the melody starts on the major 7th in the key of C (a B natural), which kind of negates the sound of a C7.

    The other three songs you mentioned, JF, AYG and ICBYAILWM, can all be set up with a I dominant 7th chord that leads to the IV chord, but HC seems to be setting up an F6/Dm7 kind of thing by arpeggiating a Dm7 chord descending on the first bar of the tune, after the pickup measure (D-C-A-F-D).

    We used a lot of subs on it to make it more interesting.
    I wasn't trying to disprove you... Just thinking of other tunes. There aren't that many of them.

    Oh I see, that is interesting. I think I'm getting my keys mixed up.

  49. #48

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    Hoagy Carmichael wrote it in C, right? Because it sounds like the Goodman Sextet (w/ Christian) played it in Db. Then again, I am rarely right when it comes to this stuff!
    Completely unhindered by talent.

  50. #49

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    Horn players like it too...


  51. #50

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    I once read an article by a Musicologist who said that "Stardust" was the most original song written in the last 200 years (FWIW)...

    Sublime Gypsy Jazzer Fapy Lafertin plays this tune on a regular basis. Here is a representative version: