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My Funny Valentine

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by ryal1, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. ryal1


    Aug 1, 2007
    Bay Area
    walking through the first few bars of this tune Cm CMaj Cm7 Cm6
    are giving me some trouble, any advice in making this line work? what would be a good approach?
  2. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Focus on the C-B-Bb movement rather than the Cmin vs Cmaj thing.
  3. Cycho


    Nov 30, 2010
    Try this starting on the A string:

    C D Eb G B C G Eb (last two notes decending)
    C D Eb Bb A G Eb G (last four notes decending)

    I'm no good with tabs -- hope that is understandable.
  4. Yeah, that's good, C B Bb A Ab F D G, or you can pedal point:

    Dotted quarter rest, 1/8 c, 1/8 C, 1/8 c, quarter rest (x 4 bars)

    Do your best upright pizz imitation.
  5. I doubt it is a Cmaj, I rather think it is a CmMaj7 (at least in my ear and on my sheet music).
    Then it is a C harmonic minor scale on the (first and) second chord. Third chord aeolian scale over C, fourth dorian scale over C.

    I would play over the following chords:
    Cm CmMaj7 Cm7 Cm6 ... or
    Cm G/C Eb/C F7/C ... (or mix them as you like)

    Where is that C B Bb in the tune? I cannot find it.
    But anyway for C B Bb you can replace C F Bb (tritone substitution) and you get a simple row of descending fifths (probably functionally like VI-II-V or II-V-I).
  6. ryal1


    Aug 1, 2007
    Bay Area
    thanks for your input, i was confused about the C B Bb also
  7. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Tonic = C

    maj7 = B

    7 = Bb

    6 = A
    ScreaminBejesus likes this.
  8. deste


    Sep 14, 2009
    Bologna, Italy, Europe
    Endorsing Artist: GullanskyLab pickups
    Harmony is always a strange beast...
    Why don't you try to imagine it as | Cm(6) | G7(b9) | Cm7 | F7/9 | ... ? Try superimposing these changes on a C pedal point, it may be a way (MAY be, A way) to face a of chord progressions of the same kind.
    Sometimes Keith Jarrett seems to to think this way (listen to "Still LIve").

    Let me know if this may help you.
  9. GrowlerBox


    Feb 10, 2010
    Nude Zealand
    That's how I play it (as a CESH progression, if you like the Cokerism) -- leads nicely to the AbMaj7 in bar 5. The opening 4 chords are all minor though, as I remember it.
  10. ryal1


    Aug 1, 2007
    Bay Area
    thanks, make sense to me now!
  11. C B Bb A is the descending line under the C minor at the beginning of each A section in 3 flats (C minor), or am I ****ing crazy. The form of the tune is AABA. Call it C harmonic minor or whatever. Those subs are not making sense. Do you guys ever listen to these standard tunes and the lyrics? I had hundreds of albums to choose from when I was a kid compliments of my Dad. I think you should get a version with a vocalist and memorize it without a lead sheet.
  12. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    Okay. . .Instead of worrying about chords and sustitutions and stuff, try you ears!
    I learned Funny Valentine in 1960 from Gerry Mulligan's fantastic vinyl record (which I have on my turntable right now) The Concert Jazz Band.
    Give it a listen, give it a lot of listens.
    Since he doesn't have a piano player to get in the way you can really hear Buddy Clark's bass line.
    I guess I'm just an old fogie but I think there is far too much figurin' and not enough listenin' goin' on around here.
  13. Part I

    I'm driven to post a quote of Bill Evans:
    “It bugs me when people try to analyze jazz as an intellectual theorem. It's not. It's feeling.”
    I cannot picture Richard Rogers thinking: "Oh! Oh! aeolian over C here!" rather than F7.
    A hallmark of Rogers compositions is an almost strictly diatonic melody over chords that flow out and back in to the tonality. A second device is a straight line counter melody, ascending and or descending, not diatonic. A classic example is "This Nearly Was Mine". These devices create the tension and release that Evans sums up as "feeling".
  14. Part II

    As for what to use, it depends:
    The descending chromatic line as a bass line has been done to death on this tune, and risks being a distraction to the melody. The accompaniment is just that; it's not the star of the show. There's no reason that this countermelody has to be played by the bass. It can be an interior voice. Although I'm far from a slave to using roots, I've found by experience that in a case like this, playing roots while another instrument plays the line gives a framework and another contrast for showing off the line while not dominating the tune.
    In this case, for the head, consider playing the roots
    What to use varies with the instrumentation and the desires of the other players, and where you are in the tune - the head or the choruses. There are pianists who demand the line. You have to be prepared for whatever they want.
  15. ryal1


    Aug 1, 2007
    Bay Area
    Once again, thanks for all the input.
    I have listened to my fare share of players/groups doing this tune including vocal versions by Chet baker and Helen Merrill
    I love this song and and I'm truly thankful for all the advice.
  16. Roger Davis

    Roger Davis

    May 24, 2006
    Too damn right! I started playing before chords were freely available via Real/Fake/net and had to use my ears. Sometimes chords can restrain your playing and it is best to use a melodic approach.

    But there again, I was playing a well-known standard behind a vocalist the other day -could do it in my sleep - and the piano player put some chords in front of me, which were his own and a bit, er, alternate - wow! It's a funny old world, but in general I like to use my ears.
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I've heard Chet Baker sing it - but it always seemed to me that the classic Jazz version of this tune was by Miles? Which is marked by the spare arrangement and how much space is given .
  18. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    All of Miles's versions are great. He was a true genious. But I wouldn't suggest that they be used sources for the "correct changes" by the uninitiated.
    Mulligan's The Concert Jazz Band version is basic and clear. It can be used as a template for further harmonic explorations, or as the academy kids say "reharms."
  20. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    these are most likely the origional changes and that decending chromatic line was something someone came up with to be slick (or it was stolen from any of 100 other tunes where someone came up with that line to be slick) but its so overdone that it actually sounds slick to play the origional chords as Don mentions here. you have the same montion on "In A Sentimental Mood", and i think "in walked bud" just to name 2 others. i typically start out with the decending line just to show everyone that i know it, and then i try not to play it again unless people start to have a look of panic because they're not sure if they're in the right place in the tune when they dont hear the line that they expect.