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Gershwin songbook #2960564 03/26/20 07:09 AM
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aimar Offline OP
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Good Morning Everyone,
I have one question regarding Gershwinn songbook, which I am currently beginning to learn, I have begun with the simplest piece, or I should say the least difficult (at least for me, from a technical point of view).
In the process of learning the piece, I am experiencing agreat deal of difficulties in the sight-reading of it, I have noticed a lot of changes in harmony, as I am not very good at harmony, I think the piece may have been written using not tonal harmony, may be a jazz one, which I am not familiarize at all. I wonder if anyone could help with the chord analysis of it, if such thing is possible

Thank you very much for your help, I hope everyone is ok
NB (sorry for my English, I am not a native speaker)


aimar
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Re: Gershwin songbook [Re: aimar] #2960575 03/26/20 07:51 AM
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What is your source? I have something called 50 Gershwin classics, no idea if that's the original piano arrangement, it might be. Which song is it? And they're very much tonal.

Re: Gershwin songbook [Re: aimar] #2960577 03/26/20 08:02 AM
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Hi, aimar, I suppose you are referring to this

https://imslp.org/wiki/George_Gershwin's_Songbook_(Gershwin%2C_George)

Gershwin's own piano arrangements contained herein are all very difficult, definitely nothing for sight reading. Yes, he uses very sophisticated jazzy harmonies with lots of "ajoutés" (added notes) of all kinds which make these arrangements sound fantastic. Everything is still purely tonal but he tries to avoid "trivial" things a piano beginner might expect.

I don't know which of the pieces you consider the least difficult - I have recorded "The Man I Love" and posted it on the IMSLP work page - I found it feasible because of its slow tempo, it sounds like this

The Man I Love (from Gershwin's Song Book)

Re: Gershwin songbook [Re: aimar] #2960650 03/26/20 11:36 AM
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aimar Offline OP
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Yes Stephan, I was referring to the Man I love. By the way, the version you´ve posted sounds terrific.
What I find difficult about this tune is that every repition is different (every chord has some changes), and I don´t know what kind of ajoutés he is using, as I'm not familiar with jazz.


aimar
Re: Gershwin songbook [Re: aimar] #2960662 03/26/20 12:02 PM
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In order to play this arrangement properly, one must be very precise and carefully read all the notes written, then it is possible to understand what is happening. The thick chords in the upper line contain the melody in a 3-fold manner, the lowest notes, the notes right in the middle and the highest notes are all melody notes. One should try to bring that out.

The harmony in the first bar is just Eb, maybe Eb7, eventually, but 7 is the melody note, then Ebm in the next bar, then Bbm/Db (or Db6omit5), converting into Bbm6/Db, then you have C7/5+ (instead of just C7), then something I would call Fm7/5-, Bb7, subsequently, and F/Ab (or Fm11 if you like that denomination better, but 11 is the melody note), Bb7/9-, Eb to conclude the first time through the "A" section. There is a bass line in the left hand roughly going eb -> db -> c -> f -> bb -> eb where "c -> f -> bb -> eb" is a descending fifth. In the middle line you have something going down in a chromatic manner: g -> gb -> f -> e -> eb -> d -> eb.

Re: Gershwin songbook [Re: Pianist685] #2960688 03/26/20 12:57 PM
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aimar Offline OP
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Thank you very much Constantin for your quick and detailed response, it will help me in trying to learn the piece.


aimar
Re: Gershwin songbook [Re: aimar] #2962029 03/30/20 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by aimar
Yes Stephan, I was referring to the Man I love. By the way, the version you´ve posted sounds terrific.
What I find difficult about this tune is that every repition is different (every chord has some changes), and I don´t know what kind of ajoutés he is using, as I'm not familiar with jazz.
There are selections easier than The Man I Love in this collection(Do It Again, S'Wonderful, etc). You don't have to understand the harmony at all to play these pieces. I've played almost the whole collection without analyzing the harmony.

Re: Gershwin songbook [Re: aimar] #2962245 Yesterday at 01:38 PM
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Gershwin was mainly a composer so those arrangements probably weren't written by him. Below is a link to a search I found to confirm my suspicion he was mainly a composer. If lucky the arrangements might have the original chords Gershwin wrote because most lead sheets and books have more modern changes pianists use.

Also Herbie Hancock did an album called Gershwin World of both Gershwin Broadway and piano pieces they are on Youtube and worth checking out for some beautiful soulful playing.

https://www.quora.com/How-well-did-...vel-refused-to-teach-Mr-Gershwin?share=1





Last edited by MrShed; Yesterday at 01:45 PM.
Re: Gershwin songbook [Re: MrShed] #2962277 Yesterday at 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by MrShed
Gershwin was mainly a composer so those arrangements probably weren't written by him. Below is a link to a search I found to confirm my suspicion he was mainly a composer. If lucky the arrangements might have the original chords Gershwin wrote because most lead sheets and books have more modern changes pianists use.
If you listen to Gershwin's own recordings of the songs in the Gershwin Songbook you can hear that his playing is very similar to the arrangements in the songbook. His versions are usually longer and more complex or have more iterations of the song, but the chords and ideas in the arrangements are the same.

Just because Gershwin was mainly a composer(I assume you mean he was not an extensive arranger) doesn't mean he wouldn't want to arrange his own songs for the advanced amateur pianist.

There are endless books with arrangements of Gershwin songs that are clearly not in the style that Gershwin played his own songs, but the Gershwin Songbook is either arranged by Gershwin(likely I think) or arranged by someone who based his arrangements very closely on Gershwin's own performances. That's one reason why classical pianists perform the music in the GS.

Edit: I just checked the score or the GS and at the top each song is says "Music of George Gershwin arranged by George Gershwin."




Last edited by pianoloverus; Yesterday at 03:45 PM.
Re: Gershwin songbook [Re: aimar] #2962361 Yesterday at 08:01 PM
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There is a book of Gershwin piano arrangements transcribed from his recordings by Artis Wodehouse. They differ from the arrangements in the Gershwin Songbook, generally more advanced.

It is often the case that what is published differs from what the composer played. Published works are often simpler, because the composer had to make a buck, and more people will be able to play simpler arrangements. If you have the chops, feel free to do what you can.


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