Berry Irving Berlin Gambling With Chromaticism Extra Diatonic Melodic Expression

David Carson Berry, “Gambling with Chromaticism? Extra-Diatonic Melodic Expression in the Songs of Irving Berlin,” Theory and Practice 26 (2001): 21–85. • ABSTRACT Those who have written about songwriter Irving Berlin (1888–1989) have frequently fixated on two facts, both related to his lack of proficiency on the piano: first, that he preferred to play on the black keys; and second, that he used a “transposing piano”—i.e., one fitted with a lever that shifted the position of the strings vis-à-vis the hammers, allowing any selected key to be heard while the notes of another key are being fingered. Over the years, journalistic writers of minimal musical knowledge have succeeded in greatly exaggerating both circumstances— especially through their claims about the compositional benefits that supposedly accrue from using a transposing piano. In this article, I set aside received hyperbole and meticulously examine the musical results of Berlin’s labors. My goal is to delimit the various types of expressive chromaticism that enrich so many of his melodies; to consider the ways in which they function, and how they impinge upon a listener’s interpretation. In the main text, 70 songs are cited, spanning a half century, from 1908 to 1957; many are examined in detail, and occasionally in more than one context. Annotated appendices provide information on many more. Because exaggerated references to the piano lever have been so prominent in the Berlin literature, I occasionally return to such a possibility in order to expose its logical inconsistencies vis-à-vis the particular type of chromaticism under discussion. In doing so, I explode the myth that a transposing lever motivated his musical choices, and propose instead the opposite: that it was a very musical ear that guided any lever-twisting that might have occurred. However, the principal aim of the article is to interpret the expressive and structural uses of a vital component of Berlin’s songs, as well as of the Tin Pan Alley repertory in general: chromaticism. I begin with a more thorough inspection of the “black-key” argument, and the types of pentatonicism that would result from such an approach. Species of chromaticism, of both smaller and larger scales, are then scrutinized. Included in the former category are immediate or directly applied types of chromaticism—i.e., local passing and neighboring tones, blue notes, applied dominants, neighboring and passing chords, and so forth. Regarding the latter category, I consider how chromatic passages can complement the larger-scale designs of songs, through definition and elucidation of four ways in which Berlin used chromaticism on this level: in changes between parallel modes, in exactly-transposed segments or phrases, in tonicized segments or phrases, and in sectional key changes.

Transcript of Berry Irving Berlin Gambling With Chromaticism Extra Diatonic Melodic Expression

Page 1: Berry Irving Berlin Gambling With Chromaticism Extra Diatonic Melodic Expression

David Carson Berry, “Gambling with Chromaticism? Extra-Diatonic Melodic Expression in the Songs of Irving Berlin,”

Theory and Practice 26 (2001): 21–85.

• ABSTRACT • Those who have written about songwriter Irving Berlin (1888–1989) have frequently fixated on two facts, both related to his lack of proficiency on the piano: first, that he preferred to play on the black keys; and second, that he used a “transposing piano”—i.e., one fitted with a lever that shifted the position of the strings vis-à-vis the hammers, allowing any selected key to be heard while the notes of another key are being fingered. Over the years, journalistic writers of minimal musical knowledge have succeeded in greatly exaggerating both circumstances—especially through their claims about the compositional benefits that supposedly accrue from using a transposing piano. In this article, I set aside received hyperbole and meticulously examine the musical results of Berlin’s labors. My goal is to delimit the various types of expressive chromaticism that enrich so many of his melodies; to consider the ways in which they function, and how they impinge upon a listener’s interpretation. In the main text, 70 songs are cited, spanning a half century, from 1908 to 1957; many are examined in detail, and occasionally in more than one context. Annotated appendices provide information on many more. Because exaggerated references to the piano lever have been so prominent in the Berlin literature, I occasionally return to such a possibility in order to expose its logical inconsistencies vis-à-vis the particular type of chromaticism under discussion. In doing so, I explode the myth that a transposing lever motivated his musical choices, and propose instead the opposite: that it was a very musical ear that guided any lever-twisting that might have occurred. However, the principal aim of the article is to interpret the expressive and structural uses of a vital component of Berlin’s songs, as well as of the Tin Pan Alley repertory in general: chromaticism. I begin with a more thorough inspection of the “black-key” argument, and the types of pentatonicism that would result from such an approach. Species of chromaticism, of both smaller and larger scales, are then scrutinized. Included in the former category are immediate or directly applied types of chromaticism—i.e., local passing and neighboring tones, blue notes, applied dominants, neighboring and passing chords, and so forth. Regarding the latter category, I consider how chromatic passages can complement the larger-scale designs of songs, through definition and elucidation of four ways in which Berlin used chromaticism on this level: in changes between parallel modes, in exactly-transposed segments or phrases, in tonicized segments or phrases, and in sectional key changes.

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NB: This copy corrects two errors in the printed edition:

pp. 42–43: the second line of the caption for Ex. 22—“(b) climax of minor-mode section”— was placed at the top of p. 43 instead of under the example heading on p. 42.

p. 53, bottom para., line 5: “(with n% Gn)” should be “(with n%, or Gn)”

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Gambling with Chromaticism?Extra-Diatonic Melodic Expression in

the Songs of Irving Berlin

David Carson Berry

Irving Berlin was not only one of the most commercially successful songwriters ofthe twentieth century, he was also one of the best known to the general public.Indeed, his was truly a "brand name"-one whose mere appearance on the coverof an otherwise unknown piece of sheet music suggested, to many people, some­thing about the quality of that unheard song. This reality was the basis of anadvertising slogan used, for a time, by his music publishing company: "Standardsof the World / 'Sterling' on Silver / 'Irving Berlin' on Songs."l The sentiment wasalso immortalized (less self-servingly) by fellow songwriter Cole Porter, in thelyrics of a 1934 hit which declared: "You're the top! You're a Berlin ballad."2

If there is an unfortunate circumstance to a songwriter's being so wellknown-to being as much a celebrity as most of the performers of his songs-it isthat myths and half-truths inevitably begin to spread, in part through journalistsof the popular press with a penchant for sensationalism and exaggeration. InBerlin's case, this has been especially true. Because he achieved great successwhile lacking formal musical training, proficient performance skills, and allegedlythe ability to read and write music,3 many colorful stories have arisen about hisworking methods and, generally speaking, his approach to songwriting. In thepresent essay, I will set aside received hyperbole and meticulously examine themusical results of his labors. My goal will be to delimit the various types ofexpressive chromaticism which enrich so many of his melodies, and to considerthe ways in which they function. As an appropriate point of departure, let usinspect two correlative exaggerations which have taken root in the popular(mis)understanding of Berlin's songwriting techniques.

First, as is often reported, Berlin was not a proficient pianist,4 and he tendedto favor the black keys when playing. As he phrased it, "The black keys are rightthere under your fingers. The key of C is for people who study music."s His prac­tice was widely known, and fellow songwriter Harold Arlen made witty referenceto it-in rhyme with Berlin's original name, Israel "Izzy" Baline-in a private


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birthday song he composed for Berlin, which proclaimed: "There's no curtailin' /The F sharp scalin' / Of Izzy Baline / The mighty B."6 However, while there is lit­tle doubt that Berlin found those raised piano keys to be easier to grasp, manywriters have been unable to stop with so general a statement, and instead haveconstructed more "fascinating" tales by reporting that black keys were all that heplayed. In Appendix 1, I give a sampling of quotations, by various writers, aboutBerlin's use of the black keys. These are listed roughly in order of increasing exag­geration. Thus, at the top are reasonable and true statements, such as by Forte andFuria, that Berlin generally played in F# major (and, implicitly, in D# minor) and somainly fingered the black keys; at the bottom are such absurdities as that "henever touched the white notes," and "he avoided the white keys and played onlyon the black." If the latter were true, even songs in F#, with no secondary toniciza­tions, would be completely devoid not only of leading tones but also of all the"blue notes" and other local chromaticisms that Berlin's melodies tend to incorpo­rate?

Second, and again, as is frequently mentioned, Berlin used a transposingpiano, partly to overcome his performing limitations. Such an instrument was fit­ted with a lever that, when turned, would shift the position of the hammers vis-a­vis the strings, and thus would allow one key to be played (e.g., F#) while notesfrom another key were being sounded. These pianos were common in Tin PanAlley offices at the time Berlin first obtained one, around 1910,8 and were quiteuseful when a pianist had to accompany a singer whose range required a differentkey than the one in which a song was written. Yet, once more, we find extremeexaggeration in the way the instrument has been rendered in Berlin biographies;its importance to Berlin's songwriting has been overstated to the point that onewould have to imagine a device with almost mystical qualities! Appendix 2 col­lects various statements by which Berlin's piano-which he dubbed "Buick"-hasbeen portrayed in the literature, from descriptions of its construction and mecha­nisms, to remarks about its constant presence whenever and wherever Berlin wasworking, to comments which even suggest that his compositional choices wereprompted by it.

The problem with intimations of the last kind-in addition to being factuallyunsubstantiated-is that they diminish Berlin's actual talent. This is especially trueof the quoted remark by Michael Freedland, who compared Berlin's songwritingsuccess on the instrument to a gambler's success on a slot machine, saying "assoon as he pulled the lever, he would as often as not hit the jackpot."9 The analogyis colorful, and indeed prompted this essay's titular reference to "gambling withchromaticism," but it does a disservice to Berlin by ascribing a mechanical orimprudent quality to his songwriting. There is never the feeling that his melodiestake chromatic excursions due to arbitrary turns of a lever; rather, his local diver­sions from diatony are generally the products of one who is musically quite sensi­tive and sophisticated, despite a pronounced lack of formal training. By insinuat­ing that his various chromaticisms are novelties resulting from the asinine twist ofa lever, these writers have perpetuated the notion advanced by Berlin's first biog­rapher (and friend!), Alexander Woollcott: that Berlin was simply a "creative igno­ramus" who was born with an "unrivalled capacity for inventing themes," but

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who possessed "little of the art, the patience, the interest in form, and the musi­cianly knowledge which could elaborate them."IO

In the following examination of Berlin's chromaticism, we will discover thatgreat consistencies of personal style and tonal thinking underpin his songs; theevidence will also suggest that his artistic, formal, and musicianly attributes weremuch more developed than Woollcott indicated. Because exaggerated references tothe piano lever have been so prominent in the Berlin literature, I will occasionallyreturn to its alleged usage in order to expose logical inconsistencies vis-a-vis theparticular type of chromaticism under discussion. In doing so, I will explode themyth that a transposing lever motivated his musical choices, and propose insteadthe opposite: that it was a very musical ear that guided any lever-twisting thatmight have occurred. However, considerations of the piano lever aside, the princi­pal aim of this essay is to interpret the expressive and structural uses of a vitalcomponent of Berlin's songs, as well as of the Tin Pan Alley repertory in general:chromaticism.

I will begin with a more thorough inspection of the "black-key" argument,and the types of pentatonicism that would result from such an approach. Speciesof chromaticism, of both smaller and larger scales, will then be scrutinized.Included in the former category will be immediate or directly applied types ofchromaticism-Le., local instances of passing and neighboring tones, blue notes,applied dominants, neighbor and passing chords, and so forth. These events, par­ticularly conspicuous when they occur within a pervasively diatonic field, can beexceptionally expressive. Regarding the latter category, I will consider how chro­matic passages can complement the larger-scale designs of songs, through defini­tion and elucidation of four ways in which Berlin used chromaticism on this level:in changes between parallel modes, in exactly-transposed segments or phrases, intonicized segments or phrases, and in sectional key changes. Because many ofBerlin's applications of chromaticism are consistent with those of the repertory ingeneral, their analysis here will also partly fill lacunae in the literature on Tin PanAlley, which too often discusses blue notes and other chromatic devices withoutclear definition. Indeed, to the extent that many of the operations to be discussed­of both larger and smaller scales-have currency in a wide variety of tonal music,this essay will also offer generalizable observations on the various structural rolesof chromaticism.

Musical Sources: Provenance and Authoritativeness

In the main text of this essay, I will discuss 70 different Berlin songs, spanning halfa century, from 1908 to 1957. Some of these will be cited in passing, but many willbe treated in detail, and occasionally in more than one context. Appendices 3-9add to this number other songs drawn from Berlin's catalog, grouped according tovarious topics to be investigated. Musical examples are provided in manyinstances, although verbal descriptions alone may be given when practicable;l1 butthere is no substitute for experiencing each of the cited songs in its entirety, andreaders are strongly encouraged to consult the sheet music when possible. Many of

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the roughly one thousand copyrighted songs by Berlin are currently out of print,and perhaps difficult to locate. I have endeavored to facilitate access by restrictingthe entries in Appendices 3-9 to songs available in a single source: the six-folioseries, The Songs of Irving Berlin, which was published under the imprint of theIrving Berlin Music CO.12 Most of the songs cited and discussed in the main text arealso found in this source, although eleven are not; in these cases, notes are provid­ed to indicate their provenance.

As for the status of the published music itself, even in popular music of theTin Pan Alley era, in which a piano/vocal score generally predated any recordedor stage arrangements (unlike in the later rock era), questions still linger as to howmuch a score reflects the input of the credited composer, and how much it is theproduct of an uncredited staff arranger. Although there is little doubt that Berlinwas the sole author of his melodies and lyrics, it is well known that he relied on"musical secretaries" to help arrange his songs. I have addressed the nature of hisinteraction with these arrangers in another article,13 and so here I will only submitthat Berlin seems to have been very involved in crafting these piano arrangements.At times, musical secretaries would be working literally under his nose, chang­ing--<:orrecting-harmonizations and even chord inversions upon his command.Moreover, just four years after his first song was published, Berlin could beassured that no arrangements of his songs would be issued without his approval,as he became his own publisher: he was named a partner in Waterson, Berlin andSnyder in late 1911; beginning three years later, he was concurrently involved withhis own company, dedicated mainly to his theater songs; and in 1919 he consoli­dated all of his efforts under a single, private company. However, even if onemaintains a healthy suspicion about the extent of Berlin's input as piano arranger,it weighs little on the current project, which is concerned principally with melodicchromaticism-a component of the sheet music that is indisputably Berlin's.

I. Pentatonicism, Diatonicism, and Chromaticism

Before turning fully to chromaticism, some words should be tendered aboutBerlin's diatonicism--especially in light of the charges that he favored the blackkeys of the piano. Together, the five pitch classes of the black keys form one trans­position of the pentatonic collection, and thus black-key playing lends itself to aparticular type of "hyper-diatonicism" devoid of semitones and tritones. If Berlin'smusical imagination was truly defined by his alleged piano-playing limitations,then one would expect to find a profusion of songs whose melodies make exten­sive use of pentatonicism; and indeed, some Berlin melodies do feature pentatonicphrases or even fully pentatonic sections. However, before one rushes to judge­ment (as certain biographers have done) and credits black keys with fomentingmany a melody, there are factors to be considered.

First, as documented in Appendix 3, we find that the unadorned pentatonicis not common for larger spans of Berlin's melodies.14 In compiling the list, I didnot investigate every published Berlin song, and so definite percentages shouldnot be inferred. Nonetheless, I did examine over 200 songs from throughout his

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career, and of these only the two songs listed under section 3-1 are purely penta­tonic-and even here it is perhaps significant that both are much shorter than thefrequent (but by no means exclusive) 32-bar refrain form. Moreover, the pentatoni­cism in one of these two songs serves a special role, as a token of the Orient:"Sayonara" (1953/57) was contributed as the theme song of the 1957 AcademyAward-nominated film of the same title, which was based on a James Michenernovel about post-World War II Japan. Accordingly, its wholesale pentatonicismwas prompted by distinct considerations.

More common are songs in which pentatonicism governs a particular sec­tion; and if that section is the repeated "A" phrase within AABA forms, then themelody will still be largely pentatonic. Finally, there are several songs that may beinterpreted as having a strongly pentatonic basis, but which are embellished byone or more (usually chromatic) neighboring or passing tones. Under this heading,which obviously necessitates judicious yet subjective appraisals, I have listed onlythose songs with mostly pentatonic melodies, and in which the extra-pentatonictones serve a typical embellishing role. For example, "Easter Parade" (1933) admitsa greater variety of "extra" tones than other listed songs; yet accepting notes oflonger length and with metric accent, while excluding, e.g., the chromatic neigh­boring tones which adorn the beginning of its famous melody, seems musicallyreasonable and not capriciously selective. Still, even when the totality of AppendiX3 is considered, one concludes that most Berlin melodies are not pervasively penta­tonic. Instead, it is far more common to find pentatonic motives, or occasionallybrief phrases, in his songs.

Second, there is the issue of whether or not one can logically ascribe penta­tonic passages-whether short segments or larger spans-to the black keys. Thereare three unique pentatonic subsets of the diatonic collection. In a major key, thesecorrespond to the scale-degree sets {I, 2, 3,5, 6}, {4, 5, 6, I, 2}, and {5, 6, 7, 2, 3}. Asthese contain, respectively, the I, IV, and V triads, I will refer to them with theseRoman-numeral prefixes. IS In the key of F#, the black keys correspond to the I-set;if the IV- or V-sets are used, a white key will be necessitated in each case (4 and 7,respectively). Thus, it is possible that a section of a song could remain in the mainkey of F#, be pentatonic, and still involve a white key. As Appendix 3 indicates inits"collection" column, almost all of the larger-scale pentatonic sets correspond tothe I-set. The reason for its ubiquity is rather obvious: it contains not only the cru­cial tonic triad, but two very important embellishing tones, 6, which serves as acommon upper neighbor to 5 as well as part of an ascending consonant skip thatoften adorns 1; and 2, which is not only useful in passing between members of thetonic triad and as a neighbor to 1, but also is consequential to melodic closure,given the decisiveness of a (3)-2-1 descent at endings. Still, IV- and V-sets are alsoused, especially in cases of smaller-scale pentatonicism. The verse of "An OldFashioned Tune Always is New" (1939) will illustrate.16 As shown in Example 1, itbegins with the I-set, as the tonic is established. In m ..6, pentatonicism is exceeded,due to an arpeggiation which introduces the 7-4 tritone as part of an authenticcadence. Pentatonicism resumes in mm. 9-12, but now the IV-set is used, due to asmall-scale tonicization of IV.17

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Example 1. "An Old Fashioned Tune Is Always New," verse, mm. 1-12

not pentatonic "IV-set"

In minor-key pieces, full (Le., five-note) pentatonicism is sometimes unprac­ticable (although a smaller subset may be used), due to the fact that the set whichcontains the tonic triad, and which corresponds to the black keys in D# minor, willconsist of {I, b3, 4, 5, b7}-Le., the subtonic is present instead of the leading tone.This so-called "pentatonic minor scale" is prominent in blues and later blues-rock,but it is not common in Tin Pan Alley songs, which are, in the main, quite tonal.When exceptions are found, they tend to connote something special, as in the caseof Berlin's "Abraham" (1942),18 which was written to suggest an African-Americansong about the U.S. president who "set the negro free." Its affect is achieved, inpart, though melodic use of the pentatonic minor scale. As illustrated in Example2, its b7-5 skips usurp tonally normative ~7-1 successions.

Example 2. /IAbraham," mm. 1-8

We must also recognize that pentatonicism may appear on chromatic levelsbeyond that of the main key. For example, in the verse of "I Got the Sun in theMorning" (1946), the opening eight-bar phrase is mostly pentatonic, using the I-set(a single appearance of 7, at the end, precludes pure pentatonicism). The subse­quent four-bar phrase is a transposition of mm. 1-4, on the level of bIll. It is entirelypentatonic, but of course the ~III-set consists of {b3, 4, 5, b7, I}, and thus three of thefive notes would have been fingered on white keys in F~assuming that Berlin'stransposition lever was not in use, which is a point to be debated later in thisessay.

For our third and final main argument against fetishizing the black keyswhen thinking of pentatonicism, we must acknowledge that pentatonic units aresimply an important element of the Tin Pan Alley idiolect-common here as inearlier folk and parlor songs, or in later blues-influenced or modal rock music-

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and that this reality transcends any particular keyboard fingering. 19 GeorgeGershwin is an especially notable example of a Berlin contemporary whosemelodies often had a pentatonic basis: e.g., the refrains of "Sweet and Low Down"(1925), "Clap Yo' Hands" (1926), "Maybe" (1926), and "How Long Has This BeenGoing On" (1927) each begin with prominent pentatonic propensities; and some ofhis most famous incipits also are distinctly pentatonic (as opposed to being merelytriadic),20 such as those of "Someone To Watch Over Me" (1926), "I Got Rhythm"(1930), and "Love is Here To Stay" (1938). Of course, Gershwin was an exceptionalpianist, and thus no one would credit his pentatonicism to the strictures of theblack keys.

In sum, we find that pentatonicism is no more prevalent in Berlin's melodiesthan elsewhere in the repertory, and even when employed it often would haveinvolved scale degrees other than those of the black keys in F#. The pentatonicsound-image was one that Berlin would have assimilated through years of contactwith music, and he would have replicated it in his own songs, regardless of key­board fingerings. Favoring the black keys certainly may have aided his pentatonicdesigns in some cases, but given the above considerations, one should not investtoo much authority in them.

As we move into our study of Berlin's melodic chromaticism, we will findeven more evidence supporting the assertion that his musical imagination was notconfined to a particular set of piano keys, whether black or white. This is demon­strated, in part, by the sheer ubiquity of chromatic elements in his melodies. True,some melodies contain but a single chromatic note, perhaps arising through toni­cization or some other embellishment of a diatonic tone; examples are listed inAppendix 4-1. But it is a rare melody that is completely diatonic. Appendices 4-2and 4-3 list some of the relatively few songs that fit the description in toto, alongwith a few in which the (more familiar) refrain melodies are wholly diatonic, butthe verses introduce a small degree of chromaticism. Standing apart from theseentries are the vast majority of Berlin's songs, which feature chromaticism in vari­ous-and at times extensive-degrees. As mentioned earlier, for the purposes ofthe following investigation, melodic chromaticism will be grouped into five cate­gories: very local and often individually-occurring chromatic tones; and more con­centrated chromaticism resulting from mode mixture, tonicized sections/phrases,transposed sections/phrases, and internal sectional key changes.

II. Direct Chromaticism

Berlin's melodic chromaticism is often of an immediate or directly applied kind,rather than that resulting from phrase- or section-wide transformations. Becausethese touches of chromaticism may occur sporadically, and across the range of thepitch universe (Le., without being confined to a single "new" key area), they obvi­ously cannot be thought of as originating in the use of a transposing lever. Below Iwill describe general types of direct chromaticism exhibited by his songs-and, byextension, by the repertory in general. These will be divided into "individual"tones of ornament (passing and neighbor tones, blue notes), and those that are part

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of variously functioning chordal arpeggiations (applied [Le., secondary] domi­nants, neighboring and passing chords, etc.).

Chromatic passing tones. Berlin often fills diatonic whole steps with chro­matic passing tones. Naturally, some of the resulting melodic patterns lend them­selves to stock harmonizations. For example, when chromatic passing tonesascend, they may suggest secondary leading tones, and accordingly may be har­monized with applied V(7) or VIIO(7) chords. Another possibility arises with theascending pattern 2-#2-3, which may be harmonized V5-#5-I. Certain descendingchromatic lines also suggest conventional tonal harmonizations: e.g., 5-#4-W-3 sug­gests I-V(7)jV-V7-I, and 6-b6-5 suggests IV3-~3-I. Harmonic connotations aside,however, chromatic passing tones are melodic in origin, and Berlin utilizes them ina variety of ways. Indeed, they frequently appear on submetrical levels withoutindividual harmonization, although sometimes they are enriched by parallel thirdsor sixths. Berlin's early "ragtime songs" often feature this type of chromaticism,exemplified by passing tones that traverse a third within an underlying major triador dominant-seventh chord; Example 3 illustrates with an excerpt from "Stop,Stop, Stop (Come Over and Love Me Some More)" (1910). Chromatic passing tonesalso appear in less-immediate forms, perhaps separated by other embellishingnotes, or as components of compound (polylinear) melodies.

Example 3. "Stop, Stop, Stop," verse, mm. 7-10

Some diverse applications of chromatic passing tones may be illustratedwith two four-bar phrases from "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails" (1935; each phraseis subsequently repeated in the song). In the G-major verse, the melody rises chro­matically from 5 to 3, with a return to 5-an internal pedal point-in between eachnote of ascent (Example 4a). The bass ascends along with the melody in parallelsixths (assuming enharmonic equivalence) as the harmony progresses I ... V-I. Incontrast, within the C-major refrain, the bridge tonicizes E (3) and features a semi­tonal descent from E5 to GM, with a downward consonant skip every third note(Example 4b). More precisely, the line is based on a three-note motive exactly repli­cated in successively descending forms. The motive itself consists of the descend­ing pattern <-1,-4>, as measured in semitones. The initial notes, of its successiveforms, effect a stepwise descent through a segment of the E-minor scale(E-D-C-B-A), against which the harmony provides a standard progression in Eminor (I(~3)-II07-V7-1~).The harmonic and melodic layers are somewhat indepen­dent (the melody forms dissonances against the lower chord tones more often thannot), and the change to E major at the end is surely prompted by the G# that com­pleted the last motivic cell. After the phrase is repeated, another chromatic descent(Glt-F#-Flt-E) leads into the song's final C-major section.

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Example 4a. "Top Hat," verse, mm. 5-8

Example 4b. "Top Hat/' refrain, mm. 17-20 (i.e., bridge)A


q 7VEm: I

" I I I I I h r--, I ~ I I'"

_ .,.-J

If .... . -, .,-, .,- .-J "'- . . . : h..-J,,,,,.. '" .-J _ u. _ .. - _ tII-J

~ ....'SI _ 1J. _

r F~ ~~f..- --- T L.-..---J

7~~a a a

t--..I Ia

----'. L . - ':j • .,-...... I - ... ""'" ..J.. -- -I. ... -1....

~~ v~<J' "''''''

~4· ;?J &--------Chromatic neighbor tones. Often a diatonic pitch will be displaced by an

adjacent chromatic pitch. Some Berlin melodies extensively feature this type ofembellishment (or motive) in one form or another, such as "Alexander's RagtimeBand" (1911) and "(I Wonder Why?) You're Just In Love" (1950). As with chromat­ic passing tones, sometimes chromatic neighbor tones suggest a particular harmo­nization. For example, upper and lower neighbors can each be incorporated intoapplied V(7) and VIIO(7) chords. The specific use of ~6 as neighbor to 5, in an other­wise major key (which also provides an instance of mode mixture), may also sug­gest a IV~I chord succession, which is exactly what occurs when the b6-5 figure isrepeated in the refrain of "What'll I Do" (1924) and the bridge of "Blue Skies"(1927).

Nonetheless, chromatic neighbors, like chromatic passing tones, are primari­ly of melodic, not harmonic, origin; and again we find them employed in Berlin'smelodies in a variety of ways: as complete neighbor figures and as neighbor pre­fixes or suffixes; in figures that use either the upper or lower neighbor and in thosethat use both; on weak as well as strong beats; in longer as well as shorter dura­tions; both individually harmonized (or enriched by thirds/sixths) and not; and soforth. Among the idiomatic figures used by Berlin (and other period songwriters)are the lower-neighbor suffixes of Example 5, shown as they appear in "EverybodyStep" (1921) and "Manhattan Madness" (1931/32). In both instances, the third ofthe underlying major chord is approached melodically from the semitone below­a scale-degree "bending" evocative of the blues, and common in popular musicand ragtime.21

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Example 5. Chromatic neighbor prefixes

(a) "Everybody Step," verse, nun. 3-4(b) "Manhattan Madness," mm. 5-6

~ q-.-


Blue notes. The preceding comment brings us to the general category ofublue notes," or notes affectively flattened in a major-key context: b3, b7, and (lesscommonly) b5; although sometimes excluded from the heading, b6 may be used insimilar ways. While blue notes warrant a separate division of direct chromaticism,they often arise through chromatic passing or neighbor tones, or chordal arpeggia­tions, not to mention through melodic sequences and one of the broader categoriesto be discussed later: mode mixture. Accordingly, it is often impossible to speak ofblue notes as a discrete phenomenon. Nonetheless, one often finds b3 and b7 (themost common blue notes) used in an otherwise major-key setting, but not as com­ponents of applied dominants, nor as direct passing or neighbor embellishments;and especially in these cases it is usually proper to think of the lowered notes as"blue."22 Below I will discuss some melodic applications of b3 and b7 that offerespecially striking and perhaps unambiguous instances of blue notes in Berlin'ssongs.

"Supper Time" (1933) illustrates a common manner of introducing bluenotes: as components of dominant-seventh-chord arpeggiations. In the excerptshown in Example 6, first b3 tops a melodic projection of IVb7, then b7 tops I~7. Itmust be stressed that, although the arpeggiated chords outline dominant-seventhsonorities, neither functions as a dominant. In fact, in each instance, the harmo­nization changes upon the chromatic melodic notes: b3 is accompanied by bVI, as itis frequently, and b7 by 1°. Melodic arpeggiations of 1~7 and IV~7 are fairly com­mon-the verse of "Let Yourself Go" (1936), for instance, alternates both-andtheir employment in the popular repertory may remind one of their harmonic usein twelve-bar blues progressions. Occasionally it is a diminished-seventh chordarpeggiation that introduces a blue note. Such happens, for example, at the begin-

Example 6. "Supper Time," nun. 1-5

* *

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ning of the refrain of "Song of Freedom" (1942), and in the bridge of "You're Easyto Dance With" (1942): in both, 3 is lowered to ~3, from which ensues an arpeggia­tion of Vllo7/V.

At times, blue-note arpeggiations are partially or completely filled withpassing tones, as demonstrated by the scalar ascent to ~7 in mm. 3-5 of "Harlem onMy Mind" (1933), shown in Example 7. In this case, :f7 is also sounded both beforeand after the passage shown: first in m. 1, as a conventional V7/IV, and then in m.5, as a non-functional sonority. There are also further attributes which suggest anassociation with the blues: the lyrics make reference to Harlem; and the dotted­eighth/sixteenth rhythms are similar to the "swing" (or triplet) eighths of jazz.23

However, a stepwise approach to b7, concurrent with a Ib7 harmonic accompani­ment, c'an also suggest modality of a kind distinct from blues influences. See, forexample, the excerpt from "Lady of the Evening" (1922),24 in Example 8. In theabstract, the melody of this passage is similar to that of Example 7: in both, there isstepwise ascent from a lower member of Ib7 to b7, and then a reversal of direction.However, in the latter, the slower rhythmic pacing (primarily in quarter notes),above a tonic pedal, educes a more meditative mood; and the lyric speaks of a"sheltering palm in the evening" and "cares and troubles that ... fold their tentsjust like the Arabs." Accordingly, the chromaticism in "Lady of the Evening" sug­gests (Tin Pan Alley's conception of) Middle Eastern modality; the intersection oflyrics, melodic pitches, and rhythms intimates a different affect here than in"Harlem on My Mind." Still, both songs utilize b7 to suggest a certain musical "oth­erness"-something apart from conventional Western tonality.

Example 7. "Harlem On My Mind," verse mm. 3-5

Example 8. "Lady of the Evening," refrain, mm. 17-20

The direct descent b3-i (i.e., with no intervening notes) is a most emphatic token ofthe blues; Example 9 shows instances from "Mr. Monotony" (1947), "Song ofFreedom" (1942), and "Manhattan Madness" (1931/32). In the first, ~3 is harmo­nized by V9 (in which b3 [Gb] substitutes for 2[F]); in the second, by IIP/7 (in which b3[Eb] is a dissonant minor ninth above the bass); and in the third, by an augmented­sixth sonority which subsequently will resolve to V7 (Bb7). Notice the extra empha­sis granted to these blue notes: in the first two cases, the added dissonances of theblue-note harmonies amplify the affect of the flattened melodic notes; in the third,

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Example 9.

(a) "Mr. Monotony," mm. 5-7


(b) "Song of Freedom," refrain, mm. 5-7

(c) "Manhattan Madness," mm. 3-4

it is the longer duration of b3 that draws additional attention to the alteration.25

Although b3-1 is employed often, it must be stressed that the direct melodicsuccession (1)-b7-1 is rare. In songs of the subsequent rock-music era, the latter ismuch more frequent, being emblematic of the genre's modal qualities;26 however,it seldom occurs in Berlin's melodies or in the Tin Pan Alley repertory.27 Whenexceptions are found, the circumstances are usually likewise distinctive. For exam­ple, in "The Freedom Train" (1947), the subdominant-oriented bridge provides acontrasting declamatory section, and it is in this rather chant-like context that theunusual I-b7-1 melodic segment appears (on the level of IV). Similarly, "ThePiccolino" (1935) contains an internal section on the level of bIll (a key area thatitself may be thought of as "blue," relative to the overall tonic), with restrictedmelodic motion and the repetition of one particular pitch as if a reciting tone. Here,a I-b7-1 segment occurs with an interpolated skip: I-b7-5-1, reminiscent of the b7-5

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skip in IIAbraham."28 In a related but somewhat different fashion, one also findssuccessive repetitions of b7-1 at phrase endings in "I'm an Indian Too" (1946),29where a minor-key melody is crafted to suggest the supposed modality of NativeAmerican songs.30 All of these contexts are special: the melodic designs of the pas­sages in question differ from the normative, and suggest chant-like or expresslymodal characteristics. However, of the few occurrences of ~7-1 in Berlin's songs,some are neither "modal" nor indicative of the blues, but instead result from anembellished V7/IV. For example, consider a passage from "Manhattan Madness"(1931/32; Example 10): there ~7 and 1 (Dh and E~) alternate, but ~7 is part of a bilin­ear melody: ultimately, it descends to 6(C) as V7/IV resolves to IV.

Example 10. "Manhattan Madness," mm. 45--49

(score)1\ I ~ 1 ~ I r1_ r:I I ~ I "I "I r- -- ~J\I '" 1-...-1 _.-I _.-1_ _1-...-1_.-1 _. - - . "- ... .-I -

I{ I-.. .... v- - - v- ~ - - - . ... -,"" v ~,..

~r- - -- ~.

~~ I-. I-. l-. IS • 1-1.. ...... '-"".........

r r r r r r' ~r-1----'- I

J J .J I b~ I rTTJ~~~·b~ L_=::iO~: '" I I --' I-.. '" -J

.J.._ .J.. - -V .... --6 CJ ~CJ

..,I ~ •


Q I '" L..---a --- ----- --- ------a ... .I{ I-.. .... v- . -,.. . '-""

r~v '" .. ......~

- - - - ----- -: ,... ? e- o-". '" .. r-

~.. .... .-' I-.. '" ---- -v ....

Eb: V7/IV IV VI V7/V V7

Chromatic arpeggiations. Above, we found that blue notes are often incor­porated into arpeggiations. Chromatic notes of other types also arise frequentlythrough partial and complete chordal arpeggiations: dominant-seventh chords areoften outlined, as are, to a lesser extent, diminished-seventh chords; and chromatictriads are also common. These arpeggiations may be divided into those thatinvolve conventional leading-tone resolutions and those that do not.

An applied leading-tone chord serves as V(7) or VIIO(7) of the subsequentchord. For example, the refrain of "The Best Thing For You" (1950) begins with atwo-bar arpeggiation of V7/III, which resolves to III in the following measure(upon which a melodic sequence is begun); the two chromatic melodic notes, #2­and #4, function as the leading tone and supertonic of the tonicized scale degree. Insome cases an arpeggiation may be abbreviated, but its implicit functional harmo­ny remains clear. For instance, the passage from the verse of "Alexander's RagtimeBand" (1911), shown in Example II, strongly suggests VIV-V, even though themelody passes through only the root and third of VIV. Applied-dominant arpeg­giations of all persuasions may be used (perhaps incomplete, perhaps melodicallyembellished), but the two most common, here as in tonal music in general, areV(7) IIV and V(7) IV; a passage from "When I Leave the World Behind" (1915;Example 12) presents both successively.

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Example 11. IIAlexander's Ragtime Band," verse, mm. 7-8

c: v/v v

Example 12. "When I Leave the World Behind," refrain, mm. 9-13

c: V7/1V IV V7/V V

V(7)IV, with its #4, will be examined presently, but special mention should bemade here of V(7)/IV, with its b7. The popular-song repertory exhibits particularemphasis on the subdominant, and tonicizations of IV may be more frequent herethan they are in the "classical" tonal repertory.31 Accordingly, melodic presenta­tions of b7 via V7/IV are found often in Berlin's songs, in one manner or another. b7also arises in a related fashion: through the tonicization of II, the relative-minorkey area of, and frequent chord substitute for, IV. In such cases, b7 usually occursas part of the progression II07-V7-I(b} of II, as illustrated by a passage from "I UsedTo Be Color Blind" (1938; Example 13, upper staves). It is a simple task, however,to reconfigure most tonicizations of II so that IV is the goal instead. As shown inthe lower staves of Example 13, the A-e-Eb of the previous melody could be inter­preted as outlining VII/IV, and thus a different harmonization could be construct­ed, which would tonicize IV.

Example 13. "I Used To Be Color Blind," refrain, mm. 20-24

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Not all chromatic arpeggiations result from applied leading-tone chords.Some function as passing or neighboring chords to those diatonic chords whichhave a more fundamental role in the underlying tonal progression. An example ofthe neighboring type is found in "Because I Love You" (1926). As illustrated inExample 14, the melody departs from and returns to D, with adjacent notes E andC# in between. The supporting chords are also adjacent: D is harmonized by B~

(IV), while the intervening notes are part of an A-major (lIn) arpeggiation. Thearpeggiated III# chord (like the chromatic note it spawns) plays no role in a func­tional tonal progression, but rather is a neighboring chord between statements ofthe subdominant.32 The refrain of "Be Careful, It's My Heart" (1942) providesanother instance: the second, eight-bar phrase is engaged in an embellisheddescent from .5 to 2, in preparation for a half cadence. In the latter half of thephrase, shown in Example 15, b3 is used as a passing tone between q3 and 2, and isprolonged by an arpeggiation of bllI-a chord which, itself, serves as an upperneighbor to the subsequent VIV, intensifying the motion toward the half cadence.

Example 14. "Because I Love You," refrain, mm. 17-21

Example 15. "Be Careful, It's My Heart," refrain, mm. 12-16

F: I ~III V7/V V7

Sequences? So far, I have intentionally ignored one common procedurethrough which chromaticism may be introduced: the use of melodic sequences.Partly, this is because melodic segments treated sequentially are often lengthy(two, four, or rarely, even eight bars in length), and so a discussion under theheading of smaller-scale, direct chromaticism would be inappropriate.Nonetheless, smaller melodic cells are also treated sequentially, and could result inthe kinds of local, "individual" chromaticism I have been examining. However,quite often these would be better explained by other species of chromaticism, suchas passing tones/chords, or even blue notes/mode mixture, and it is mostly forthis reason that I have not treated chromaticism via sequences as a separate catego­ry. To illustrate the point, let us consider the beginning of "I'd Rather Lead aBand" (1935/36; Example 16). The melodic unit repeated in the first two measures

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consists of a descending perfect fourth followed by an ascending major second.The unit strongly suggests its harmonization, due to the tonal significance of thedescending fourth, which implies a chord root and fifth. The unit is stated a majorsecond lower in each of the following two measures, and thus the suggestedchords are a major second lower each time. To this extent, the successive unitsintroduce what may be thought of as arpeggiation-related chromatic tones; moreparticularly, given that they suggest chords that descend by step, they insinuatechromatic passing chords. But how does the descent function melodically? What isits goal (Le., to what is it passing), and what dictates the (non-diatonic) major-sec­ond sequential interval? Underlying the passage is a descent from lover I to 5over V, using the minor form of the scale; and so mode mixture is another aptchromatic descriptor (in fact, the parallel minor mode occurs again, in morelengthy passages, later in the song). Thus we see that while the melody certainlyfeatures a sequential descent, there are more precise ways of describing exactlyhow its chromaticism functions: mode mixture and chromatic passing chordsguide the melodic sequence, rather than the other way around.

Example 16. "I'd Rather Lead a Band," mm. 1-6

c: I V7nVII bVII bVI V7

Raised 4. For the concluding category in this survey of directly-appliedchromaticism, I return to the use of W, previously mentioned under the heading ofapplied leading-tone chord arpeggiations. Of the general categories consideredhere, Wdeserves particular attention due to a harmonically and structurally signifi­cant function: Berlin often uses this scale degree as a means of strengthening themelodic/harmonic impetus to 5, for section-demarcating half cadences. In therepertory, an arrival on V frequently occurs at the end of the verse (so as to pre­pare for the ensuing refrain), or at the end of the initial half of a refrain in an AA'formal scheme (so as to prepare for the second and concluding section, with itsopening repetition). At these moments, even if #4 is not present in the vocalmelody, it frequently appears in an accompanying piano line, because Berlin'smelodies are still generally designed to support V(7) /V prior to these half cadences.(For example, Wmay be an inner voice when the measure[s] in question containmelodic 2 or 6, which are easily fitted with the applied dominant.) However, myinterest is in those songs in which Wis used melodically, not just because melodicchromaticism is the topic of this essay, but because-given that Berlin's authorshipof his melodies is much more certain than that of his harmonizations-here wehave evidence of his intuitive understanding of dominant tonicization at struc­turally significant moments. In fact, such is demonstrated by the very first song forwhich he wrote both the music and the lyrics, "The Best of Friends Must Part"

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(1908):33 one measure before its verse-ending half cadence, the melody projects anembellished outline of VIV. Appendix 5 lists additional Berlin songs in which #4 isused prominently, and indicates where within the songs the scale degree is locat­ed.

There are countless specific ways in which Berlin incorporates #4 into hismelodies; however, when the immediate melodic context is considered, most usesare reducible to one of the two models shown in Example 17. (It should be empha­sized that the actual melodies may highly embellish these models, and may cometo occupy several measures each.) At (a), #4 is part of a stepwise ascending lineleading to 5; the line may depart from 1as well as 3, although, in the more imme­diate context, the latter is probably more frequent. As a common variation, before#4 completes its ascent to 5, the upper-neighbor prefiX 6may appear. At (b), #4 has aneighboring role-either alone or as part of a double-neighbor complex--embell­ishing 5. #4 is often heard just once during these pre-cadence sections, but it is notuncommon for the note to be repeated within more elaborate instantiations of theparadigms. Consider the second half of the 32-bar verse of "I'm Going Back to theFarm" (1915), as interpreted in Example 18. There, #4 is sounded melodically fivetimes within four consecutive measures (and is used harmonically two bars later),but ultimately it is subordinate to 6, which is prolonged as upper neighbor to 5; 5ends the verse just as it began its two principal sections, in mm. 1 and 17. Althoughthe underlying voice-leading of the passage is akin to the neighboring model ofExample 17b, it is greatly transformed, and the repeated melodic #4 serves as an"inner" voice in the larger scale.

Example 17. Models for #4

(a) may be extended to 1... 5(b) may reverse the order of double neighbor tones

Example 18. "I'm Going Back to the Farm," verse, m. 17ff., and graph

Eb: I V7111 II V7/V

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In the preceding, I summarized the most prominent applications of #4, butthere are notable exceptions. First, while the innate tension of #4 seems best used toanticipate moments of strong arrival, these need not always be section-ending halfcadences. "Easter Parade" (1933), for example, employs the ascent 1-2-3-#4-5 in itsbridge, as a means of attaining the song's climactic apex pitch, 5. (Even here, thereis a half cadence just a measure afterward, prior to the final eight-bar section; how­ever, the melody has descended from 5to 2by this time.) Second, although #4 usu­ally will lead to 5, occasionally the resolution is only implicit (perhaps realized inan inner piano voice), and instead the melody proceeds otherwise, possiblythrough an arpeggiation that takes it into a different register. The verse of "SoHelp Me" (1934) illustrates. As outlined in Example 19, the three initial four-barphrases have ended on 5 (at mm. 4, 8, and 12). But, in the fourth and last phrase,VIIo7/V is arpeggiated such that 5 leads to #4, but then b3 leads to a verse-ending 2,a fifth higher; the motion from #4 back to 5 transpires only in an inner piano voice.Third and finally, there are times in which the melodic and harmonic goal of #4 isnot 5over V, but rather 5over III, or even 3 over III. Such instances can arise easily,due to the fact that #4 may serve as either 7 of V, or 2 of III (about which morelater). The verse of "White Christmas" (1940/42) offers an example: its melodyends with a 1-2-3-#4-5 ascent, but 5 arrives upon a tonicization of III; V followsthereafter.

Example 19. "So Help Me," verse

mm. 4 12 13 14 15 16

In summary, Berlin's more immediate chromaticisms occur in various fash­ions, but all function logically and effectively within their contexts. Given theirnature, it would be impractical-indeed irrational-to imagine any as resultingfrom the twist of a lever. Moreover, Berlin's alleged piano-key preferences are nowcast in a different light, for we see that even if he did play almost exclusively in F#major, such frequent occurrences as b3, #4, b6, and b7 (not to mention the leadingtone!) would each necessitate an allegedly ignored white key. Thus, on many occa­sions, Berlin would have been left with only three black keys to finger (1, 2, and 5).

III. Mode Mixture

Progressing now to larger-scale forms of chromaticism, we observe that one of themost striking types employed by Berlin is that deriving from mode mixture: theintroducing of notes from the parallel minor into an otherwise major section, orvice-versa. This type of pitch mutation achieves a significant impact due not just tothe net change per se, of as many as three notes out of seven in the diatonic collec-

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tion, but also to the fact that the tonic note is retained while the qualities of inter­vals formed with it, including those of the tonic triad, are altered. Berlin's modemixture occurs on various levels, from within phrase segments, to that encompass­ing full sectional spans, to that which is pervasive throughout a song.

Interpreting mode mixture within shorter segments of music may be moreproblematic than one suspects. When a phrase, or especially a whole section,stands in complete modal contrast to other parts of a song, then the changebetween major and minor is clear and distinct. But, as mentioned earlier, if a piecein major has only isolated borrowings from the minor mode-especially if there isjust a single ~3 or b7-then often these are more properly thought of as blue notes.Minor-key pieces may also borrow from the parallel major without suggesting awholesale change in mode: #7 (i.e., the leading tone) routinely occurs, and #6 and #7are both frequent within ascending lines. Given Berlin's use of blue notes in major,as well as the so-called "melodic-ascending" form of the minor scale, by what cri­teria can we claim that smaller song segments truly change modality? For presentpurposes, I posit that a musical segment may be taken to define a new mode if: (a)it employs a harmonic progression that confirms the status of the opposite-modetonic triad; and/or (b) it employs a melodic progression, of more than two notes,that is emblematic of the opposite mode but not typical in the present mode. (Thelast clause will preclude taking the minor-mode ascent 5-#6-#7-1 alone as suggestinga change to major, as that particular succession is typical in minor.)

Appendix 6-1 lists some songs that include smaller spans of mode mixturein accordance with the above guidelines. Under heading (a) are songs in which thequality of the tonic triad is changed after being approached by a standard tonalprogression (at minimum: V-I). Each song provides a different context for thechange. "If You Don't Want Me (Why Do You Hang Around)" (1913) is in major,but the indicated four-bar section employs melodic ~3 (as the verse's highest pitch)and has a repeated V7-Ib progression, all leading to the arrival on 2 over V at theend of the phrase.34 "Tell Me Little Gypsy" (1920) also turns from major to minor,but only for two bars, as defined by a Ib-V7-1~ progression; however, here themelody simply sustains I-the mode change transpires solely in the harmony.35Finally, "(I'll See You In) Cuba" (1920) offers the opposite change, from minor tomajor: as shown in Example 20, the verse melody presents all notes of the (natural)minor mode within its first six measures, in an embellished descent from 1 to 2.But then a V7-1 progression resolves to #3 and the melody reverses direction, pass­ing through #6 and #7 to attain 1 at the start of the next phrase, upon which thetonic triad reverts to minor. All notes of the parallel major mode are used withinjust three measures. This circumstance, plus the V7-I# underscoring of the newmode, differentiates the passage from others in minor that employ only #6 and #7 inthe progression to a minor tonic chord.

Listed under heading (b) are songs that adhere primarily to the second crite­rion: they each employ a melodic progression emblematic of the opposite mode.Specifically, each of these major-mode songs contains a minor-mode melodic seg­ment found frequently among Berlin's melodies: the scalar descent 1-~7-~6-5. Thepattern appears variously: in some songs it occurs as a direct melodic succession;in others, it is embellished in diverse ways, and may span several measures, as

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illustrated previously by the passage from "I'd Rather Lead a Band" (Example 16).In addition to appearing in manifold melodic guises, the scalar descent is also har­monized variously: sometimes the harmony is simply parallel major triads(I~VII~VI-V);but colorful alternatives exist, as shown by "Say It With Music"(1921; Example 21), with its chromatic, contrary-motion arrival on outer-voice 5s.

Example 20. "(I'll See You In) Cuba," verse, mm. 1-10


Example 21. "Say It With Music," refrain, mm. 9-12

Turning our focus to sectional modal contrast, we note that Berlin occasion­ally differentiates verses and refrains by parallel modes. Appendix 6-2 lists someexamples: three songs that have minor verses and major refrains, and three morethat have the opposite. One finds this procedure early among those songs forwhich Berlin wrote both music and lyrics; e.g., "That Monkey Tune" and "Businessis Business" (both 1911)36 each have a minor verse and parallel-major refrain.37 Atthat period in the repertory's development, verses were weighted more heavily ina song's design, and were usually as long, if not longer, than the followingrefrains. Accordingly, these earlier sectional modal shifts did not divide what wasessentially an introduction/main-body schema (as would later be the case), butrather differentiated two equal components.

As might be expected, in many cases the expressive sectional shifts from onemode to another highlight changes in the lyrics. For example, in "Reaching for theMoon" (1930), the major-mode verse refers to "a dream of love"; but the minor­mode refrain faces a more forlorn reality, as the protagonist recalls that "you ...[are] so far from me" that I "wonder if we'll ever meet." On the other hand, "PackUp Your Sins and Go To the Devil" (1922) begins appropriately with a minor­mode verse, as its lyrics are of dire portent: the protagonist sings of getting"a mes-

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sage from below" from a deceased friend. One suspects that the friend has come toissue ghoulish warnings; but instead, as the refrain turns to major, the friendinforms that "Hades ... [has] the finest of gentlemen and ... ladies," all of whomhave a terrific time carousing all night and dancing to jazz. Not all such songs havean obvious differentiation built into their lyrics. For example, there is nothingabout the lyrics of "Heat Wave" (1933) that strongly suggests a progression fromminor to major. And as for "Russian Lullaby" (1927), although the minor modeseems appropriate for its refrain-which speaks of a "plaintive tune" sung in thehope of "a land that's free" for mother and child-the major modality of its versemight seem to contradict its reference to "a lonely Russian Rose ... down upon herknee." In such cases as these, the initial verse mode does not reflect the mood of itslyrics as much as it serves to strengthen the effect of the refrain's subsequent modechange. That is, the "Russian Lullaby" refrain seems even more plaintive becauseits minor-ness is cast into greater relief by the verse's opening major-ness.Likewise, the ebullience of the major-mode refrain of "Heat Wave," which pro­claims that a "heat wave" is what overcomes men whenever a certain dancer's"seat waves," is made even more blithesome as it emerges from its minor-modeintroduction.

Returning to the broader topic of sectional chromaticism, it must be recog­nized that Berlin often incorporates elements of the forthcoming refrain mode intothe opposite-mode verse, or retains elements of the prior verse mode even in therefrain. Through such anticipation and recapitulation, mode mixture becomes partof the fabric of the whole song. For example, "Puttin' On the Ritz" (1928/29) has apredominantly major verse, but its first four, tonic-oriented bars are exactly trans­posed a minor-third higher, to the level of bIll, for the next four bars. The secondphrase unit, with its melodic b3 and b7, anticipates the parallel-minor refrain thatwill arrive eight bars later.38 "Soft Lights and Sweet Music" (1931) interminglesmajor and minor more subtly. Although notated with the key signature of F major,the verse is unambiguously in F minor: the tonic triad is always minor in the pianoaccompaniment; and in the melody, all 3s are lowered to b3. 6 and 7 are not usedmelodically in any guise, although minor IV, with its b6, does occur twice harmoni­cally near the verse's conclusion. In the harmony, every 7 is in its leading-toneform-which, obviously, is often the case in minor settings. However, when theotherwise-major refrain begins, its first note is b7, part of a r7 blues chord. Indeed,the refrain begins with two statements of b7-5, a minor-third motive that becomesprominent in the melody, transplanted to different scale degrees. b7 is further dis­tinguished by being the only chromatic note in the refrain, and, until the fourthand final eight-bar phrase, its highest pitch. If one listens to the refrain alone, b7probably would be thought of simply as a blue note. But if the minor verse isheard first (as written), then the expanded context prompts a different interpreta­tion, in which b7 functions as a "pivot note": it offers an extension of the previousminor modality, as a member of its implicit pitch collection, and simultaneouslyintroduces a prominent motive in the new major modality, as a blue note.

Mode changes may also demarcate sectional divisions within refrains;Appendix 6-3 provides some examples. Particular candidates for such treatmentare bridges (that is, B sections within AABA forms), although extra-refrain "patter"

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sections, and B sections within ABAB forms, may be transformed likewise. Thesetypes of sectional mode-shifts may be more familiar to many listeners than thosebetween verses and refrains, as verses are often omitted in performances andrecordings. As before, certain pitch elements of the preceding verse may increasethe impact of intra-refrain mode changes. For example, "Steppin' Out With MyBaby" (1947) has a verse in F major, with phrases also on the levels of A~ (~III) andC (V); a refrain in D minor; and a bridge in D major. The affective shift from Dminor to D major would be great in any context, but when one first experiencesverse tonicizations of F and C, in comparison the bridge's melodic usage of F# andC# (3 and 7of D major) becomes especially pronounced.

Often, musical features of earlier portions of the refrain are artfully connect­ed with later mode changes, so that-as asserted previously-the chromaticismseems more related to the whole, rather than an abrupt alteration for novelty'ssake. For example, the C-major "Cheek to Cheek" (1935), which has no verse, iscast in an AABBCA form, in which the B sections are more like internal "patters,"and the C section, set in the parallel minor, assumes the role of a bridge.39 Each Asection reaches its climax at around its midpoint, upon the song's apex pitch, E5(3), a note further highlighted by its chromatic accompaniment, BPl_A7 (Le.,~Vlll-V7 of II), as shown in Example 22.40 The C-minor bridge has as its apex pitchE~5 (~3), a note further highlighted by its harmonization by A~9, a chord that notonly has all three minor-mode notes, but an additional flat (G~; see also Example22); relative to the overriding mode of C major, this chord contains all blue notes:~3, ~5, ~6, and b7. E5 and Eb5 are thus associated by each being climax pitches of theirrespective sections, accentuated further through chromatic harmonization; anddue to their semitonal relationship, E~5 is easily thought of as originating in E5-asrepresenting a dramatic lowering of the song's apex pitch, which in tum promptsthe shift to the parallel minor. Indeed, this semitonal registral association strength­ens the connection between the A and C sections, causing the intervening, patter­like B sections to sound even more like interpolations.

Example 22. Associations of climaxes in "Cheek to Cheek"

(a) climax of major-mode section(b) climax of minor-mode section


..c: ~VI~l v7

, ,v~ : ~ I

of~ of V


...... --- .......

bVI~ _ _ _ __ ..J V~9 I VIIo7/VI VI

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Finally, there are some songs that have much more pervasive mode mixture.In these, major and minor may repeatedly give way to one another, each modehighly represented in pitch content, but with the changes between them not beingsectionally discrete; there may also be numerous blue notes. Appendix 6-4 liststhree such songs, along with a very brief description of the type of mixture in each.Rather than summarize further any of their interesting modal and chromatic fea­tures, I will suggest instead that readers study each of these songs in its entirety.

Of the four categories of larger-scale chromatic application discussed in thisessay, parallel-mode changes raise the most questions about the alleged role ofBerlin's transposition lever. If his performance keys of choice were F# major andthe relative D# minor, then presumably to move from major to the parallel minorwould necessitate moving from F# major to D# minor, then cranking the lever sothat the latter key would sound a minor third higher. Of course, even in doing so,Berlin frequently would have had to play two additional "white keys" while fin­gering D# minor: C and D, the enharmonic equivalents of #6 and #7. But let usassume such a procedure (bizarre though it is) worked fairly well when playingthose songs with discrete sectional mode changes. What of those songs in the firstsubcategory-those having mixture within shorter segments? Surely Berlin did notrevert to cumbersome (and perhaps confusing) lever-shifting just to introduce afew altered notes. Instead, more "white keys" were probably fingered, such as G(enharmonic Fx) as #3 of D# minor, and E and D when traversing 1-~7-~6-5 in F#major. More pointedly, what of those songs in the last subcategory, in which theinterpenetration of major and minor scale degrees is pervasive? It is certainlyabsurd to imagine that Berlin turned the lever every few notes for the duration of asong, as if shifting gears continuously on a car while ambling up and down a hillyroad. One might as well imagine-for it would be only slightly more preposter­ous-that he played just the single note F#, and twisted the lever to produce allother notes.

IV. Transposed Segments/Phrases

When discussing species of "direct chromaticism," we found that brief, exactly­transposed melodic cells were sometimes joined sequentially to form highly-chro­matic phrases (as illustrated by the bridge of "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails,"Example 4b). Chromaticism may also result when these same types of cells, ormotives, are distributed non-consecutively throughout a melody; although, again,such units would likely fit within a particular melodic context in a manner thatcould be described by one of the forms of direct chromaticism already cited. Incontrast to such smaller-scale motivic and sequential applications is a broadermethod of incorporating chromaticism: through exactly-transposed melodic seg­ments in a statement/altered-restatement schema. In these instances, a melodicsegment of more than one measure in length begins (or fully encompasses) twosuccessive phrase units, the second an exactly-transposed version of the first. Thesecond segment is usually stated at a pitch level higher than the first (with the

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increase in pitch height suggesting an increase in melodic tension), and typicallythere is a voice-leading disjunction between the segments (that is, the segments areusually not connected by step, as sequences often are, but instead are somewhatstratified). The second segment-an altered repetition of the first, which appears ata higher and disjunct pitch level-thus provides a prominent vehicle for the intro­duction of chromaticism. Appendix 7 lists several songs that utilize this type oftranspositional gambit; these may be subdivided based on melodic structure aswell as transpositional level.

The transpositionally-related segments may be perceived as either closed oropen. A closed segment is one that (whatever its length) could function as a com­plete musical statement in its own right. In order to avoid overly-specific melodicand harmonic criteria for which there might be many contextual exceptions, sufficeit to say that such a unit will conclude in a tonally satisfactory manner. Becausesome means of articulating closure are stronger than others, we may choose tospeak of weakly or strongly closed segments. In contrast, an open segment is onethat is not tonally autonomous: some continuation is required. Berlin seems tohave had a preference for closed units: when he employs the types of phrase trans­positions under discussion, the original forms are often four-bar phrases that endon I. Sometimes transpositionally-related segments, of either open or closed types,are given in immediate succession and lead to a related (but not necessarily again­transposed) third segment; the result is a modular use of phrase transposition.Modular phrases usually ascend in the form of larger-scale melodic or bass arpeg­giations directed toward ends of larger phrases (or sections). Rather than provid­ing and commenting upon examples of these categories now, I will do so below,when transpositional levels are also considered.

The list of Appendix 7 is not comprehensive, but it does suggest, through itslabelling of transpositional levels, an attribute common to the repertory as a whole:an ascending perfect-fourth transposition between phrases, which usually reflectsa shift from I to IV. Because the diatonic collections of I and IV differ by just onenote (b7, Le., 4 of IV), it sometimes happens that the transposed melodic segmentdoes not contain this key-defining note, although it may occur in the piano accom­paniment. If the transposed unit altogether avoids the new 4, in both melody andharmony, it is possible that a strong sense of transposition may be undermined.That is, if all notes of the transposed unit are contained within the diatonic collec­tion of the original key, a listener might perceive only a general move to the IVchord, not the tonicization of a new key area. However, even if the new 4is absent,it does not necessarily mean that there will be no chromaticism, as the originalmelodic segment may itself contain chromatic elements (passing tones, etc.).

Excerpts from the verse of "How Many Times?" (1926; Example 23) willillustrate the preceding points. Mm. 1-4 provide a closed phrase, slightly on the"weak" side of the continuum, because the penultimate leading tone progressesdown to the sixth of a 1+6 chord instead of resolving up to 1. The phrase is almostexactly repeated, as mm. 5-8 (the last two notes are altered); it is then restated aperfect-fourth higher, as mID. 9-12. Only the ending note of the transposed phraseis altered: instead of G (as it should have been) it is F (the local 5)-although thephrase still has a weaker close than if Bb (the local 1) had been used. (Observe that

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the melodic note of the final quarter-beat of ffi. 10 [i.e., F] is given an octave lowerthan per strict pitch transposition-presumably due to vocal-range considera­tions-but nonetheless the pitch class is as it should be.) E~ (local 4) is not presentin the melody of the section on IV, because the corresponding note (B~) was notpresent in the original passage; but E~ does appear frequently as an inner pianovoice, and the phrase-ending cadence makes it clear that IV has been tonicized.Moreover, even within the melody, the chromatic ascent at the beginning of thepassage clarifies that "true" transposition has taken place, as opposed to simply apitch relocation within the original key. The transference of pitch, to a level afourth higher, also demonstrates other features mentioned above. First and moregenerally, the wholesale shifting of not just melody but all piano pitches stratifiesthe two phrases, and the pitch disjunction causes the second phrase to be per­ceived not so much as a continuation of the first (as might be the case if there werea stepwise, sequential connection), but as an analogous yet transformed restate­ment. Second and more specifically, the higher pitches suggest an increase inmelodic tension; in fact, the D5s of mm. 10-11 are the highest pitches in the verse.This affect is appropriate given that the transposed segment occurs only four barsprior to the end of the verse, and verses tend to end with some type of melodicand/or harmonic tension, so as to anticipate the ensuing refrains.41 In both fash­ions, the chromaticism introduced by the second phrase is cast in great relief.

Example 23. "How Many Times?," verse, mm. 1-4 and 9-12

Whereas I-IV shifts are conventional to the repertory as a whole, the songslisted in Appendix 7 include other phrase-transposition schemes more idiomatic toBerlin: those from I to the major mediants, lIn and ~III. These highly favored shiftsare more chromatically striking, as the key areas of I and ~III differ by as many asthree pitch classes, and I and lin by as many as four.

The verse of "Steppin' Out With My Baby" (1947; Example 24a) instantiatesthe I~III pattern. The first four-bar phrase (with its 2+2 repetition) is stronglyclosed, ending with lover I; the second phrase exactly transposes the first, and

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tonicizes bIll. The subsequent four-bar phrase tonicizes V; it is not related to theprevious by transposition, but has frequent similarities of contour and rhythm,and likewise it embodies a 2+2 repetition (albeit with a single change between thesecond and fourth bars). As shown in the voice-leading graphs of Examples 24band 24c, the passage projects a large-scale bass arpeggiation of the tonic triad, withthe third inflected to its blue-note form. bIll thus has a prominent role in the pro­gression from I to V: it divides the ascending-fifth bass progression into two thirds(in Schenkerian parlance, it is a "third divider"),42 and so it offers a colorful fillingor elaboration of the more-basic tonal space. Because transpositionally-relatedphrases were connected to create this larger, goal-oriented line, the verse providesan example of modular construction.

Example 24a. "Steppin' Out with My Baby," verse melody

~ ~ I~ j

F: 1 V7 1+6 1 V7 1+6(I)

~~ j~Al,: 1 V7 1+6 1 V7 1+6(bIll)

~ ~ jf---o


c: I V7 I 7 6 1 V7 17 - 6


~~ j

I V7 1 7 - 6F: II V7 1+6(I) Dm:V9


(Dm:) 1

In five of the six songs listed with phrase-transpositions from I to bIll, a toni­cization of V follows, resulting in a large-scale arpeggiation of the type described.43Also, in these five songs, the transpositional scheme is always in the verse. Forthose songs that remain in the same key for verse and refrain, this means that theverse attains its ending half-cadence through the 1-4III-V arpeggiation, followingwhich the refrain begins with the resolution to I. The listed song that seems tobehave differently is "Heat Wave" (1933), in which the tonal shift under discussionis in the intra-refrain "patter" section, which employs the diatonic collections of IV

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and ~VI.44 However, other circumstances suggest that even this song enjoys astrong association with the phrase-transpositions of the other five. First, the pattersection precedes a return to the beginning of the refrain, and so it actually has aformal role analogous to that of a verse. Second, though the diatonic collections ofIV and bVI are used, the melodic headnotes of the two transposed phrases are firstI, then ~3; the latter is followed by an arrival on 5 over V immediately before thereturn to the refrain. In short, the patter embodies a large-scale melodic (asopposed to bass) arpeggiation of the "minor" tonic45 prior to the refrain-some­thing that gains extra significance, given that the actual verse was in the parallelminor mode and also melodically emphasized I and b3 prior to the major-moderefrain. So we see that all songs listed under the I-i,III scheme exhibit striking simi­larities, and demonstrate great consistency in Berlin's compositional choices.

Example 24b. "Steppin' Out with My Baby," verse, foreground graph

F: I

~3r-- -----";;'r--------------l


Example 24c. "Steppin' Out with My Baby," verse, middleground graph


As for the other major-mediant relation, the 1-111# transposition, three listedsongs fit the model; their harmonic contexts are similar to the preceding ones, Le.,they serve as parts of large-scale I-III#-V arpeggiations. In the sixteen-bar verse of"I Can't Remember" (1933), the first eight-bar phrase (which consists of a 4+4melodic repetition) is mostly on I, returning to I in the bass every other bar; thenext four measures are a restatement of the initial unit on the level of 111# and sohave 3s in the bass;46 and the different melody of the final four-bar phrase prolongsV, starting and ending with 5 in the bass. The verse of "Better Luck Next Time"

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(1947) begins as if it will adhere to the same model: the initial four measures on Iare transposed to 111# for the next four measures (albeit with m. 7 offering anembellished form of m. 3). However, the subsequent and final four measures onlytouch on V7 twice; instead, the new, sequential melody ends with V7/11, whichanticipates the 117-V7-1 progression that will initiate the refrain. Still, the arrival onV7 in the second bar of the refrain does sound like the true goal of the final versephrase (the expressive delay of I is appropriate for the discouragement evinced bythe lyric), and so one could easily argue that a similar I-III#--V-I model was opera­tional here, only with a more elaborate ending.

Finally, the well-known ballad"Always" (1925) changes the formal place­ment we usually have seen, and employs the I-lIn transposition in its refrain. Asshown in Example 25a, its first eight-bar phrase consists of a diatonic melody in a4+4 division, harmonized by a simple I-V7-I progression. The next phrase creative­ly elaborates the original: the phrase rhythm is accelerated with a 2+2+2+1+1 divi­sion, in which the first three units build toward a climax on D4, the song's apexpitch (excepting a subsequent, single occurrence of its chromatic upper neighbor,Eb4, which is used to embellish another D4). The transpositional relation of the firstand second two-bar units is part of a phrase-long I-III#--V succession, much like theones encountered previously. Note that the original unit, mm. 9-10, is harmonizedentirely by I, and yet it is still relatively open in terms of contour and melodic clo­sure: it consists of only a melodic ascent, without the metaphorical relaxation adescent would provide; and it ends on 3 rather than 1. This openness is actuallyincreased by the transposed version, which maintains the relatively unstable chordfifth in the bass for both measures.47 The openness of both two-bar units creates theforward momentum that leads thereafter to the climax pitch.

Example 25a. "Always," refrain, mm. 1-16

F: I V7

(I) III#~ V7/II1 III #3 V7

Example 25b. "Always," voice-leading graph of first phrase




"- I I I <3~ I\I ..........

I{ h .--- -.. . ~,'f"'It. V .,,- - .. .,,- :-I -~ .~/ ··1:""al-way" .;,./'. h .

r I rF: I v

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Thus far I have focused on the harmonic implications of major-medianttranspositions as third dividers in larger progressions to V. However, often thesetranspositional levels also reflect salient features of the melody. For example, thefirst phrase of the"Always" refrain may be interpreted as shown in Example 25b:as an embellished descent from 3to I. 3is the goal of the first phrase unit, and sub­sequently ends the first setting of the title word; 3also is present for the first sylla­ble of the title word at the end of the entire phrase, where it skips to I. Given theprior melodic emphasis of 3, the shift to the key area lIn seems quite appropriate."Better Luck Next Time" likewise casts 3 in a prominent role melodically: begin­ning with its appearance at the end of the verse, it serves as the refrain's primarymelodic tone (in the Schenkerian sense). Indeed, there are only two four-barphrase units in the entire refrain that do not begin with a metrically-accented 3.True, one could argue against the special significance of 3 in these two songs, onthe grounds that 3 is often emphasized in tonal music, and is certainly a frequentKapftan in Schenkerian interpretations. Nonetheless, 3 does playa particularlystrong melodic role in these songs and, in such a context, a 1-111# transpositiongains significance and suggests a coordination of melodic and harmonic parame­ters on Berlin's part.

Berlin's phrase transpositions may seem to be prime candidates for theemployment of his transposing lever: all he had to do was playa phrase, crank thelever, and then play the same passage again, fingering the same piano keys, whilea new set of pitches was produced. Indeed, he could have done exactly that formost or all of the songs listed in Appendix 7. However, the preceding commentaryhas suggested that, if the lever was used, it only helped him articulate what hisinner ear already demanded. Berlin's phrase transpositions usually were eitherthose common to the repertory (I-IV) or products of his own idiolect (I-blll or1-111#), and they either played a consistent role in larger-scale harmonic/melodicmotion or complemented the given melodic context. In short, these transpositionswere thoughtfully integrated transformations resulting from a keen sense of com­positional design, however intuitive that sense might have been.

v. Tonicized Segments/Phrases

As we have seen, Berlin sometimes uses exactly-transposed modules. However, farmore common is his shifting between tonal centers without melody transposi­tion-that is, his use of "new" melodic material within tonicized segments orphrases. AppendiX 8 lists several songs that exhibit the trait, grouped according tothe level of tonicization. Because fleeting tonicizations (i.e., occurrences of singleapplied dominants within otherwise diatonic fields) are common, I have listedonly songs in which tonicization extends to a phrase unit of two or more measures.Also, given that my primary interest is melodic chromaticism, I have not listedpassages in which notes specific to the new key area are in the harmony alone. Forexample, in the sixteen-bar verse of "Let Me Sing and I'm Happy" (1928/29), themelody is entirely within the C-major collection, and begins and ends by clearlydefining that key; yet the harmonies of mm. 9-14 repeatedly tonicize the relative Aminor. Still, one could easily construct a reasonable, alternative harmonization for

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these measures, which would include an authentic cadence in C. Because themelody itself did not so strongly suggest a new key area, this song and others likeit are excluded from the present discussion. On the other hand, tonicizations inmajor-key songs of the relative minor sometimes include at least minimal melodicchromaticism (e.g., the new leading tone, if nothing else), and thus I have listed acouple of songs that employ melodic #5 in service of a phrase on the level of VI.However, Appendix 8 excludes tonicizations of the relative major in minor-keysongs, as these require no altered notes in melody or harmony. A well-knownexample is the refrain of "Blue Skies" (1927), in AABA form, which progressesfrom E minor to G major toward the end of each A section, and remains in G for itsbridge; no melodic chromaticism is necessitated.48

The most striking aspect of Berlin's phrase tonicizations is the preponder­ance of mediant tonicizations: III and (to a lesser extent) III# serve as new key areasin the vast majority of cases listed. (~III, more prominent when exact phrase trans­positions were considered, is not significantly represented here.) While it is truethat the list is not comprehensive and thus specific percentages of various toniciza­tions are not suggested for Berlin's entire output, nonetheless the sampling doesreveal his exceptional preference for tonicizing 3. With this trait in mind, it is a bitperplexing to note that Alec Wilder, after "searching assiduously for stylistic char­acteristics in Berlin," revealed that he could not find any, and so asked rhetorically,"Is Berlin's writing experience one of such enormous intensity that the song beingwritten is totally isolated in his mind, to the exclusion of every other song he haswritten, resulting in a unique form and style for each one?"49 Later in the sameessay, Wilder revealed that he had uncovered one possible contender for a Berlinsongwriting mannerism: the use of repeated melodic eighth notes"as a contrast tolong notes."50 But while Wilder noted this rather small-scale trait, in support ofwhich he cited just three songs,51 apparently the very frequent and chromaticallystriking use of mediant-tonicizing phrases went unnoticed. Yet the latter is a muchmore significant mannerism of Berlin's songwriting, and it shows that (Wilder'srhetorical remark aside) Berlin most certainly did not compose each song in a vac­uum, not only sealed off from his prior work but severed also from his internalmusical predilections. Mediant tonicizations are a prime characteristic of his style.

In terms of the net change in pitch content, (minor) III is of course closelyrelated to a main (major) tonic: the former has just one extra sharp in its naturalcollection, although two more chromatic notes may result, in either melody or har­mony, due to the common raising of 6 and 7. Actually, in almost all listed cases oftonicized III, the melody introduces just one or two chromatic notes beyond thoseof the main key, and these tend to be the new leading tone and supertonic-Le, #2and #4 of the main key. In the majority of these cases, #4 alone is heard melodically,#2 having been relegated to the harmony. Thus, the change in key area is intimatedby minimal melodic alterations. Still, in most cases when #4 is the only chromaticnote, the phrase melody is designed such that #4 clearly functions as a new super­tonic. A strong arrival on 3 suggests its local significance, even though the newleading tone is absent from the melody.

Occasionally, however, chromatic pitches raise issues of tonal ambiguity,and imply certain strategies of goal postponement. The equivocation arises due to

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a fact mentioned earlier: #4 can function as either 2of III or 7 of V; the appearanceof this chromatic pitch in the melody could lead to either tonicization. Sometimesthe use of #4 seems to suggest a tonicization of V more strongly than that of 111­especially when the note comes near the end of a section whose melody and for­mal placement intimate a half cadence-and yet, the harmonization of the passagemay instead tonicize III, with V following afterward. In these cases, the initial toni­cization of III may be thought of as forestalling the arrival of V, which is impliedtonally but not immediately realized; it is kept in abeyance while III provides thepassage with a minor-key coloring, giving way to the more structurally-portentousV only at a larger phrase (or section) ending. An example is found in "I KeepRunning Away From You" (1957; Example 26), in which a four-bar tonicization ofIII comes eight bars before a significant half cadence-Le., one that precedes areturn to the song's opening material. Here, a tonicization of V could easily beginwith the introduction of #4 (Bq), but instead III is tonicized and V is suppresseduntil the very end of the larger phrase: a root-position V7 chord arrives only as thesection-ending harmony. By reserving the dominant chord until this moment, itsarrival is made even stronger. Among other instances in which III substitutes forand delays the arrival of V are the lesser-known verses of two well-known songs:"White Christmas" and "God Bless America" (1938/39). The former was describedpreviously. In the latter, #4 and 6serve as melodic neighbors to a subsequent, dura­tionally-extended 5; but 5becomes the third of a tonicized III chord, not the root oftonicized V. As in the other examples, a root-position V7 chord arrives only at theend of the larger phrase, upon a section-defining half cadence.

Example 26. "I Keep Running Away from You": I-III-V-I arpeggiation

(end ofprevo phrase) (new 8-meas. phrase)


~~~~(~~(L-t------"'-'"--I?i· ---------l ~ SF: I

(return to opening material/title lyrics)

of V

Above, tonal ambiguities were considered, whereby a III ...V progressionwas introduced although a tonicization of Valone was strongly suggested. Buteven in those many cases in which the melody clearly mandates an immediatetonicization of III, a progression to V will usually follow, either at the very end ofthe phrase/section, or with V given its own, somewhat larger, tonicized segment.Either way, a larger-scale tonic arpeggiation (I-III-V) is in operation, similar to theones discussed earlier. Indeed, as indicated in AppendiX 8, these are frequently inthe verses, as they were before. The verse of "Tell Me Little Gypsy" (1920; Example27a) illustrates. Its first half is divided into two four-bar units, each tonic-oriented

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and related melodically as per the scheme AA'. Its second half begins with a four­bar phrase on the level of III (employing both #2 and #4-the new leading tone andsupertonic); but then the next four bars emphasize 2as V is tonicized, anticipatingthe return to I at the beginning of the refrain.52 "Tell Me Little Gypsy" also illus­trates another trait of many of these phrase tonicizations: although sometimes theyconsist of entirely "new" melodic material, at other times (as here) the secondphrase is closely modelled on the first, in its rhythms and contours if not also in itsintersecting pitch content.

Example 27a. "Tell Me Little Gypsy," verse melody, mm. 1-16


~-~ 'k ~f-----.-8 - - - - 7

v~ - - 7 V 7


The foregoing observation brings us back to the issue of the transposinglever. With exact transposition, it is not difficult to imagine Berlin playing the samepiano keys while new (transposed) sounds emerge. But here Berlin would havehad to play different piano keys, because the III-phrase offers a variation on the 1­phrase. To facilitate comparison, Example 27b aligns the two phrases and trans­poses both to the same tonic. Even if one allows that Berlin could have created thesecond phrase by playing a variation of the first after turning his lever, there is stillthe difference in mode to contend with: the former is in major and the latter inminor (a change minimally represented in the melody as juxtaposed in Example27b, but of course reinforced harmonically as well). Clearly, extra chromaticismwould have been required even if the transposing lever were used, thus discount­ing the notion that Berlin's chromaticism stemmed from the device. But moreimportantly, as the tonicization in question is of a specific kind that occurred fre­quently in Berlin's songs, it seems that even if Berlin did use his lever, it was onlyso that the sounds emerging from his piano would match those he already imag­ined.

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Example 27b. "Tell Me Little Gypsy," mm. 1-4 and 9-12transposed to same tonic (G)


The tonicizations of 111# are similar in function and placement to those of(minor) III: in these songs, 111(#) serves as a third divider in the progression to V.The major-mediant tonicizations, of course, stand in contrast to the minor ones dueto their employment of the note which gives the tonicized chord its different quali­ty: #5 of the main key, which serves as local 3. A tonicized phrase could avoid thescale degree melodically, imparting its major quality by the harmony alone; but infact, all songs listed under the 111# heading include #5 in the melody as well.Because the key areas of I and lIn share only three pitch classes, tonicizations of lIncan be more chromatic than those of III; and, of the listed 111# tonicizations, almostall introduce either two or three chromatic melodic notes. "That International Rag"(1913) is most thorough in its transformation: its III-phrase includes not only allfour raised notes vis-a.-vis the main key, but also the local #4 (Le., #6 of the mainkey).

Example 28. "This Year's Kisses," verse, mm. 9-16


Again, these types of chromaticism often defy explanation in terms of atransposing lever. This is obviously true of the C-major verse of "This Year'sKisses" (1937), in which the mode changes twice in a short span: as shown inExample 28, its second and final eight-bar phrase begins with a tonicization of III(with q5, or Gq), but a measure later the melody is inflected to lIn (with #5, or G#). Thefinal four bars then begin like the first, with a return to III (q5), which now serves toinitiate a cycle of fifth-related chords on the level of, and progressing to, the domi­nant (Le., III-VI-117-V7-1 of V). Consider also the sixteen-bar verse of "What'll IDo?" (1924; Example 29): there the formal scheme is AA'; the second half begins asdid the first, but then continues with chromatic inflection-Le., what was C is nowC#, G now G#, and F now F#. The changes define a move from C major to E major,yet not only is there no exact transposition, the notes within the E-major segmentare never analogous in terms of scale degrees to those within the C-major segment.

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For example, the first phrase has a penultimate E which is harmonized as the thirdof a C-major triad, but the second phrase has a penultimate E which is harmonizedas the root of an E-major triad. Because the second phrase begins as did the first,but is transformed afterward by selective semitone alterations, one would be hardpressed to offer an interpretation consistent with a transposing lever. The mostreasonable explanation, here as in the preceding example, is that Berlin's penchantfor mediant tonicization manifested itself, and the "new" notes were determinedfirst and foremost in his mind, and only then translated in some fashion to hispiano keyboard.

Example 29. "What'll I Do?," verse

We have found that Berlin apparently had a deeply-ingrained preference formediant tonicizations. But before closing this section, it should be noted that thesetonicizations often emerge from contexts so conducive to their application, thatone senses they would have arisen even were they not manneristic. For example,in the verse of "I Never Had a Chance" (1934), the first eight-bar phrase uses #2twice as a neighbor-tone embellishment of the third of the tonic triad. The secondand final eight-bar phrase begins as did the first, but the second appearance of #2now precipitates a tonicization of III and a developmental transformation of themelody. Here, the III-phrase seems not so much a stylistic cliche as the creativeoutgrowth of established material. The refrain of "They Say It's Wonderful" (1946)anticipates a tonicization of III in more entailed ways. In m. 3, when the tonicchord first appears, 5 is the melodic tone (and the highest pitch thus far in bothverse and refrain). Two bars later a stepwise connection is forged with 4, harmo­nized by 117-V7; but 3 does not appear with the subsequent resolution to I, insteadthe melody continues in a different register with the lower-octave 5. When theeight-bar phrase is subsequently repeated, the ending is altered so that the previ­ously-absent 3now arrives as the final pitch and is sustained for six quarter-beats.This is followed by the bridge, in which the prior goal-tone, 3, is tonicized in itsminor-mode form. The significance of 3 prior to the bridge was not imparted bythe melody alone, however: the first tonic chord of each prior phrase was in firstinversion (i.e., with 3 in the bass); and the same inversion was used in the thirdmeasure of the bridge, which, through simple 6-5 (contrapuntal) motion above thebass, was transformed into III, to initiate its four-bar tonicization. Thus, the 111­phrase was forecast by both larger-scale melodic goals and a prominent harmonicinversion.

Just as there can be strong contextual reasons for a particular mediant toni-

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cization, likewise, many of Berlin's less frequent tonicizations have clear relationsto other attributes of their songs. For example, the tonicization of bVI in the bridgeof "Let's Face the Music and Dance" (1935/36) relates to touches of the parallel­minor mode in other sections of the song; and in "How About a Cheer for theNavy" (1942) the tonicization of IV within the first half anticipates a modulation toIV for the second half (about which more will be said in the next section). Asalways, there is evidence that a finely tuned musical mind was directing any chro­maticism that occurs.

VI. Songs with Sectional Key Changes

Although phrases often establish new key areas (through tonicization), or areexactly transposed from their original forms, some songs include lengthier andeven permanent key changes: those that differentiate and help define formal sec­tions. Appendix 9 lists several such songs and their internal tonal relations. Ofcourse, other tonal relations could be found if the complete inventory of Berlin'smodulatory songs were examined; but the sampling will provide some of the mostcommon relations while allowing a greater discussion of each. The songs may besubdivided into those that return to the initial key after an internal deviation, andthose that begin and end in different keys. I will first consider songs in the lattercategory, the interpretations of which may seem more problematic from a monoto­nal viewpoint-Le., from the position that local key areas are actually expansionsof, and are ultimately reconciled with, a single underlying tonality.

Least difficult to interpret are those songs that alternate between relativekeys. "(I'll See You In) Cuba" (1920) and "Steppin' Out With My Baby" (1947) pro­vide two examples, the first with a minor verse and major refrain, and the secondwith the opposite.53 Given that the basic pitch collection does not change betweenrelative key areas (only the tonic does), it is implausible to imagine that Berlinrequired a transposing lever to compose or perform songs of this type.Presumably, at the piano, he simply would have switched between F# major and D#minor as his ear dictated, adding common altered notes, such as #6 and #7 in minor,as easily as he added other forms of directly-applied chromaticism. Berlin wrotesongs with sectional shifts between relative keys almost from the beginning;"Dorando" (1909),54 only the second song for which he wrote music as well aslyrics, featured a D-minor verse which yielded to an F-major refrain. Indeed, inthis instance, it is irrefutable that the change was directed by Berlin's inner ear, andnot a mechanical lever (and not just because he did not own a transposing piano atthe time). As has been commonly reported in his biographies, he was compelled toimprovise the melody and sing it to a publisher's pianist/arranger on the spot,because he had just lied to the publisher about having a melody to go with thelyrics he was trying to sell.

Incidentally, although Berlin's relative-key changes are easily interpretedfrom a purely musical perspective, they are sometimes difficult to reconcile withthe affects of his lyrics, and so demonstrate that certain elements may occasionallybe more important than pitches and intervals in the association of words and

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music. For example, in the F-major verse of "Steppin' Out With My Baby," the pro­tagonist boasts of "seem[ing] to scintillate" and "feel[ing] sublime," and certainlyis emotionally positive enough to warrant a major key. The refrain should likewisebe joyous, as he sings of how he "can't go wrong" and "never felt quite so sunny."Yet most of the refrain (including the music for these lyrics) is in the relative 0minor-only the bridge and the ending two measures change to the parallel major.Why the seeming contradiction of modal and textual affects? Probably becauseBerlin conceived a memorable and rhythmic melody appropriate for the titlephrase "steppin' out," and it happened to be in minor. Here, the primary form oftext painting is rhythmic-the matching of a danceable melody with the titlephrase, all for a movie song intended for Fred Astaire-and that association seemsto have trumped any contradictory modal ones.55

Songs that begin and end in different keys, other than relative major andminor ones, are often more difficult to interpret tonally. In considering some ofthese below, my aim will be to demonstrate what information may come to bearon a listener's interpretive decisions, and to ponder to what degree the ever-pre­sent piano lever can be reasonal:!ly evoked in these contexts. I will introduce thetopic with a more thorough examination of "Alexander's Ragtime Band" (1911;hereafter"ARB"), which begins with a verse in C major and ends with a refrain inF major.

Given the incredible popularity of "ARB" in its time, and its endurancethroughout the twentieth century, it is no wonder that it has been discussed bymany who have written about Berlin's career and music. However, its key changehas been represented in many questionable ways, a multiplicity of which arefound in comments by Ian Whitcomb. He refers to its modulation as being to the"subdominant key," and claims that the move was "leftover from the [piano]march" version that predated the song proper. He asserts that "[n]o popular songhad done this before," although "[m]any were to copy," and asks: "Had Irving'skey-change lever inspired such a shift?"56 Other writers have been in agreementwith one or more of these points. Alec Wilder affirms that, of the popular songsknown to him, "ARB" is "the earliest ... in which the verse and chorus are in differ­ent keys."57 Philip Furia stops short of granting the key change chronological pri­ority, but he does describe it as "rare."58 Perhaps Lawrence Bergreen means thesame thing when, with characteristic flourish, he calls it a "daring ... violation offormula songwriting."59 Bergreen too holds that the song appeared first as aninstrumental march, although he does not directly relate the modulation to anystylistic traits of the latter. As for Whitcomb's rhetorical question about the lever,Furia suggests his answer somewhat directly, when he describes the modulation as"[e]xploiting the possibilities of [Berlin's] transposing piano." For the most part,these various claims are suspect, if not wrong.

First, Charles Hamm has argued convincingly that the song version actuallycame first, and only later was adapted into a piano march. Supporting evidenceincludes not only the facts of the copyright dates (the instrumental version wascopyrighted six months after the song), but also the structure of the piano version,which is peculiar when compared to most marches and rags, and suggests anadaptation of an earlier song.60

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Second, as for the chronological priority of the song's modulatory scheme,one need look no further than songs of which Berlin himself was co-writer to findearlier examples. "Wild Cherries (Coony, Spoony Rag)" (1909),61 with Berlin'swords and Ted Snyder'S music, features the same exact modulation: from a C­major verse to an F-major refrain; and two songs from 1910 with Berlin's lyricshave the same key relations (though only the second features the same exact keys):"Grizzly Bear" (music by George Botsford) and "Oh, That Beautiful Rag" (musicby Ted Snyder).62 Of those published songs for which Berlin himself composed themusic, "ARB" was indeed the first to feature the key relation; but we find that itwas the fourth to do so of those he at least co-wrote.63 Moreover, the same year as"ARB," Berlin wrote both lyrics and music to two more published songs that fea­tured an ascending-fourth sectional modulation ("Ragtime Violin!"64 and"Everybody'S Doing It Now"); and five more songs of this kind, by him alone,were published the following year. An obvious fact emerges: "ARB" was neitherthe first popular song to feature this type of modulation, nor was the key changeparticularly rare.65

Third, what associations should guide our interpretation of the key change?Is it to the subdominant key? Charles Hamm has pointed out that "[i]nstrumentalragtime pieces ... usually move to the subdominant for the trio," and so he con­cludes, "[b]y fitting ["ARB"] with a chorus in the subdominant, Berlin was makinga musical connection with ragtime."66 Indeed, rags do commonly modulate to akey a perfect fourth higher, and often end in the second key, just as "ARB" does­although there are many rags in which the original key returns at the end, suggest­ing the tonal succession I-IV-I, as in the well-known Scott Joplin compositions,"Maple Leaf Rag" (1899) and "The Entertainer" (1902). If we accept the I-IV modu­lation as a token of ragtime composition, and allow that"ARB" would have beenthought of by contemporary audiences as a product of ragtime (a premise forwhich Hamm has offered convincing arguments),67 then there is certainly supportfor a I-IV interpretation. However, "ARB" undoubtedly belongs also to anotherrepertory: that of the Tin Pan Alley popular song; and an interpretation consistentwith that repertory's norms dictates that the relation between verse and refrain beheard as V-I. In Tin Pan Alley songs that remain in the same key (which are cer­tainly the majority), verses usually end with a cadence on V, in preparation for therefrain (which will begin on, or be directed toward, I). All that happens in "ARB"is that the entire verse prolongs V, which becomes V7 at the very end, to facilitate astronger resolution into the refrain. Given the song's structure in conjunction withthe norms of the Tin Pan Alley repertory, if one must choose either an interpreta­tion in which the song ends in the subdominant, or one in which the verse servesas a dominant introduction to a tonic-ending song, the latter interpretation is morereasonable stylistically (not to mention tonally).

Fourth and finally, what of the possibility that Berlin's transposing piano"inspired" the modulation? Of course, it cannot be verified whether or not Berlinused the transposing abilities of his piano at some stage during the composition ofthe song; but that is an entirely different issue than whether or not the key changewas motivated by the presence of the piano's much-vaunted lever. Given the ubiq­uity of cadences on V at the ends of verses, and the fact that three prior songs with

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lyrics by Berlin featured an expansion of V so that it was the basis of the entireverse, it seems most reasonable to say that Berlin was "inspired" by conventions ofthe popular-song repertory, which he had assimilated during several years first asa singing waiter and song plugger, and then as a songwriter. So, once again, ifBerlin turned his lever, it apparently was turned only as far as was dictated by onewith an implicit understanding of stylistic and tonal norms.

With 1/ARB," our interpretation is largely guided by formal/harmonic con­ventions which transcend the individual song. The same guidelines apply to theascending-fourth modulation of "When You Walked Out Someone Else WalkedRight In" (1923), which has a verse-refrain structure identical to that of 1/ARB";thus, V-I seems the most appropriate tonal scheme for the reasons previouslydescribed. However, sometimes a song so strongly asserts its own, particular con­text, that more general tonal templates may be overridden. One such case is pre­sented by "How About a Cheer for the Navy" (1942). Although it, like the previoustwo, has an ascending-fourth modulation, its tonal interpretation must proceeddifferently, because its differs in both formal design and certain other harmonicassociations. "How About a Cheer..." is in two principal sections, but these are notverse and refrain. The first is a full 32-bar unit in AABA form, with the title incor­porated into its lyric; in short, it is a refrain. But the second section is also a com­plete 32-bar unit (in AA' form), is just as interesting musically as the first, andalthough it offers a continuation of the prior lyrics (the first section asks "howabout a cheer," and the second section delivers one with a repeated "hip, hip,hooray"), nonetheless the lyrics of the second section could stand alone. Both sec­tions are autonomous units, and-unlike in the model described earlier-here theinitial section does not end with a dominant-seventh chord; the C-major sectionends with C+6, a common concluding chord in the repertory. If one privileges theending key of a modulating song, then V-I will still be preferred, but not for theadditional stylistic reason described above: namely, that verses tend to end with Vin anticipation of the refrain. But there is another consideration: the bridge of thefirst section tonicizes IV extensively; it moves to V only at the end of the phrase, inorder to introduce the final A section. Given the prior tonicization, the key changefor the second section initially sounds like another tonicization of IV. Hearing thesong for the first time, one might expect a later return to the initial key, as happensin "I'm On My Way Home" (1926), also listed in Appendix 9. Of course, the initialkey does not return in "How About a Cheer...," and so, from a monotonal perspec­tive, we are forced to decide between V-I, supported only by the strength of atonic ending, and I-IV, supported by the song's harmonic context but providingno closure on the tonic.

"Happy Holiday" (1941/42) presents similar interpretive problems. Its twosections are exactly alike (each a sixteen-bar, AA' unit), except that the second isrepeated a perfect-fourth lower. This time, there is no contextual reason to privi­lege the subdominant (unusually, the song completely avoids IV, except as embed­ded within II7-V7 progressions), and so a IV-I sectional interpretation could onlybe made on the basis of desiring a tonic ending. On the other hand, there are com­pelling reasons for advocating the alternative I-V interpretation: in the first sec­tion, 5 initiates most melodic units and is often returned to; and I and V are not

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only the primary harmonies but, even when the tonic chord is sustained, thearpeggiated bass (in quarter notes) often contains a single I but three 5s per mea­sure. The emphasis of both 5 and V in the first section anticipates the subsequentmodulation.

In the preceding, I have suggested contextual reasons for embracing tonalschemes that do not end with the tonic: I-IV for "How About a Cheer..." and I-Vfor "Happy Holiday." Obviously one could argue that Berlin, given his lack ofmusic-theoretical indoctrination, would not at all have considered the modulationsto be the expression of a single, underlying tonality. In short, to Berlin, "HowAbout a Cheer..." probably expressed neither I-IV nor V-I, but simply C-F, if not[mostly black keys] to [mostly black keys after x turns of the lever]! However,something clearly motivated Berlin's choices of "new keys" for the two songs.True, in both cases the modulation was by perfect fourth-a ubiquitous interval oftransposition surely very familiar to Berlin, in sound if not in theory, from years ofcontact with music. But it was a fourth higher in one case, and a fourth lower inanother. Why the difference? One may answer in any of a number of ways,68 but inthe absence of hard evidence, it seems to me that the most musically supportableanswer would be based on the evident musical traits of the initial section of eachsong: one contains a significant tonicization of IV (or F major, or "the sound of thatset of pitches") and so moves there again for its second section; and the othergreatly emphasizes 5 (or Bb, or "that piano key") and the triad built upon it, and soretains that note and chord for a larger-scale emphasis in its second section. Thepoint, here as always, is that Berlin's changes of key were highly associated withprior features of his songs. His modulations, however one may choose to interpretthem-and however he fingered them on his piano-were contextually relevantcompositional choices.

Moving now to those songs of Appendix 9 which return to their initial keyareas, we see that the I-IV-I model (in one guise or another) is operational forthree: "I'm On My Way Home" (1926), UHeat Wave" (1933), and"Any BondsToday?" (1941). (In all cases, a brief V7 actually precedes the return to I.) AlthoughIV is a common key area in the repertory, again such modulations are often antici­pated by specific musical features. For example, a subtle association is found in"I'm On My Way Home." Following the verse is a 32-bar AA'BA' refrain; thencomes a sixteen-bar "patter" (P) on the level of IV; it leads to a repetition of the lasthalf of the refrain (BA'), in the original key. The composite form is thusAA'BA'PBA'. The only significant use of IV in the refrain proper comes at the startof the bridge (the B section). Unlike the bridge of "How About a Cheer...," whichremained on the level of IV for most of its length, here the tonicization is fleeting:V7flV leads to IV at its start, but the ensuing melodic sequence then prompts otherharmonies. This brief emphasis on IV might be dismissed if not for the fact thatthis very bridge follows the IV-oriented patter, initiating the half-refrain repetition(...PBA'). Berlin perhaps recognized the tonal relation between the patter and thebeginning of the bridge, and used it as his harmonic pivot back into the originalkey. This, of courses, again raises questions as to how a transposing lever mighthave been used (if at all): presumably he would have turned the lever from UI" to"IV" between refrain and patter, and then turned it back to "I" only to begin with

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the IV chord! It becomes complicated to understand such operations, unless oneconcedes that Berlin's ear guided everything, and occasionally-when the leverwould have confused more than helped matters-he surely must have played indifferent keys.

The two remaining songs-"The Piccolino" (1935) and "Miss Liberty"(1949)-each feature a section on bIll, at the end of which they each introduce V inpreparation for the return to I. Accordingly, they offer expanded versions of the1-l,III-V-I progressions discussed earlier. These large-scale connections are morepronounced in the case of "Miss Liberty," in which the V that occurs between bIlland I is no single chord, but rather an eight-bar section that tonicizes the domi­nant. But often the use of the bIll key area seems related to more than just Berlin'sapparent partiality for large-scale "minor-tonic" arpeggiations. Consider "ThePiccolino," which has an unusual form: an AABA refrain of 52 measures, followedby a contrasting section of 28 measures (which begins in bIll, but returns to I beforeits conclusion), and then a sixteen-bar recapitulation and extension of the openingA material. Whence the bIll? From a melodic standpoint, the fact that the refrainprominently features 5 is conducive to the change, as that scale degree is includedin both I and bIll. From the harmonic standpoint, the fact that the refrain has aninternal tonicization of qllI# may have been a motivator: in the context of a priorqlII#, bIll is heard as a further chromatic lowering (Le., a developmental use of har­mony), which makes the "blue-note" attributes of bIll more pronounced by com­parison. Then too, a nice harmonic symmetry is formed, based on tonicizations byascending major thirds: the refrain establishes the sound through its modulationfrom I to qlII#, and the contrasting section replicates it with a move from bIll to V, inpreparation for the return to I. Though we cannot know Berlin's exact motivation,his modulatory choice was clearly supported by several internal relations.

VII. Summary

In this study, I have familiarized readers with some of Berlin's idiomatic uses ofexpressive chromaticism, and have considered ways of interpreting those usages.We have seen that both local and broader-scale forms of chromaticism tend to beassociated with prior features of the same song; they represent contextually rele­vant compositional choices, however Berlin may have fingered them on his piano.

Only by setting aside elements of his biographies that have more to do withstyle than substance-those flamboyant turns of phrases and ornate descriptionsthat transcend fact-ean we come to a more reasonable understanding of the out­put of the person Cole Porter declared to be "the greatest song-writer of all time."69Only by studying Berlin's musical legacy-the roughly one thousand songs he leftbehind-ean we come to a better understanding of the musicianship his friend andbiographer Alexander Woollcott was all too ready to dismiss. And only throughthis understanding can we come to appreciate the insight of Milton Babbitt, who,in a 1983 lecture, coupled Berlin with Igor Stravinsky in a brief-but tantalizing­aside:

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I'm constantly bowled over (in much the same way that I am by Irving Berlin) bythe way in which [Stravinsky] did things which he obviously could not havearrived at by any kind of technique ... with regard to precompositional things,70


If "technique" of a "precompositional" nature is meant to refer to those ini­tial procedures by which a composer explicitly calculates formal aspects, and themotivic and tonal materials to be used, then indeed it is likely that Berlin neverthought "precompositionally." And yet, the sound worlds he fashioned are oftentightly integrated and demonstrate a handling of materials that could hardly bemore deft. Babbitt, unlike Woollcott, was keenly aware that the proof of artistry isin the musical products, not the composer's pedigree. For Berlin, part of thatartistry lies in the expressive use of chromaticism, and those who take it to be theresult of a "trick piano" must not to be listening to the music at all.


1. See advertisements on back covers of Berlin's sheet music from the 1920s, e.g.,"Russian Lullaby" (1927).

2. The line comes from refrain 5 of the full version of "You're the Top," and may not beon all versions of the sheet music. It is, however, familiar to many through its inclu­sion in certain recordings and in the musical Anything Goes.

3. Berlin could neither notate nor read music when he first began composing songs (hismusic was transcribed by others); and it has been taken as fact by virtually all biogra­phers that he never learned to do so in later years. His daughter, Mary Ellin Barrett,suggests otherwise when she states that his Nachlass includes a manuscript of the 32­bar melody of "Soft Lights and Sweet Music," bearing an inscription in Berlin'shandwriting which reads: "1st lead sheet ever taken down by Irving Berlin, Aug. 16,1932" (Barrett, Irving Berlin: A Daughter's Memoir [New York: Simon and Schuster,1994]: 112-13). However, before concluding that Berlin did learn to notate music bythis date, we should consider two facts: First, this particular song was written in 1931(as indicated by the copyright date) and was used in Face the Music, which premiered17 February 1932-months before the date on the lead sheet. Second, the 32-bar por­tion of the song corresponds to the refrain; the 20-bar verse apparently was not notat­ed by Berlin. Together, these circumstances of late dating and incompleteness sug­gest that when Berlin "took down" the refrain, in August 1932, it may have been as atraining exercise in notation; it certainly was not the product of his independentlynotating a newly composed song, without help from one of his "musical secretaries."Thus, for all we know, he may have been copying notes from the already-publishedsheet music-painting a picture, as it were, rather than actually using symbols withwhich he was conversant. Of course, I hasten to add that Berlin may well havelearned to notate music at some point in his life; my argument is simply that the"Soft Lights and Sweet Music" specimen offers no proof of the fact.

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4. Most biographies relate anecdotes of how collaborators or assistants would hearBerlin playing for the first time, only to be amazed at his less-than-expert technique.

5. Laurence Bergreen, As Thousands Cheer: The Life of Irving Berlin (New York: PenguinBooks, 1990),56-57.

6. Edward Jablonski, Irving Berlin: American Troubadour (New York: Henry Holt andCompany, 1999),319. The song was from 1965.

7. Incidentally, I should also direct the reader's attention to the many characterizationsof Berlin as "pounding" or "thumping" the black keys. These remarks not-so-subtlyreinforce the notion that Berlin was a cloddish amateur with little musical sensitivity.

8. George M. Cohan reportedly owned three, and every publishing house on the Alleyallegedly had one (Bergreen, As Thousands Cheer, p. 57). Berlin bought his originalone for $100, from the Weser Company in the U.S. At one time or another he ownedseveral, one of which (a 1940 Weser Bros. model) is now housed at the Smithsonianin Washington, DC. The Smithsonian featured this piano, along with others of dis­tinction, in "Piano 300: Celebrating Three Centuries of People and Pianos," an exhibi­tion held March 2000-March 2001. However, again demonstrating the ineptness ofmost descriptions of how this instrument was used, consider the statement placedunder a photograph of the piano, on the exhibition's Web page: "This upright pianowas customized for Irving Berlin with a special transposing lever beneath the key­board, allowing the pianist to play in any key using only white or black keys [?!]"(from <>.asit appeared in November 2000).

9. Michael Freedland, Irving Berlin (New York: Stein and Day, 1974),47.

10. Alexander Woollcott, The Story of Irving Berlin (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1925),219.

11. All songs copyrighted before 1923 (i.e., twenty of the songs cited in the main text) arein public domain. For the remainder, to keep in accordance with the "fair use" guide­lines of the U.S. copyright law (17 USC 107), I extract only as much of the sheet musicas is necessary for the argument, often giving just a short section of the melody, andnot the full piano part; lyrics are never included in excerpts.

12. The Songs of Irving Berlin (Irving Berlin Music Co.; distributed Milwaukee, WI: HalLeonard Corp., 1991). Hereafter, this source will be abbreviated to SIB.

13. See the section "Regarding Urtexts" in my article "Dynamic Introductions: TheAffective Role of Melodic Ascent and Other Linear Devices in Selected Song Versesof Irving Berlin," Integral 13 (1999): 1-62. [2-5].

14. In order to document different types and degrees of pentatonicism in Appendix 3, Ihave violated my previously stated rule and included two songs not in SIB:

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"Sayonara" and"Abraham." I am not aware of an anthology that contains the origi­nal versions of either song, and thus individual sheet music may need to be consult­ed. However, there are at least two (non-original) versions of "Sayonara" in print: inThe Irving Berlin Collection: E-Z Play Today (Irving Berlin Music Co.; distributedMilwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Corp., 1991), and The Irving Berlin Fake Book (IrvingBerlin Music Co.; distributed Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Corp., 1992).

15. Throughout this essay, I shall use a flat or a sharp before a capped scale-degree num­ber to indicate the raising or lowering of that scale degree from its usual, major-key,diatonic state, no matter the specific accidental required by the key. Thus, for exam­ple, #4 will mean a raised 4. even in the key of Eb, where it would be spelled A~. Scaledegrees of minor keys are denoted vis-a.-vis their parallel major form (a necessity,given mode mixture and other chromatic cross-pollenizations), and thus the minor­key tonic triad would be given as i -b3-5. Only if a minor-key context is clear, and if itis important explicitly to distinguish different forms of certain scale degrees, will Irefer (e.g.) to a raised 6 as #6. When representing chords by Roman numerals, theywill be followed by a "0" if diminished, a "!d" if a half-diminished seventh chord, a"+" if augmented, and a "+6" if the triad has an "added sixth."

16. The typical schema of songs to be considered consists of a "verse," or an introductorysection that is often declamatory or not as distinctive melodically; and a "refrain,"which is typically more memorable melodically, and generally presents the titlephrase in its lyrics. Many refrains are in some semblance of an AABA form, in whichthe melodically contrasting section (the B section) is called the "bridge."

17. In musical examples and in verbal references, measures are numbered beginningwith the entry of the vocal part.

18. Not in SIB; see n. 14.

19. For general comments on the repertory's use of harmonic pentatonicism, see pp. 8-13of Allen Forte, "Harmonic Relations: American Popular Harmonies (1925-1950) andTheir European Kin," Contemporary Music Review 19/1 (2000): 5-36.

20. By "distinctly pentatonic," I mean that they consist of a combination of emblematicintervals: whole-tone steps and (often minor-) third skips.

21. Compete neighbors are also common; e.g., in the opening of the refrain of "All ByMyself" (1921), 3-#2-3 and 5-#4-5 appear in succession.

22. In contrast, the previously-mentioned neighboring figure, 5-b6-5, by itself does notsuggest as strong a kinship with the blues.

23. Similar associations exist for "Supper Time." There, the dotted-eighth/sixteenthrhythms are obviously the same. The lyrics may not seem overtly related to anAfrican-American experience, but in the Broadway show which introduced the song

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(As Thousands Cheer), it was sung by an African-American woman mourning the lossof her husband to a lynch mob. Whereas the actual lyrics do not strongly suggest thisscenario (they might just as well refer to a man who has abandoned his family),nonetheless they are written in a type of exaggerated dialect that likely would havesuggested an African-American protagonist to contemporary audiences (e.g.,"How'll I keep from tellin' that that man 0' mine ain't comin' home no more").

24. In Irving Berlin Anthology (Milwaukee, WI: Irving Berlin Music Co., distributed byHal Leonard Co., 1994).

25. In some cases, a ~3-I melodic figure-perhaps filled with a passing tone or otherwiseembellished-presages a section in the parallel minor (something true of the "Songof Freedom" example), and so again the question arises: Is ~3 a blue note, or simplythe beginning of a passage in minor? In "Song of Freedom," the former seems moreaccurate, given the prior prominence of q3 in both melody and harmony; but suchdeterminations are difficult to generalize.

26. Allan Moore argues that ~7 is as normative in rock music as the leading tone (q7), anddiscusses melodic patterns, cadences, and modulations within rock's modal systemin "The So-Called 'Flattened Seventh' in Rock," Popular Music 14/2 (1995): 185-201.

27. It is found more in some songwriters than others-Harold Arlen employed it morethan Berlin, for example-but in general it is not emblematic of the repertory. Alongsimilar lines, the ~VII-I harmonic succession is also uncommon in Tin Pan Alley. Arare example from Berlin's catalog is in mm. 1-3 of the verse of "I Got the Sun in theMorning" (1946), where ~VII+6 serves as a neighboring chord, bounded on each sideby 1+6.

28. Of course, ~7-5 is to V as ~3- I is to I.

29. In the Annie Get Your Gun piano/vocal score (New York: Irving Berlin Music Corp.,1967). Although the song's lyrics are not overtly racist, they do evoke many cliches ofNative American life and nomenclature, and it was probably for this reason-Le., tobring the production into greater accord with current ethnic sensitivities-that thesong was one of the ones excised from the recent (1999) Broadway revival of AnnieGet Your Gun.

30. The ending of the song, which turns to the relative major, transforms the repeatedascending figure into one much more common in the repertory: 6- I.

31. This trait was only amplified in post-1950s rock music, in which many songs areequally-if not more-tonic/subdominant- than tonic/dominant-based. Considerthe repertory's frequent descending-fourth root progressions, or what might bethought of as chains of applied subdominants. E.g., Jimi Hendrix's recording of "HeyJoe" (1966; song by Billy Roberts) is based on the repeated chord succession~VI~III~VII-IV-I,and (keeping with a "Hey J-" motif) the lengthy fade-out chorus of

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The Beatles' "Hey Jude" (1968; song by John Lennon and Paul McCartney) consists ofthe repeated succession I-l,VII-IV-I.

32. The arpeggiation is harmonized by two chords, V7/11l-11l7, but the melodic outline issolely of the III chord.

33. In Charles Hamm (ed.), Irving Berlin: Early Songs, 1907-1914, 3 vols. (Madison, WI:A-R Editions, 1994), vol. 1. Hereafter, this source will be cited as "ES" plus volumenumber.

34. When repeating V-Ilr-V-Ib, one might begin to hear V (not Ib) as the goal, and inter­pret Ilr-V as IVlr-I of V. But the actual V includes its (minor) seventh both times whenleading to Ib, and only afterward drops it to become a V triad and thus a potentialtonic.

35. Of course, as discussed earlier, the issue of authorship is problematic when harmo­nizations are considered. Still, it would be absurd to suggest that Berlin could not tellthe difference between major and minor tonic triads, within a major-key context;thus, we can only assume that he approved and desired the change to minor.

36. "Business is Business" is in ES I; "That Monkey Tune" is in ES II.

37. The minorI major sectional divisions are not always discrete. For example, "ThatMonkey Tune" has a 24-measure, mostly-minor verse, but major is introduced eightbars before its end. Conversely, the major-key refrain of "Business is Business" rein­troduces the parallel minor for two measures, four measures before its end.

38. Just as the verse looks ahead, the refrain takes a backward glance at the verse when thelast half of the bridge tonicizes bIll. However, the tonicization is in the service of alarger-scale melodic descent, and the greatly-different context obfuscates the connec­tion.

39. The "patter" melody is, incidentally, strikingly similar to a section from the verse ofBerlin's "Mandy" (1919), mm. 9-12.

40. One might be inclined to interpret Bb9 as functioning as an augmented sixth chord.However, due to Berlin's uses of chromatic neighboring harmonies (as previouslydescribed), I am more inclined to the interpretation given. (I could point out that theenharmonic augmented sixth, Blr-Ab, in fact resolves to A-G as if parallel sevenths,rather than in contrary motion to A-A. But this would probably not dissuade onewho is determined to hear an augmented sixth, as sometimes, even in eighteenth­and nineteenth-century tonality, the augmented sixth above the bass becomes thesubsequent chord seventh.)

41. This is an underlying claim of my article, "Dynamic Introductions."

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42. See Heinrich Schenker, Free Composition, trans. and ed. Ernst Oster (New York:Longman, 1979),29-31 (§§ 53-65).

43. Inversions may be used such that a I -b3-.5 arpeggiation is not literally present in thebass (as in "Puttin' On the Ritz," in which I is always in first inversion), but the har­monic root motion will still suggest this pattern.

44. To use the term "tonicize" here would be technically imprecise. A pentatonic melodyis accompanied by ascending and descending thirds in the bass, and by another step­wise-moving voice, all of which is confined to either the C- or Eb-major diatonic col­lections (Le., IV or bVI of G). In short, it is a tonally non-functional, "pandiatonic"accompaniment that departs from and returns to C- or Eb-major triads.

45. I use the term "minor" tonic because that is literally what the arpeggiation forms. Butthere is no real projection of the minor mode: b3 is a blue note harmonized by bIll in alocally major context.

46. Incidentally, SIB has an obvious error in m. 10, during the phrase on III: octave Osare given on the downbeat rather than the correct Bs.

47. One might well debate the status of the A~ chord. To some, it will certainly soundlike a "cadential ~"-type figure; that is, the functional harmony of mm. 11-14 is V ofE, embellished with a double appoggiatura: ~-t However, due to hearing the earlierI-V7-1 alternation in F, one might likewise be conditioned to hear I-V7-1 of A, in mm.11-15. Thus the chord of mm. 11-12 might be heard as a "consonant ~"-that is, atrue, functional A triad, in second inversion. The latter interpretation is reinforced bytwo additional factors: First, F~ occurred in mm. 2, 4, and 8, due to bass arpeggiation,and thus one has already become accustomed to hearing "consonant ~"s. Second,except for its initial bass note, m. 12 is an exact transposition of m. 10, a major-thirdhigher; thus, if m. 10 had F as root, then m. 12 would have A as root.

48. The melody is devoid of any chromaticism except within the G-major bridge, wherethe local b6 is employed. The harmonization is enriched with chromaticism (mostnotably in its semitonal bass line), but nonetheless the change from E minor to Gmajor did not require pitches outside of their shared diatonic set.

49. Alec Wilder, American Popular Song: The Great Innovators: 1900-1950, ed. James T.Maher (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1972), 105.

50. Wilder, American Popular Song, 113.

51. These were "Now It Can Be Told" (the song under discussion at the time), "Say ItIsn't So," and "You're Laughing At Me."

52. The second half is extended by four more bars, which continue the tonicization of Vand end with .5 over V.

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53. From a purely melodic perspective, the verse of "Steppin' Out With My Baby" oftensuggests C major as much-if not more than-A minor (the opening As would easilyfit a C+6 chord, as they do five bars into the C-major refrain). However, the ascentE-F~~A, which introduces the second half of the verse, clearly mandates the A­minor harmonization. As for an interpretation consistent with a monotonal view, aSchenkerian would hear each of the two songs cited in the main text as embodying adeeper-level auxiliary cadence (Le., a progression without an initial tonic, but an end­ing V-I): from verse to start of refrain, the first song would progress VI-V-I, and thelatter III-V-Ib.

54. In ES I.

55. The song was written for the Astaire film Easter Parade (1948).

56. Ian Whitcomb, Irving Berlin and Ragtime America (New York: Limelight Editions,1988),75.

57. Wilder, American Popular Song, 94.

58. Philip Furia, Irving Berlin: A Life In Song (New York: Schirmer Books, 1998),41.

59. Bergreen, As Thousands Cheer, 60.

60. See Hamm, Irving Berlin: Songs from the Melting Pot (New York: Oxford Univ. Press,1997), chapter 3 (especially 112-17). Furia-while acknowledging Hamm's conclu­sion as a product of "formidable" scholarship-eontinues to assert the view that apiano version was written first. He counters that he has found "several interviewswhere Berlin himself states that [the song] was first an instrumental" (Irving Berlin: ALife In Song, 288). These quotations are assimilated into his text, and give rhetoricalweight to his claims about the sequence of composition; but he never directlyaddresses the inconsistencies between Hamm's research and Berlin's own remarks.

61. In ES I.

62. Both in ES I.

63. In this regard, it is important to note that Berlin was primarily a lyricist at the time,and relatively new to composing: of his fifty-nine previously published songs, he hadwritten the music for just fourteen. (This claim is based on the song numberingfound in ES.)

64. In ES II.

65. I do not mean to suggest that such a modulatory scheme is frequent in the repertory,only that one can find it easily enough, and in a variety of songs. Other examples, bywell-known songwriters, include: Harold Arlen's "Fancy Meeting You Here" (1936),George Gershwin's "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" (1936/37), Jerome Kern's "I've

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Told Ev'ry Little Star" (1932), Cole Porter's "Satin and Silk" (1954), and RichardRodgers' "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" (1935). Although modulating songsdefinitely form a minority class, their key changes are often interpretively richevents. For example, I have discussed elsewhere the use and significance of variousverse-refrain modulatory schemes in the songs of Jimmy Van Heusen (see DavidCarson Berry, "The Popular Songwriter as Composer: Mannerisms and Design in theMusic of Jimmy Van Heusen," Indiana Theory Review [forthcoming]).

66. Hamm, Irving Berlin: Songs from the Melting Pot, 104.

67. This despite a view, from later in the century, that excluded popular songs from anaccepted canon of piano-rag compositions. See, e.g., Hamm, Irving Berlin: Songs fromthe Melting Pot, 105-06.

68. For example, one might fall back on the affective differences between such modula­tions. A modulation a fourth lower (or fifth higher) takes one to a sharper and thus"brighter" position on the circle of fifths, which perhaps matches the affect of the"merry bells [that] keep ringing" in the lyrics of "Happy Holiday." A modulation afourth higher (or fifth lower) takes one to a flatter position on the circle of fifths, andperhaps suggests a "darker"-or, to adopt the sex-typing of the day, more "mascu­line"-change appropriate for a lyric about the power of the Navy. Such determina­tions are, of course, highly subjective.

69. Freedland, Irving Berlin, 156.

70. Milton Babbitt, Words about Music, ed. by Stephen Dembski and Joseph N. Straus(Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1987), 107-8.

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Selected references to Berlin's use of the "black keys." (See next page for key to sources.)

• "[H]e played mainly on the black keys" (Forte, 86).• "[Berlin] could only play in the key of F#. Among songwriters, this was known asplaying on the 'nigger keys,'* since F#, with its five sharps (F#, G#, A#, C#, and 0#), consists ofalmost all black keys" (Furia 2, 34).• "[H]e only played in the key of F-sharp, the black note key that fell easily underhis fingers" (Barrett, 103).• "Like most men who play only by ear Berlin is a slave of one key. Since he alwaysplays helplessly in F sharp..." (Woollcott,34-35).• "All Irving could play in was Flo All he used was a finger in each hand"(Whitcomb, 68).• "It is well-known that the man who wrote more hit songs than anyone else in allthree song categories-pop songs, show tunes, and movie songs-cannot read a note ofmusic, cannot write music, can hardly play the piano, and plays in only one key-F sharp"Gasen,71).• "[Arthur] Freed's office had a standard piano, without a shifting keyboard, so theuntutored songwriter could not (so thought Swifty [i.e., Irving P. Lazar]) play for them. (Infact, he could have done fine using just the black keys.)" Gablonski,307).• "By pounding the black notes on the old upright piano..." (Freedland 2, 28).• "Berlin thumped on the black notes and produced a recognisable rendering of hisnew [song],' (Freedland 2, 99).• "He created something like 3,000 songs** and influenced practically every song­writer for three generations by pounding the black notes in the key of F sharp..." (Freedland1, 11).• "He would virtually have to sit at his piano, thumping the black keys obstinatelywaiting for the thought [that would produce the needed song]" (Freedland 2, 81).• "He had been picking out tunes on the cafe piano after closing (he never wouldlearn to play on anything but the black keys, though soon he got a piano with a special leverthat allowed him to transpose into other keys)" (Furia 1, 49).• "Like many self-taught musicians, he hit only the black keys, which were easier forhis untrained hands to control" (Bergreen, 56)• "His was a unique approach in that he avoided the white keys and played only onthe black, in the key of F sharp..." (Jablonski, 26).• "Since he never touched the white notes, they had their own vital purposes toserve-as an ashtray for the cigarettes he now chain-smoked whenever he thumped awayon the black notes" (Freedland 2, 196).

*This racist term was, unfortunately, part of the period's vernacular.** Surely an exaggeration; Berlin copyrighted a little less than 1000 songs.

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Author Legend for Works Cited in Appendices 1-2:

Barrett =Mary Ellin Barrett, Irving Berlin: A Daughter's Memoir (New York: Simon andSchuster, 1994).

Bergreen =Laurence Bergreen, As Thousands Cheer: The Life of Irving Berlin (New York:Penguin Books, 1990).

Forte =Allen Forte, The American Popular Ballad of the Golden Era: 1924-1950 (Princeton:Princeton Univ. Press, 1995).

Freedland 1 = Michael Freedland, Irving Berlin (New York: Stein and Day, 1974).Freedland 2 = Michael Freedland, A Salute to Irving Berlin (London: W.H. Allen, 1986).Furia 1 = Philip Furia, The Poets ofTin Pan Alley (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1990).Furia 2 = Philip Furia, Irving Berlin: A Life In Song (New York: Schirmer Books, 1998).Jablonski =Edward Jablonski, Irving Berlin: American Troubadour (New York: Henry Holt

and Company, 1999).Jasen =David A. Jasen, Tin Pan Alley (New York: Donald I. Fine, 1988).Whitcomb = Ian Whitcomb, Irving Berlin and Ragtime America (New York: Limelight

Editions, 1988).Woollcott = Alexander Woollcott, The Story of Irving Berlin (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons,


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Selected references to Berlin's use of a transposing piano.

1. General descriptions.


• "[Later he would use] a special transposing piano, which mechanically shifted thehammers so that the songs would be heard in keys more conventional than the multiple flator sharp keys in which Berlin (quite unknowingly, of course) was playing them" (Forte, 86).• "... [U]nder the keyboard was a lever which shifted the entire works so that theplayer could instantly be transposed into any other key while still fingering his favourite.All Irving could play in was F#. All he used was a finger in each hand" (Whitcomb, 68).• "Whenever he wished, he could let himself in [the Snyder Company offices] with akey, climb the stairs, and sit at his special piano, a Weser Brothers model that he hadacquired, secondhand, for a hundred dollars. It was a peculiar instrument. On the right­hand side, at the treble end of the keyboard, was a small wheel, not unlike a miniature ver­sion of that used to steer an automobile. By turning it, Berlin could shift the keyboard and,still using only the F-sharp black keys, play the melody in other keys. This type of pianowas widely used by unschooled pianists, called 'fakers,' in Tin Pan Alley, vaudeville, andcabaret. Perhaps cued by the wheel, Berlin referred to this contraption as his Buick. A laterBuick was equipped with a less obtrusive shift, a crank under the keyboard" (regardingBerlin, ca. 1910; Jablonski, 42).• "Berlin and other composers could transcend the limitations of F# by using a trans­posing piano. This instrument had a lever that shifted the keys so that the pianist could con­tinue to hit the keys of F# but hear how a song sounded in any of the other major and minor[!] keys. ... [It] required only that a person know how to play in a single key in order toencompass the full range of the instrument" (Furia 2, 34-35).• "Since he always plays helplessly in F sharp, he has had to have a piano especiallyconstructed with a sliding keyboard, so that when he wants to adventure in another key, hecan manage it by moving a lever and rattling away on the more familiar keys" (Woollcott,34-35).• "[The home] library was where the brown transposing upright piano was, the oldone with the knob that moved the keyboard, at which, at odd hours of the day and night,my father [i.e., Berlin] worked. Though he only played in the key of F-sharp, the black notekey that fell easily under his fingers, he needed to hear songs in different keys. Patiently, heexplained the mechanism to me. One pull of the knob, and as he continued to play in F­sharp, out the notes would come in C or G or E-flat, or whatever key was right for singingthat particular song" (Barrett, 103).• "Two things about both [pianos that belong(ed) to Berlin] set them apart fromother pianos. One is a lever underneath the keyboard that can change the sound of thenotes struck, just as the movement of a gearshift in a car can change the sound of the engine.The other thing they have in common is that they are both instruments on which IrvingBerlin transformed the popular song" (Freedland 1, 11).• If he took lessons, Berlin thought that "[h]e might even be able to play one of thegrand pianos he had bought-but which were no more than mere ornaments. No one couldfind a way of fitting a gearlever to one." (Freedland 2, 69).• Berlin played a regular piano "the best he could without the aid of the leveredpiano-which by now he had learned to change as easily and as effortlessly as the newfan­gled automobiles were changing gear..." (regarding Berlin, ca. 1911; Freedland 2, 42).

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APPENDIX 2 (continued)

2. References to its omnipresence.

• "A piano must have followed him, that special piano with the transposing key­board that went wherever he went, to a hotel, on a cruise ship or ocean liner" (regarding a1929 European trip; Barrett, 77).• "With Moss Hart, he sailed for Naples in the Italian liner, Rex. With him went theold upright piano-with the gear lever carefully checked to make sure that it would shiftthe keyboard whenever it was needed" (regarding Berlin, ca. 1935; Freedland 2, 159).• "One day, deciding to demonstrate the new number for a visitor, [Berlin] called[musical assistant] Helmy Kresa into his office.... [Berlin] had taken his original, batteredBuick out of storage and kept it in repair and tuned (as he explained, 'I like to keep itaround the office; I love working on it'), but Kresa went to the other, more recent piano, alsoequipped with a special movable keyboard" (regarding Berlin, ca. mid-1960s; Jablonski,309-10).• "There was no symbol more evocative of Irving Berlin's songwriting career thanhis transposing piano-the upright, tinny-sounding, cigarette-scarred 'Buick' on which hepicked out his tunes" (Bergreen, 528).

3. References to its role in song composition.

• "His fingers had to be poised on the keys and gripping the 'gearlever', ready tocome out with what had been ordered" (regarding Berlin's ability to meet the requests of hismusic publishers; Freedland 2, 81).• "Inevitably, Berlin tried composing on a transposing piano. He could still play'nigger piano,'* he discovered, but by flipping the lever, he could sample any key hewished. The device freed him to develop the harmonies, nuances, rhythms [!], and fill noteshe needed to embellish his tunes. At the touch of a lever, he could test a chord or a phrase ina different key; he could experiment with interactions between words and melodies..."(Bergreen,57). "Working at his transposing piano, Berlin found the songs now came easi­ly..." (Bergreen, 58).• "[H]e rarely played [his grand piano] and never composed on it, for the instru­ment lacked the ability to change keys at the touch of a lever. It was to his reliable trickpiano that he turned when the urge to compose came over him, but he kept this device outof sight for the time being, as if it were a secret vice. [....] Irving Berlin did indeed love apiano, as he said in the song, but not this sleek beauty [Le., the grand]. He loved a batteredupright with a funny lever tucked beneath the keyboard, to which he remained furtivelydevoted" (Bergreen, 136).• "Berlin's piano was like a slot machine: as soon as he pulled the lever, he would asoften as not hit the jackpot" (Freedland 1,47).• "Somehow, tugging at the gear lever under his one-key piano was no longer theequivalent of throwing a switch. It didn't automatically mean that fingers laboriouslythumping the keys would be able to create a miracle which in turn became a virtual licenceto print money" (Freedland 2, 150).• "A leftover from the march (which has the same form as classic ragtime) gave theverse a novel twist to the ear: it modulated at the end into the subdominant key, thus settingthe chorus onto a fresh path. [...] Had Irving's key-change lever inspired such a shift?"(regarding"Alexander's Ragtime Band" [1911]; Whitcomb, 75).• "Exploiting the possibilities of his transposing piano, Berlin further demarcated

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the new structural priorities of his song by changing keys between the verse, which was inthe key of C, and the chorus in F-a rare shift for a Tin Pan Alley song" (regarding"Alexander's Ragtime Band" [1911]; Furia 2, 34-35).

* This racist term was, unfortunately, part of the period's vernacular.

APPENDIX 3 (continued on next page)

Selected songs which employ pentatonic sets.

NB: songs listed chronologically within each divisionref =refrain; PT =passing tone; N =neighbor tone

LocationDescription (under no. 3 only)

1. Entirely pentatonic


Mandy (1919)

Sayonara (1953/57)

ref (18 bars)

all (22 bars)



2. Extended pentatonic segments

When You Walked OutSomeone Else Walked

Right In (1923)

Blue Skies (1927)

verse: A sect's (of AABA);*ref: 1st 6 + last 12 bars

verse: A sect's (of AABA);

ref: A sect's (of AABA)

{I,2,3,5,6} (allinstances)

{I,Z,3,5,6} ofmaj.form (all instances)

The Song Is Ended (1927) ref: A sect's (of AABA) {I,Z,3,5,6}

How About a Cheer forthe Navy (1942)

Little Fish in aBig Pond (1949)

"Hip, hip, hooray" sect. (afterkey change): A sect's (of ABAC)

A sect's (of A4 A4 / B4 C4 /D4 D'4 / A4 C4 / [coda]10)



* chromaticism at end of last A sect.

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3. Embellished pentatonic

Remember (1925)

Marie (1928)

Easter Parade (1933)

So Help Me (1934)


APPENDIX 3 (continued)

ref: A sect's (of AABA) {l,2,3,5,6}PT (b5) in 1st two As; N (4) in last A

ref: A sect's (of ABAB') + part of B {l,2,3,5,6}PTs (b6, b3)

ref: A sect's (of AABA) {1,2,3,5,6}PTs (4, 7) and Ns (#2, #4, 7)

ref: A sect. + start of A' (of ABA'C) {5,6,7,2,3}PT (#2)

Isn't This a Lovely Day ref: A sect's (of ABAC)

(To Be Caught in the Rain?) (1935) PT (#2)


No Strings (I'm Fancy

Free) (1935)

Abraham (1942)

ref: A sect's (of AA'BA")

PT (#5) and Ns (#1, #2)

A sect's (of AABA);

also B sect., except for final q7PT (#4) (in A sect's)

{l,2,3,5,6} or


* depending on which notes (lor 7) are taken as "structural" vs. "ornamental"

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I'm Sorry for Myself (1939)

When Winter Comes (1939)



Selected songs with minimal melodic chromaticism.

Scale degree and type of accidental

1. Songs with only one chromatic melodic note.

~7 as part of IV-V7-1 of II (which becomes V7IV)

#4 (repeated) before half cadence (locally, part of 11-7­V of III)

Paris Wakes Up and Smiles (1949) #4 within area tonicizing V

An Old Fashioned Wedding (1966) #1 (repeated) as part of tonicization of II

2. No chromaticism in refrain; verse has minimal chromaticism (as indicated).


Mandy (1919)

God Bless America (1938/39)

This Is the Army, Mr. Jones (1942)

Let's Take an Old-FashionedWalk (1948)

3. No chromaticism throughout.

1 note (repeated): ~5 as submetric passing tone

1 note (repeated): #4 before half cadence (locally, part ofVillI)a few repeated notes: within tonicization of bIll

1 note (repeated): b'7 as part of tonicization of IV

*Happy Holiday (1941/42)The Girl That I Marry (1946)I Got Lost In His Arms (1946)Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor (1949)Little Fish in a Big Pond (1949)

* song has midpoint modulation to new key, but no chromaticism within each key area

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Selected songs with melodic 14 in preparation of phrase- or section-demarcating half cadence.

v =verse; r =refrain; no letter prefix =song without published verse; numbers denote measuresarp arpeggiation; exp =expanded* = #4 anticipates half cadence at end of verse (which usually appears in m. 16)

** =#4 anticipates half cadence at middle of AA' refrain form (which usually appears in m. 16)

t =phrase extended, otherwise #4 would immediately precede ending

Alexander's Ragtime Band (1911)

Snookey Ookums (1913)

That International Rag (1913)

I Want to Go Back to Michigan(Down on the Farm) (1914)

I Love a Piano (1915)

I'm Going Back to the Farm (1915)

When I Leave the World Behind (1915)

Stop! Look! Listen! (1916)

Oh! How I Hate to Get Upin the Morning (1918)

Nobody Knows (And Nobody Seemsto Care) (1919)

A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody (1919)

You'd Be Surprised (1919)

All By Myself (1921)

Everybody Step (1921)

They Call It Dancing (1921)

Pack Up Your Sins and Go to the Devil (1922)

How Many Times? (1926)

Puttin' on the Ritz (1928/29)

Easter Parade (1933)

So Help Me (1934)

I Used to Be Color Blind (1938)

It's a Lovely Day Tomorrow (1939)

White Christmas (1940/42)

This Is the Army, Mr. Jones (1942)

Anything You Can Do (1946)

Gee, I Wish I Was Back in the Army (1954)

H Location

v7, r14**

vl3-14*, rl3-14**


vl5*t , r13-14


v25-30*, rl3-14




vI5*, rI3-14**










v13 & 15*





v6*, r21



v: 3-#4-5; r: 1-2-3-#4-5

v, r: 5-#4-6-5


v: expo 3-#4-5; r: 3-#4-5


v: exp. 5-#4-6-5; r: 5-#4-6-5



3-#4-5 (or expo 5-#4-5)

v: 3-#4-5; r: expo 5-#4-5 or 3-#4-5

downward arp. from #4,

resolves to W/V7 in inner voice

downward arp. from 114,

resolves to 5 in bass

expo 5-#4-6-5

expo 5-#4-6-5



exp. 5-6-14-5


1-2-3-14-5 (5 =song apex)

5-#4, then arp. up and

5 resolves in inner voice

3-#4-5 (or expo 5-6-14-5)


expo 1-2-3-14-5

downward, filled-in arp. from #4,

resolves to 5 in inner voice

v: 5-6-14-5 (6-114 filled-in V/V arp.)

r: #4 within filled-in V/V arp.which continues upward5-#4-6-5

1. Gives the local context, in accordance with the paradigms of Example 17. If a slightly larger segment of music is consid­ered, "exp." (expanded) precedes the paradigm designation.

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Selected Songs with Parallel Major/Minor Modes (i.e., Mixture).v = verse; r = refrain



1. Small-scale mixture (within phrases)

(a) Changes in tonic-triad quality

If You Don't Want Me (Why Do You

Hang Around) (1913)

(I'll See You In) Cuba (1920)

Tell Me Little Gypsy (1920)

(b) Minor-mode descent (i-j,1~-3) in major

v9-12 maj v7-n-V7-I~; ~3 only,

preps 2/V

r7-8 maj I~-V-I~-V; ~3 only,

preps 2/V

v6-8 min embellished 1-V7;begins #3

v7-8 maj I~-V7-I~ harm (1 inmelodyr

Say It With Music (1921)

Shaking the Blues Away (1927)





1-~7-~6-5 (IV~... I)

i -~7-~6-5(I-~VII-~VI-V7)

I'd Rather Lead a Band (1935/36)

Plenty To Be Thankful For (1942)

1-6,9-14 m~ desc.seq.=embellished 1-~7-~6-5


7-8, 19-20, 39-40 1-~7-b6-5 (I-bVI7­1+6)

Just One Way to Say "I Love You" (1949)

* Piano's V7 includes 7, but 1 held in voice.

(continued on next page)

v9 * maj* verse ends in m. 11

~3-2-1-~7-b6-5(mvmt. abovepedal b7 - V7)

Page 60: Berry Irving Berlin Gambling With Chromaticism Extra Diatonic Melodic Expression


2. Mode changes between verse and refrain

(a) Major to Minor

Russian Lullaby (1927)Puttin' On the Ritz (1928/29)Reaching For the Moon (1930)

(b) Minor to Major

Pack Up Your Sins and Go to the Devil (1922)*Soft Lights and Sweet Music (1931)*Heat Wave (1933)

*notated key signature of verse is major mode; consistent accidentals denote minor mode

3. Other sectional mode changes

Song Location

Cheek to Cheek (1935) 49-56 (bridge)

I'd Rather Lead a Band (1935/36) 33-40 (bridge)

49-64 (patter)

maj expanded I~-~VI-V;

~3, ~5 used, but 55-56

back to major (~3)

maj. ~3, ~::; in melody; minor har­monies

maj fully minor

Song of Freedom (1942) r9-16,25-32 maj(B sect's of ABAB)

fully minor

Steppin' Out With My Baby (1947) r17-24 (bridge) min fully major (song also endsmaj)

Best Thing For You, The (1950) r17-24 (bridge) maj area in ~VI (suggests larger­scale melodicdeseent I-~::;-~6-5)

4. Pervasive mixture (less sectionally discrete)

SongManhattan Madness (1932)

Let's Face the Music andDance (1935/36)

Let Yourself Go (1936)

General description1st sect. = AABB form: A begins minor tonic, has manyminor/blue elements; B has ~::;, but ultimately functions

V7flV; 16-bar interlude ends ~3-2-I; then ends with Astatement

AABA form: A sect's begin minor but end major:B sect. tonicizes ~VI, ends V

AABA form: A sect's begin minor but end major;B sect. features blue notes on level of IV(Le., ~3 and ~6 of I, but ~::; and ~3 of IV)

Page 61: Berry Irving Berlin Gambling With Chromaticism Extra Diatonic Melodic Expression



Selected songs with transposed melodic segments (of two measures or more in length).v =verse; r =refrain; p =patterch = melodic chromaticism employed (not all transposed segments will introduce "new" pitches)"no b?" = transposition from I to IV, but although chromaticism is present, there is no key-defining b?"CI/Op" column = closed or open original phrase (closing scale-degree and harmony in parentheses)(NB: every recurrence of a motive is not listed-only if units are in a statementI transposed restatement schema)

Alexander's Ragtime Band (1911) rl-2,17-18 r5-6,21-22 up P4 (I-IV)


vl-4,13-16 v5-8,17-20 up P4 (I-IV)

I Love a Piano (1915)

Someone Else May Be ThereWhile I'm Gone (1917)

vl-2, 3-4 v5-6

rl-4 r5-8

up P4 (I-IV)

up P4 (I-IV)

Clli42 ~

CI (1/1) ch;nob'

CI(5/1) ch;nob'

CI (5/1) ch;nob'

CI(3/1) ch: b' and~'

Always (1925) r9-10 rll-12* up M3 (I-III)[* phrase is completed in new key area, III]

CI(3/1) ch: #1, #4, #3

How Many Times? (1926) vl-4,5-8* v9-12 up P4 (I-IV**)t CI (6/1+6) ch; no b'[* ends differently][** new "tonic" is not included in transp. segment, but arrives thereafter][t octave shifts at end of transposed statement]

v9-10 vll-12* up m3 (I-bIII)[* last note is tonally adjusted]

pl-4, 9-12 p5-8, 13-16* up m3 (I-bIII)[* altered at very end to facilitate V-prep.]

vl-4, 5-8 v9-12

37-40,41-44 45-48

Op (5/V) ch:b~,b6

Op (2/V) ch:b~,b'

CI (5/1) ch:b'

CI (3/1) ch:b~,b'

CI (6/1+6) ch: #1, #~

up P4 (I-IV)

up M3 (I-III)

up m3 (I-bIll)v5-8vl-4

Heat Wave (1933)

Puttin' On the Ritz (1928/29)

Manhattan Madness (1932)

I Can't Remember (1933)

I'm On My Way Home (1926)

Maybe It's Because I Love YouToo Much (1933)

9-10 11-12,13-14 I-J,III-V IV [seq.][NB: actually a 2-bar sequence; mm. 15-16ends phrase on HC in same contour, but not exact seq.]

ch: single b'

Happy Holiday (1941/42) 1-16 17-32 dn P4 (I-V) CI (1/1)[NB: entire 16-bar song repeated in new key;piano accomp. differs somewhat]

[full transp.]

I'm Getting Tired So I CanSleep (1942)

vl-2 v5-6 up P4 (I-IV) CI (5/1)* ch: b'[NB: two consecutive 4-bar phrases begin with 2-bar transposed unit;3-4 almost repeats 1-2, but ends diff.][* only regarding the 2-bar transposed unit]

This Is the Army, Mr. Jones (1942) vl-4 v5-8 up m3 (I-bIII) CI (1/1)

You're Easy To Dance With (1942) 1-6, 17-22 7-12,23-28 up P4 (I-IV) CI (1/1) ch:b'

You Keep Coming Back Likea Song (1943/45)

vl-4 v9-12 up P5* CI (1/1)** ch: #4[NB: two consecutive 8-bar phrases begin with 4-bar transposed unit][* transp. suggests toniciz. of V, but #4 here toniciz. III][** only regarding the 4-bar transposed unit]

Page 62: Berry Irving Berlin Gambling With Chromaticism Extra Diatonic Melodic Expression


I Got the Sun in theMorning (1946)

Better Luck Next Time (1947)


APPENDIX 7 (continued)

vl-3 v9-11 up m3 (I-ltIII) CI (1/1)* ch: ~3, ~1

[NB: two consecutive 8-bar phrases begin with 3-bar transposed unit][* only regarding the 3-bar transposed unit]

vl-4 v5-8* up M3 (I-III) CI (3/1) ch: It 12, 14, IS[* varied 2nd half, but ends on M3-related pitch to orig unit]

Mr. Monotony (1947) 1-8,9-16 17-24 up P4 (I-IV) CI (1/1) ch: ~1

Steppin' Out With My Baby (1947) vl-4 v5-8 up m3 (I-ltIII) CI (1/1) ch: ~3, ~1

Let's Take An Old-FashionedWalk (1948)

vl-8 v9-16 up P4 (I-IV) CI (i /1) ch: \.1


Selected songs with phrase/section tonicization.v =verse; r =refrain

Tonicized chord (number of songs)

SQng 1) mm. ~ dlL mel. J2IQgL.

2) description

1. Tonicizations of single (identical) scale degrees within songs.

II (1)

Love, You Didn't Do RightBy Me (1953)

~III (2)

9 ff.* II none II-V-I'" inexact seq. (freq. shifts vis-a-vis 1-8, but same rhythms)18-21 II II, \.1 II07-V7-1 of II

27-29 II ~1 IIo7_V7_1 of II

Change Partners (1937/38) 33-38 ~III ~III-V

Any Bonds Today? (1941)

III (23)

Girl On the Magazine Cover,~e (1915)

33-36* \.III*'" \.3, \.1 *... l-ltlII-V... interlude (=key change to IV; all Roman nos. relative to IV)...*enharmonic \.III (III) in between 4 bars on I and 4 bars on V

v9-14 III 14 I-III ... V7rhythmic and some contour sim. w / prev.r13-16 III 14 I-III ... [V]-IV= altered ending (AA')

Nobody Knows (And Nobody Seemsto Care) (1919)

Tell Me Little Gypsy (1920)

v13-14 IIInew material

v9-12 III 12,14some contour & rhythmic sim.

V7-VI; III ... V*prev. phrase = deceptive

I-I\.-III ... V

Page 63: Berry Irving Berlin Gambling With Chromaticism Extra Diatonic Melodic Expression


APPENDIX 8 (continued)


Crinoline Days (1922)

Waltz of Long Ago, The (1923)

All Alone (1924)

Always (1925)

Blue Skies (1927)

Song Is Ended, The (But the Melody

Lingers On) (1927)

Let's Have Another Cup of Coffee (1932)

I Never Had a Chance (1934)

v12-14 III #1, #2, #4 I-VI-III ... [V]-[V]-Vsim. motives, rhythmsd. r23-24, which =contour sequence of prior unit on III (IV-III-IV)

v11-16 III #4 I-V/V-III-V/Ill-III

minimal suggestion of key: just arch line 3-#4-5-#4-3, filling in3rd of III (part of altered ending: AA')

v13-15 III #4 [V]-III-[VIIO]-II-Vpart of inexact seq. liquidationr13-15 III #2, #4 [V]-III-[V]-[V]-V

NB: m.13 = lin, but it is V of prior VI chord

v17-23 III #2, #4 III ... V

new material; NB: #4 near end (before V) could have been VIVNB: refrain has exact transp. to III, but it continues past

v9-10 III #2, #4 V7/1II resolves to V7 instead

v13-16 III #4 III-V-I

r17-23 III #2, #4 III ... [V]-II-V-I

r17-21/22 III #2, #4 III ... [V]-[V]-V

v12-14 III #2, #4 ... III-V

NB: the #2-3 figure prey. embellished I; now chrom + arp = III

Isn't This a Lovely Day (To Be CaughtIn the Rain?) (1935)

v13-15 III III ... V

No Strings (I'm Fancy Free) (1935)

Top Hat, White Tie and Tails (1935)

r17-20 III #4 III-V

(see other sections with 3-#2-3 in context of I)

17-25 III [see note] III ... VNB: trichord transpositions suggest III, but highly chromatic

I Used To Be Color Blind (1938) v13-15 IIInew material


God Bless America (1938/39)

When Winter Comes (1939)

v11-12 III #4 IlL.. [V]-VNB: could be interchanged with tonicization of V;nothing mandates 3as root, except holding off V till HC

r21-22 III #4 1- (Ir"7-V7 of III) -II-V-I

NB: harm. II*7-V7 of III, but no III; could have been [V]-V;

melody has 114-' leaps that seem to tonicize , (!)

White Christmas (1940/42) v13-15 III #4-NB: could have been [V]-V


Angels of Mercy (1941)

I'm Getting Tired So I Can Sleep (1942)

9-16 III #4 III-Vexact seq. of 1-8, but not exact transp.;NB: 19-20 and 35-36 = arp of III

21-23 III 114 III-VNB: seq. of 4 bars that ended I; now 3rd higher, ends III

Page 64: Berry Irving Berlin Gambling With Chromaticism Extra Diatonic Melodic Expression


APPENDIX 8 (continued)

They Say It's Wonderful (1946) r20-23 III III ... II-V-IIF (not 16)

Best Thing For You, The (1950) rl-3, 9-11, 25-27 IIIbegins V7I III-III outlineI arp

12,14 III-II-V-I

I Keep Running Away FromYou (1957)

III' (12)

33-36 III 14NB: could just as easily have tonicized V


Snookey Ookums (1913) r23-24 IIII

transp. of prior segment

14,15 V7-lIn-IV-II-V-I

That International Rag (1913) r9-15 lIn all+new #4 v-lIn ... V-I

new material (NB: corresp. mm. 25-26 = IV~)

Orange Grove in California,An (1923)

v13-15 lIn= altered ending (AA')

12,14, #5 V7-VI-IIn ... V

What'll I Do? (1924) vII-IS lIn Ii, 14, #5 lIn ... V

NB: chromatic inflection: C to CI, G to Glf etc.

Remember (1925) v17-21new section

lIn #4,15 IIII ... [V]-V7

Slumming on Park Avenue (1937) v13-15 IIII Ii, 12, 15 IIII-V

"This Year's Kisses (1937) v9-12/13 IIII or In" li,15

same contour as 1 H., but not exact transp.;* sometimes maj III, sometimes minor

lIn or III - [V]-V

Doin' What ComesNatur'lly (1946)

33-38 IIII #1,14,15 I-III#-V-I

There's No Business Like Show

Business (1946)

v17-20 IIII 15 III#-V

arp of III, followed by same arp of I leading to V

Couple of Swells, A (1947) 23-26 III' #4,15 lIn ... V

I'm Beginning To Miss You (1949) 17-19 lIn Ii, 12, 15 lIn ... [V]-V

NB: resolves as if VlVI, but sequential nature of bridge suggests

4 bars III', 4 bars II (= VIV)

Sisters (1953)

IV (1)

17-24 III' Ii, 14, 15 III#-V7

How About a Cheer for theNavy (1942)

~VI (2)

17-22 IV~'

NB: 2nd main section (33-64) =key of IV


Let's Face the Music andDance (1935/36)

31-36 ~VI ~3, ~6,~' ~VI-V

NB: relates to minor emphasis of prior sections

Page 65: Berry Irving Berlin Gambling With Chromaticism Extra Diatonic Melodic Expression


APPENDIX 8 (continued)


Count Your Blessings Instead ofSheep (1952)

VI (2)

17-22 ~VI ~VI ... V

When I Lost You (1912) 9-12 VIsimilar to prev. phrase

... III-V

When You Walked Out Someone ElseWalked Right In (1923)

r9-12 VI I-VI ... [V]-V

2. Tonicizations of multiple (different) scale degrees within songs.

Lazy (1924) r8-11 II

2-#1-2 lower neighbor

13-15 III=sequence


III ... V

Because I Love You (1926)

Russian Lullaby (1927)

Let Me Sing and I'm Happy (1928/29)

Puttin' On the Ritz (1928/29)

vl-8 =I }

v9-12 = III [seq] #4} large-scale I-j-5 arp

v13-16 =outlines V/V #4 }r18-20 = outline of III., with IV on either side (neigh. chords)

rl-8 ~ }no chr. but low. neighr9-16 = III [tonal seq.]* }(enh.)r17 ff. = begins like seq. on V {#6, #1}, varies after 2 mm.* exact except ending

v9-14 VI* none*** 3 authentic cadences on VI, but then V(7) or [V]-V

** 1st two bars suggest 5-1 of VI, but otherwise could be I harm.

r17-24 III #4 III ... II-V

leaps =5-1of III

r17-19 IV none* IV ... (~)III-V

r21-23 [seq](~)III**

* melody asc. 5th, 4-1** relates to verse key (reI major; melody asc. 5th, j-,)

Reaching For the Moon (1930) v9-10 =Ivll-12 = V7/III*v13-14 ff.*** could have been V/V** III-[V9)-[V7]-V7 (no chrom)


} seq.}

Funnies, The (1933) v13-15 III #4 III-V

NB: chromo inflection: same as mm. 5-8 but now #4r25-28 bIll b3,~'

r29-32 V #4} seq. of verse mel.


Harlem On My Mind (1933) r17-20 III

r21-24* V* begins as seq.


} V V7/V ...

Page 66: Berry Irving Berlin Gambling With Chromaticism Extra Diatonic Melodic Expression


APPENDIX 8 (continued)

Heat Wave (1933) vl-8 = I~ lv9-14 = bIll lv15-16 V lpatter: 1-4 =new key IV; phrases =IV-J,VI-IV-bVI-V

no accidentals if G-min

all+ b6 IIlI III ... VPiccolino, The (1935) 17-39 lInNB: 25-32 = pocket of IV of III53-70 bIll'"'" actually written w Inew key sig.

all+b7 (I)-bIII-V

I'm Putting All My Eggs in One

Basket (1936)

v11-12 III# 11,#2 IIl#-[V]-V

NB: no 3; really outlines Villi more than III; in fact, parallel

section 5 of I just as this =5 of III

r19-22 bVI b2, b3, b6, b7 bVI ... V

NB: bridge begins IV-bVI (= I-bIII of IV);

VIbVI bIll, but really a dominant, not tonic chord

What Chance Have IWith Love (1940)

r17-20r21-24 [seq]


#1, #4, #5 } lII#-V-I}

All of My Life (1944)

Miss Liberty (1949)

23-24 VI'" #5'" within tonicization of IV: [V]-III-V7:I (note underlined prog!)

17-24 II 11, b7 II-V7-INB: 3rd in series of seq. phrases, but is only one with alterations65-88 bIll'" [all]'" actually given new key sig.;"'''' moves to phrase toniz. V prior to repeat of section on I

Marrying For Love (1950) v9-12






Sittin' In the Sun (1953) 17-20 III

25-27 bVINB: in service of motion toward V

III ... [V]-V


This Is a Great Country (1962) v13-15 III# #4,15 lin ... II-VNB: 4-bar interpolation-the following seq. leads to Ir9-11 III #4 III ... [V7]-V

NB: melody = large-scale outline 1-3-5 of III, but 5 of III (=7 of I) harmonized by V

Page 67: Berry Irving Berlin Gambling With Chromaticism Extra Diatonic Melodic Expression



Selected songs with sectional key changes (other than mode mixture).


1. Return to Initial Key Area

I'm On My Way HQme (1926)

Key change(s)

F & ... Fver & refl patter ... ref2

TQnal relatiQn(s)


Heat Wave (1933) Gm G tC-Eb-C-Eb G I~ - I~ - IV- ~VI - Iverse refl patter ref2[NB: verse has key sig. Qf majQr, but is in minQr]

The PiccQlinQ (1935)

Any BQnds TQday? (1941)

oA sect.


ver & refl

F DB C sects.

A~ ... E~

interlude ... ref2I-IV -I

Miss Liberty (1949)

2. Begin and End Differently

& a ... &Al & B sects. C ... A2 sects.

Alexander's Ragtime Band (1911) Cverse


V -I

(I'll See YQU In) Cuba (1920) *Amverse


VI - I [relative]

When YQU Walked Out SQmeQne G C V - IElse Walked Right In (1923) verse refrain

[NB: verse has G7_C7 harmQnies: analQgQus tQ V-I Qr I-IV]

Happy HQliday (1941/42) E~

1st half&2nd half

I - V (Qr IV - I)

HQW AbQut a Cheer fQrthe Navy (1942)

C F V - I (Qr I - IV)1st sect. 2nd sect.[NB: tQnciz. Qf IV in bridge Qf 1st sect. anticipates 2nd sect.]

Steppin' Out With My Baby (1947) Fverse


~III - ~ [relative]

* with area Qf parallel majQr Qr minQr keyt nQ strQng tQnal prQgressiQns; uses indicated key cQllectiQn exclusively, while melQdy suggests "tQnic" arpeggiatiQn

Page 68: Berry Irving Berlin Gambling With Chromaticism Extra Diatonic Melodic Expression


DAVID CARSON BERRY is a doctoral candidate and recently-named Whiting Fellowat Yale University.

KARL BRAUNSCHWEIG is Assistant Professor at Wayne State University.

JOHN ROTHGEB is Associate Professor Emeritus, State University of New York atBinghamton.

CARL SCHACHTER is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Queens Collegeand CUNY Graduate School and is on the faculties of Mannes College andThe Juilliard School.

DON TRAUT is Assistant Professor of Music at University of North Carolina,Greensboro.

ERIC WEN is Lecturer in music theory, analysis, and history at the Curtis Instituteof Music, Philadelphia.