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Emily — Johnny Mandel

January 13, 2007

Looking at this post on Johnny Mandel:

http://www.nea.gov/honors/jazz/jmCMS/master.php?id=2011_04&type=int

What got me on to this was thinking about the tune Johnny wrote called “Emily.” I love this tune. I have versions of it from pianist Bill Evans and also vocalist Barbara Streisand.

You need to read what Johnny says about “Emily.” He says it was the first tune he ever wrote. Good grief! The rest of us need to close up shop — no use trying to write music.

What’s always interested me about this tune is what I will call the ‘premature’ 2-5-1 that appears in the 6th and 7th bar. In very short order we’ve established two temporary modulations to Bb major in measure 7 and then D major in measure 9.

It’s common to establish these temporary key centers but something about this tune sounds different — I’m hypothesizing that it’s the abruptness of the change. At any rate, I love it!

The tune is in waltz time — the changes in the key of F would be:

Fma7               D-7               G-7               C7

Fma7                C-/F7          Bbma7         Eb7

Dma7               B-7               E-7               A7

…etc.

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