2 February 2014


I looked  at the lovely song All The Things You Are.

As so often happens with the work of those popular composers who wrote music for the shows in America during the middle of the Twentieth Century, I was left gasping with amazement at the cleverness of the structure and especially the brilliance of the harmonies.

The song was written by Jerome Kern (with words by Oscar Hammerstein) for the 1939 musical Very Warm for May. It has a 36-bar structure, freely re-interpreting the usual A – A – B – A format. For example, the second ‘A’ transposes the first down by a fourth.

But may I draw your attention to just one point that I particularly loved?

In the fifth bar from the end, there is one of those luscious chords that take the breath away.

The words at the end of the song are: Some day I’ll know that moment divine, when all the things you are are mine.

On the word divine, the melody jumps up a third between di and vine. In the key of Ab, we land on a G at vine; but this G rides over the chord of  F diminished. So we have a G played with F – Ab – B – D. In most circumstances, G against this chord would sound horribly wrong; but Kern knew exactly what he was doing, and the effect is sublime. I have highlighted the note in red.