25 March 2015


Shake It and Break It (the 1920 tune of that title by Qualli Clark and Chiha), That Da Da Strain (1922, Dowell and Medina) and Willie the Weeper (1920 Melrose, Bloom and Rymal, but probably taken from an earlier song) are examples of tunes that have a surprising amount in common, if you analyze their opening strains. There are plenty such groupings, I think, in the canon of traditional jazz tunes.

Here's Shake It and Break It.
And now consider That Da Da Strain.

Finally, here's Willie the Weeper.
All three tunes have a first theme that comprises sixteen bars in a minor key (the Verse, if you like) followed by 16 bars in the related major key (the Chorus).

Look at those first themes. All three tunes begin by tumbling down the arpeggio of the minor chord in a very similar way.

All three tunes make considerable use of the related 7th in those sixteen bars.

All three tunes use an 8 + 8 structure in those first 16 bars, with each 8 very similar to the other.

Even in the major key second strain, two of the three tunes open with the same V7 - V7 - I  -  I structure.

Footnote: I am very grateful to the correspondents who supplied me with these copies of the music.