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In some jazz standards I see a final ending of V-I using melody tones ^3 ^1, for example...

Cherokee in B flat

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All of Me in C

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Note that the ^3 in those examples is not some kind of embellishment of ^2 like in a cadential 6/4 or an escape tone like in these examples...

Over the Rainbow in E flat

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Autumn Leaves in G minor

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In the last two the ^3 can be explained as an escape tone, but in the first two there is no such embellishment.

Also, to be clear, this isn't about ^3 ^1 after arriving at a tonic chord. The point is the ^3 coincides with the dominant chord.

I'm not asking about extended or "color" tones added to chords. I understand that a major sixth gets added to jazz dominants all the time.

I'm not asking about if it sound right, it's obviously part of the jazz style.

I'm more interested in the melodic aspect and whether there is a historic origin for this kind of ending. Perhaps this is a pattern in folk or blues melodies?

Also, I don't have or know of definitive, notated versions of Cherokee or All of Me, so I don't know if the composers originally wrote a plain dominant seventh chord in the accompaniment while the melody used ^3. That would be interesting to know compared to the dominant chord being like an Evans, rootless type, like 7236, where the melodic ^3 is actually present in the accompaniment chord as the 6 above the chord root. The later can be explained as a "chord tone", but the former is a sort of juxtaposing of dominant in the accompaniment and a tonic tone (^3) in the melody.

So, I supposed what I'm wondering is: is there a historic origin to this or was it truly a new stylistic development?

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  • The first thing that sprang to my mind was a seasonal example Dec 15, 2021 at 18:01
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    Would a good answer be as simple as showing the earliest notated example of ^3 over a dominant?
    – nuggethead
    Dec 15, 2021 at 19:14
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    @AndyBonner, All of Me 1931, Cherokee 1938, The Man with the Bag 1950... I'm interested in prior examples. Dec 15, 2021 at 20:25
  • Hm, Scott Joplin "Pineapple Rag", 1908: check out the second ending. This could easily fall into a morass of "find all instances of cadential ^3 ^1 in history," but rag is at least close enough to argue an inherited connection. I wonder whether there are other ragtime examples? vaudeville? Dec 15, 2021 at 20:34
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    That ^3 is an escape tone. I'm not looking for that, because it's really well understood. A basic analysis would label it a non chord tone. But in my example All of Me and Cherokee the point is you can explain them as non chord tones. Dec 15, 2021 at 21:10

1 Answer 1

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What a lovely question! I have never thought of that pattern, but now you mention it, I find it indeed typical of early/mid 1900's jazz melodies.

For the origins, I personally don't have much to go on, except a book of Danish traditional church music, although not by any means directly linked to any American jazz music development, but it still spans around 400 melodies from before the 15th century and up to around 1950, which I quickly siffled through, looking at melody ending patterns.

I was actually stunned to find how heavily this style relies on ^2 ^1 endings (and also often ^7 ^1), but suddenly around the Romantic era, two or three melodies pops up with either ^3 ^1 or the more obscured ^3-(^2)^1 on the V chord (hope I get your melody note terminology right).

I found two melodies from 1838 and 1858 that have sort of that ending. Maybe it could be a lead into exploring what romanticism could offer in this regard. I know little of music history of this era, but I have a hunch that some small strains of romanticism of European music (from especially France and Italy I guess) may have found their way into early 1900-1920-1930's jazz styles.

The first example does not have exactly the requested ending because the style still heavily demands the ^2 ^1 ending, but the harmonization just before and at the very end feels to me to be as close as it gets to ^3 ^1 at this point in history.

Dagen går med raske fjed - CEF Weyse 1838

The second example I could find indeed has a ^2 ^3 ^1 ending but still a little concealed rythmically (as opposed to your examples where the V and ^3 happen simultaneously on a downbeat).

Frelseren er mig en hyrde god - Chr. Barnekow 1858

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