My question is about the opening bar to this song (starting at second :20 in the video):

I've transcribed it here:

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(in a more reasonable key signature):

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I have heard this song a zillion times, but for the life of me I can never sing it from memory. Is there something unique or odd about the run that makes it hard to remember? I imagine if I put my mind to it I'll be able to firmly place it in my memory, but most other songs don't take that kind of effort, it seems, and I wonder if this is just a strange tune.

  • 1
    I remember learning this for choir as an 8 year old and it was a nightmare. Not just that first bar, but a few bits where the note you feel should come next is a semitone out. Used to really frustrate me. Lots of practice was my solution.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Feb 11 '17 at 19:42

Each chord (there's more than one note for the chord each time) is either a b9 or a #9, written so the two notes next to each other clash, rather than the more usual keep them an octave or so apart. So, there's this out of tune feel, with, say C(b9) having a C and a Db next to each other. With the #9 (again example C) it'll be E and D# next to each other.


Do you hear this as starting on Cb? My ear, and the score, says Bb. Not that it makes any difference to the analysis.

The accompaniment is a 'cool' version of a Bb vamp, using the sort of cluster voicing that (along with a b5 melodic interval) is a hallmark of this score. The melody is simply a Bb6 chord. The 'my dog has fleas' that a ukulele tunes to.

That's spoilt it for you now, hasn't it! Sorry :-)

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  • You're probably right about the Bb. Interesting about the Bb vamp! Feb 12 '17 at 1:12

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