Changes
Paul Whiteman

date:

1927


style:

early New York big band


form:

32-bar song in irregular form (A B C A'), with interludes and verses

personnel:

Paul Whiteman, director; Bill Challis, arranger; Henry Busse, Charlie Margulis, trumpets; Bix Beiderbecke, cornet; Wilbur Hall, Tommy Dorsey, trombones; Chester Hazlett, Hal McLean, Jimmy Dorsey, Nye Mayhew, Charles Strickfaden, alto saxes; Kurt Dieterle, Mischa Russell, Mario Perry, Matt Malneck, violins; Harry Perrella, piano; Mike Pingitore, banjo; Mike Trafficante, brass bass; Steve Brown, string bass; Harold McDonald, drums; Bing Crosby, Al Rinker, Harry Barris, Jack Fulton, Charles Gaylord, Austin Young, vocals

Introduction

0:00
The trumpet section plays a rising chromatic motive. It comes to rest on two different chords, the second of which (Db) turns out to be the tonic.


Song (D-flat major)

0:10
A

The entire band enters with a steady rhythmic accompaniment: the banjo and piano play four beats to the bar, while the bass plays two beats. The saxophones play the melody, while the trumpets add syncopated accents and the strings sustain background chords.

0:19
B

The melody shifts to the violins.

0:28
C

The trumpets play a jaunty Charleston rhythm, answered first by the saxophones, then by the strings.

0:38
A'
Return of the opening melody, which now comes to a cadence.

Interlude

0:45

The rhythmic accompaniment temporarily stops. Over changing orchestral textures (including a violin solo), the piece modulates to Eb.

Verse (16-bar AABA form)

0:52
A

The trumpets and strings return to the Charleston rhythm, with trombones adding offbeat accents. The phrase begins with a minor chord that eventually resolves to a major chord.

0:57
A

1:01
By way of contrast, the saxophones quietly sustain chords.

1:05
Repeat of A.

Song (E-flat major)

1:10
A
Beautiful changes in different keys,
Beautiful changes and harmonies.


The "sweet" vocal trio performs over the rhythm section (string bass, banjo, drums).

1:19
B
He starts in C, then changes to D.
He's foolin' around most any old key.


The harmonies shift away from the tonic, matching the intent of the words.

1:28
Break: Barris imitates a cymbal ("pah").

1:29
C
Watch that--hear that minor strain!
Ba-dum, ba-dum


The "jazz" vocal trio (the Rhythm Boys) take over.

1:35
Bada(ba)da-lada(bada-lada)-la-dum!
The vocalists take a scat-singing break.

1:38
A'
There's so many babies that he can squeeze,
That he's always changing those keys!


The "sweet" trio returns to set up Crosby's solo.

Verse

1:47
First, he changes into B,
Changes into C,
Changes into D,
Changes into E,
As easy as the weatherman!

Now, he's getting kinda cold,
Getting kinda hot,
Listen, I forgot,
Since he was a tot,
He's been the talk of Dixieland!


The voices retreat to the background, leaving the verse to the lead singer (Crosby).

Song

2:05

A
While the voices continue their background harmony, Beiderbecke takes a brief "hot" trumpet solo. Underneath him, the bass switches to a four-beat walking bass.

2:14
B

2:23
C
The full band returns to play the Charles-ton rhythm as originally written.

2:32
A'The A' melody is played with slight syncopations.

Coda

2:40
As we near the end, the tempo slackens, and various instruments (e.g., saxophone, bells) play short passages.