Reharmonization and Arrangement: I Remember You

Only the first page is shown with the jpeg file below.  For the entire four page PDF of this reharmonization, click here: I Remember You  Keep reading below for commentary on the tune and arrangement.

I Remember You- page 1 copyI’ve always liked the tune, “I Remember You”…maybe first hearing it as a Top Forty hit on the radio when I was young, which was still a few years after it first saw life in a musical.  Later during my early college years I recall hearing a Bill Holman arrangement of the song performed by the Stan Kenton Band, with a cool trumpet solo and Holman’s wonderful, linear writing.                  

Mercer-Garland

I Remember You LyricsFinding the tune in Real Book Two years later was like meeting an old friend again, although this time I had the music and a piano in front of me.  The song’s second chord revealed an understated hipness I was not prepared for (the “E”in the melody was the 11th of a Bmin7 chord…a surprise for me to discover in the key of F Major), so the music-musician relationship deepened.  And to add to it’s intrigue, I later discovered that the lyricist Johnny Mercer had written the words (seen at left) for his love, starlet Judy Garland…giving it to her on the day after she married another man.

Fast forward a few years later, when I was trying to get a student to arrange this piece for his small group.  As the band’s deadline for new material was rapidly drawing near, I thought I would step in to help out…after all, I love reharmonizing standards.  Even though my new harmonies might be too complex for the group to improvise over, with a little practice I thought learning the arrangement might be worth the effort, and their solos could then revert back to the original chord progression.  Long story short…it was never performed by the group, but I have still enjoyed the challenge and rewards of playing over these new harmonies.  For anyone who might feel the same way, I present this reharmonization and arrangement.  (I should also confess that I did not consider the lyrics when working on the reharmonization).

At the heart of the arrangement are the intro’s chromatically descending chords (with perfect 4th intervals), heard underneath a motif drawn from the last four notes-syllables of the first verse (…”kis-ses a-go”, measures #23-25).  The descending quartal harmonies are heard again under the same motif near the end of the next two A sections (measures #43-45, “Did-n’t you know?”, and #67-70, “…thrill of them all”).  Note how the pitch of the pedal bass changes, or how both the pedal point and the chords can be transposed (meas. #43 and #68).

Other possible points of interest:

  • The melody is transposed up an octave at Meas. #22, the second A section, measure #54, and the final A section, meas. #59-63.
  • Letter C (measure #76), uses the song’s main motif as a repeating bass line, although heard each successive time a perfect 4th higher, all under the final melody note, the sustained pitch of “F.”
  • The contrasting chord progression below the melody at letter A ascends.
  • Continued use of pedal points  #43, #47 (the Bridge at Letter B), #68
  • Measures #65-66 have more traditional harmonies, yet the chord voicings can still be quartal, and descend chromatically.
  • There is an option to extend the length of the phrases at measures #14-15, #32-33, #62-63, #74-75

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