Today I get my one rehearsal for the Rockford Choirs Cabaret 2014.
Every year we audition student soloists on songs they have selected for a given theme: this year its “The Piano Men and Women” (singer-songwriter-pianists from any era). In other years, it’s been Disney, the ‘70s, Broadway, Gershwin, etc.
Then I have about 3 weeks to turn around rhythm section charts for all the songs based on the piano/vocal scores the singers are using.
It’s a push, with each chart averaging me about 30-45 minutes. But it’s also a blast to get inside a particular style of music and learn a bit about how it’s put together. This year, as in past years, I’ve been surprised by odd-number phrases in Elton John tunes, and of course recognized the famous “Carole King cadence” (F/G – C: it’s both plagal and dominant!)
The coolest bit of writing I noticed as I was transcribing was from Sara Bareilles’ song “Chasing The Sun.” The chorus is made of two phrases. In the first, she ends the phrase by leaping Do-Ti, with the Ti falling as a dissonance on the tonic chord. In the following phrase, she precisely reverses it, leaping Do-Do but still falling on a dissonance because the chord underneath is a dominant sus4. It’s such beautiful underlying symmetry in the writing. Plus it is functionally significant – the lyrics both times are “always be chasing the sun,” so I think she intended for both phrases to feel unfinished, like there’s still a journey ahead.
Here’s the song. The first chorus begins at 0:47.
I really hope to see anyone close to Rockford come hear my handiwork with an amazing band and fabulous student soloists, Friday or Saturday night at 6&8pm. Tickets.