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Yale University Department of Music

Chick Corea's 1984 Performance of "Night and Day"

Author(s): Steven Strunk
Source: Journal of Music Theory, Vol. 43, No. 2 (Autumn, 1999), pp. 257-281
Published by: Duke University Press on behalf of the Yale University Department of
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Steven Strunk

Chick Corea recorded "Night and Day" in September 1984 wit

group Trio Music (Miroslav Vitous, bass; Roy Haynes, drums) d
European concert tour.1 This performance includes "Night and D
larger formal structure. In discussing "Night and Day," I will refe
sections of its form as follows: (1) the verse (not performed); (2
Al (mm. 1-8); (3) section A2 (mm. 9-16), the "chromatic desc
section Al' (mm. 17-24), a modified repeat of (2); (5) section A2
25-32), a repeat of (3); (6) section B (mm. 3340), the bridge; and
tion A2' (mm. 41-48), a repeat of (3) and (5) modified to provide
ing. The three sixteen-measure units suggest a barform. The larger
structure on the recording consists of an out-of-tempo introduct
ing into six choruses of the song "Summer Night," the latter merg
a central transition (beginning out-of-tempo, ending in tempo)
choruses of "Night and Day," followed by a coda (beginning in temp
ing out-of-tempo).2 I will examine harmonic and motivic connect
processes in the introduction, the transition, the coda, and the chor
"Night and Day," but first it will be helpful to consider some ways
Chick Corea put his personal stamp on Cole Porter's song.
In his compositions of the 1960s Corea had shown some pref

*Cole Porter's piano-vocal score is reproduced on pages 338-42.


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(a) mm. 1-7
A I A r--- 3 --"

'i~~~~~~L~~~~ - - L.~~

(b) mm. 17-21

, B maj7 GC maj7. Fmaj7

I~~~~~l a? A maj , Cmaj7 Emaj7

-ap lR 1 n fo ' s iJ. s i f - I o n

Example 1. "Tones for Joan's Bones." Transcribed from Blue Mitche

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"Litha" by Chick Corea, from Chick Corea Collection (Hal Leonard Corp., 1994),
114. (Original "A" given here as "maj 7")

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 12 34

Dmaj7 C#mi7 Bmaj7 Bbm


15 16 17118 19 20121122

Ebmaj7 Cmaj7
Table 1

for chromatic third relationships involving major seventh chords. For ex-
ample, the first harmonic movement in "Tones for Joan's Bones" takes
place between major seventh chords on I and bVI (Example la).3 This is
followed in mm. 17-22 by three pairs of major seventh chords related by
an ascending minor third (bracketed in Example lb). These last progres-
sions are nonfunctional, and represent part of a general trend toward
increasing use of nonfunctional progressions in jazz at that time. As
another example, the opening progression of "Litha" consists of chro-
matic third relationships between pairs of major seventh chords related
by a descending minor third (bracketed in Table 1).4 This interest in jux-
taposing major seventh chords that are in a chromatic third relation car-
ries through into Corea's approach to "Night and Day."
The original version of "Night and Day" exhibits chromatic third-
related triads, I and bIII, throughout the bridge. These are routinely
played as major seventh chords in jazz performances, and constitute the
only two harmonies in the bridge. There is another potential chromatic
third relationship between the bVI chord of m. 1 and the I of m. 3. How-
ever, this bVI enters as part of a chromatic passing-tone bass line origi-
nating in the verse. This line leads through bVI to V, which then pro-
gresses to I. Although emphasis is given to the bVI, it must clearly be seen
as subordinate to the V-I progression that it essentially decorates. In his
performance of the Al and A1' sections, Chick Corea omits the V chord
in the progression bVI-V-I, so that the juxtaposed major seventh chords
on bVI and I are the only harmonies in those sections, in a manner anal-
ogous to the treatment of bIII and I in the bridge.5 As he makes no sub-
stantive change in the chromatically descending sections, his perfor-
mance consists of three sections featuring chromatic third relations
(bVI-I or bIII-I), each followed by a section featuring chromatic descent
to a cadence-a striking revision of the tonal structure.
The bVI and bIII chords are, of course, derived by mixture from the
tonic minor key. The very old, perhaps legendary, association of the major
key with brightness and the minor with darkness can be illustrated typi-
cally by Donald Francis Tovey's discussion of the psychological effects
of key relationships:


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The characters of key-relationships are solid facts [sic] ... To move from
a major tonic to the relations of its tonic minor, such [as] bIII and bVI, is
to pass into deep and warm shadow. Such modulations form characteris-
tic purple patches .. .6

For those who experience these effects, it may be that the juxtaposition
of these "dark" and "bright" chords reflects the juxtaposition of "night"
and "day" in the title.
In replacing 6VI-V-I with bVI-I, Chick Corea may have followed the
path of European composers in their attempt to replace the dominant-
tonic axis with a plagal axis, as described by Deborah Stein in her dis-
cussion of late-nineteenth-century harmonic developments:

[T]he development of the tonal system reached a plateau wherein the

tonic-dominant axis was so commonplace that it could be replaced by
new, equivalent structures ... alternative cadence patterns and structural
designs had to replace the powerful but now too predictable tonic-domi-
nant relationship ... the substitution of the subdominant for the dominant
is predicated upon the retention of the traditional function of the dominant
harmony; the success of dominant replacement, therefore, depends upon
the ability of the plagal domain to provide a plagal analog for the function
of the dominant, that is, to replace the dominant-tonic axis with what
could be called a plagal axis.7

Numerous chords can assume subdominant function.8 As Stein says: "II,

bII, VI, and bVI can all assume many of the various functions of IV. The
possibility of harmonic substitution ... leads us to a broader definition of
harmonic terms where II, IV, and VI are not necessarily separate har-
monies but function as interchangeable parts of one harmonic function."9
The concept of "interchangeable parts" fits well with the practice of
chord substitution in jazz, and in fact Chick Corea uses various forms of
the subdominant minor throughout the performance. Stein goes on to dis-
cuss the weakness of the plagal cadence as compared with the authentic.
However, the subdominant minor-tonic major cadence has a half-step
motion, b6-5, which approaches the directionality of that of the authentic
cadence, 7-8; it is primarily plagal progressions containing this _b-5 line
that are used by Chick Corea in this performance.
Another compositional preference that influenced this performance
involves a two-voice contrapuntal relationship. Jazz composers, includ-
ing Chick Corea, frequently employ contrapuntal structures in which
the outer voices expand or contract in contrary or oblique motion.10 These
structures usually involve parallel tenths with the bass, although in
Corea's compositions parallel fourths and fifths are also evident. Exam-
ple 2 presents two textures contracting in contrary motion, mm. 20-21
and mm. 38-39 of "Crystal Silence."'1 Voice leading in contrary motion


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(a) mm. 20-21 (b) mnn. 38-39

Example 2. "Crystal Silence: From Chick Corea (Litha Music Co.;

exclusive selling agent for the United States and Canada, Warner Bros.
Publications, 1976)

%.O ^f f' F 5 : ' -^fff

cresc. f P.;
T T_71
C.-, ^,
. 4 5j -i --
I 6~~~~~b

Example 3. "Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy," mm. 84-92

Corea (Litha Music Co.; exclusive selling agent for the
and Canada, Warner Bros. Publications. 1976)

in which the outer voices expand the texture may be se

of "Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy" (Example 3).12 The cho
inal "Night and Day" contains no expanding or contrac
ing. However, the descending parallel tenths with the b
may have suggested the construction of the improvisatio
in the second chorus, mm. 24-30, which expands in con
Example 4a is a transcription of the piano part, while
voice leading analysis showing the expanding texture to b
prolongation.13 Note that the piano bass line is new, mat
nal of "Night and Day" only in m. 25 (the Ab in paren
which also matches, is played by the bass).14 Two succes
in oblique motion occur in section Al, mm. 1-3 and 5-7 o
rus. Example 5a is a transcription of the piano part, wh
stable lower voice. Example 5b shows the voice leading
structural bass notes. The soprano arpeggiates twice fro
the first case the tonic returns on G2, before the arpeggia
In the second case the arpeggiation is accelerated, so th
ferred in register to Ab2 in time for the arrival on the to
end of the arpeggiation, B,2. Also in the first case a com
of the polyrhythm indicated above the staff of Example
quarters against three whole-note measures) is made
length of the arpeggiation. In the second case the poly


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k. , hb2A276. 29 Lr.

{ I+ $ Fr 7 r rt- I 7 r I ' - 7 1
l( , . f^1s r tIrt I r ~
24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Example 4

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A 4-22:[0247] B C

o .

^-rm; i g rrFd rr
fr--- (

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Example 6

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differently, not on the down beat, but on the fourth quarter of m. 4, and is
shortened by the shorter arpeggiation.
In summary, the revision of the tonal structure of "Night and Day" to
emphasise chromatic third relations, and the creation of textures expand-
ing in contrary or oblique motion during the improvisation constitute two
ways in which Chick Corea developed potentialities in the original song
as an expression of his own compositional style. Such developments add
value to jazz performances in general as a means of personal artistic
Although six choruses of "Summer Night" lie between the introspec-
tive opening piano improvisation and "Night and Day," that music in fact
serves as an introduction to both songs. This introduction, the transition
between the two songs, and the coda all rely on progressions of subdom-
inant minor harmonies to tonic major, the model for which is the bVI-I of
the Al sections of "Night and Day." ("Summer Night," as played here, is
in 3/4 time, begins in C minor, moves to Ebmajor, and has a coda in Eb
minor.15 Only in its coda do subdominant minor chords appear, moving
to the tonic minor.)
A transcription of the opening introductory improvisation is given in
Example 6a, with a voice-leading analysis in Example 6b. The sustained
notes at A establish El as the tonic, while the flourish at B, with its
emphasis on the notes of the C-minor triad, suggests the opening key of
"Summer Night." At C enters the first subdominant minor representative
chord, Dbmajor (bVII) with added sixth Bb moving to seventh Cb at D,
culminating in an arpeggiated Db dominant ninth chord. This subdomi-
nant minor representative progresses to tonic minor at E, corresponding
with the key of the coda of "Summer Night." At C also is bracketed the
first statement of the pentatonic scale, set class 5-35:[02479], which is
the source of many of the voicings and melodic patterns of the whole per-
formance. At E another flourish, this one slower and in a higher register,
provides an initial ascent to BL2 through a tonic minor triad. The last
notes of this unit, marked with a bracket, form the head motive of "Sum-
mer Night, " presented here in EL minor. The final move from F2 to Eb2 at
F and G sounds very like a cadence despite the lack of harmonization,
perhaps because the F2 is part of a descending 5-line, because of the
slower rhythm, and because of the major quality of the tonic triad at G,
which also matches the opening structure at A (both are the pentatonic
subset 4-22:[0247]), providing closure to the introductory section. We
shall see that the form of 4-22:[0247] at A and G serves as a cadential
tonic structure throughout the performance. ("Summer Night" follows
Example 7 is a transcription of the first part of the transition between
"Summer Night" and "Night and Day." Rhythm and tempo are indefinite
after C, but the vertical alignment of notes is as performed. Chords from


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the last measures of "Summer Night," subdominant minor (Ab minor) and
tonic minor (Eb minor), sound at A and B, respectively. The bass implies
subdominant-tonic movement from B through C, ending on the root of
bVII, while the piano plays pentatonic formations suggesting iv at C, and
soon introducing Db, suggesting the bVII dominant ninth which is fully
realized at E. The pentatonic scale, set class 5-35:[02479] and its subsets,
particularly 4-22:[0247], also play an important role in the transition.
Some of these sets are marked in Examples 7, 8, and 9. The flourish at D
corresponds with that of Example 6 at C. The section closes on a stable
Db structure (a form of 4-22) corresponding with those that opened and
closed Example 6, and with the closing of the next section at L. In this
next section, beginning at F, the first literal components of "Night and
Day" enter: the repeated BL1 at G, J, and K; and the bVI voicing at H and
its close relative iv, at J. The major tonic is affirmed at I and L.
Up to this point in the transition, the primary focus has been on the
movement from subdominant minor chords to tonic major, based on the
A1 sections of "Night and Day." The next part of the transition introduces
the A2 "chromatic descent" section by an improvised variation on it which
is transcribed in Example 8a. The voice leading reduction in Example 8b
shows this to be a harmonic movement from I to V involving two descend-
ing linear progressions from 5 to 2. This improvisation corresponds liter-
ally with section A2 of "Night and Day" only in measures 1 and 4-5,
where the bass line and some of the harmonies match those of A2.16
The last part of the transition, which sets the tempo for the choruses
to follow, consists of four variations on the first phrase of "Night and
Day," which is given in Example 9a. Example 9b is a transcription of the
passage. The elements of "Night and Day" that are preserved in the vari-
ations are the linear progression 5-4-3 and, to an increasing extent, the
ordered set of seven pitches of which the original phrase consists (see Ex.
9a). In the first variation, mm. 1-4 (Ex. 9b), the S-4-3 line may be seen
on the upper staff, which is the transcription, while on an analytical staff
attached below may be seen the ordered pitch series and some of the pen-
tatonic subsets which are so important to the aural effect of the transition.
The second variation, mm. 5-8, exhibits the S-4-3 line, but only the cor-
responding order numbers of the pitch series: 1, 4, and 7. The series of
descending fourths, marked as set class 4-23:[0257] in mm. 2-3, is bal-
anced by a series of ascending fourths, marked as set class 5-35:[02479]
in mm. 7-8. The two motions form a model for a pattern of movement
which develops through the choruses. The third variation, mm. 9-12, has
only 5-4 without 3, but contains a transposition (T3) of order numbers 3
through 7 of the pitch series. The fourth variation, mm. 13-16, brings the
transition to an end by slowing the melodic motion and presenting all of
the notes of the "Night and Day" theme except for the repeats of the Bb.
Of the pentatonic subsets, 4-22: [0247] occurs most frequently.


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l'! z-

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tiw l l l WSr F 1t -
P00/%-4.Q 6-JL J

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Example 7

The coda (Example 10) is approximately 22 measures long, with the

tempo becoming indefinite in m. 19. The melodic line begins with a S-3
motion stated in m. 1, 3, 5, and 7; this is extended to ?-5-3-2-1 (4-22:
[0247]) in mm. 9-10 and 11-12, but the harmony does not come to rest:
the 2-1 line is always supported by a subdominant minor chord, continu-
ing unresolved in the repetitions of 2-1 in mm. 17-21. The final melodic
motion is b6-5 in an inner voice. The accompanying chords alternate
throughout between forms of subdominant minor and tonic major. Given


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(a)) (a 4
a) (D 3O~ c_ Pi_

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i a iA 3 Q ?

3-6:1024 2:10

A I - 1* 1 a - . a 1

Example 9


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(a) CODA

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,.I 5/ ' r, m _

2 3

12ll3 2 185z3 14

IS^.J^ ^ > 16 17 18
Vlr 7 2 J | - J1 . J4
19 20 21

4ib;._ tPWJ72JJ-1

Example lOa


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b) Transition (Ex 8a): m.5 6 7 (Ex9b): 1
4-22:102471 A


Coda: mm. 1-9 10-21 21 22

Example 10b

their constant presence, it may be that the two most basic thematic
sources for this performance are the set 4-22 and the melodic resolution
of b6 to S. Perhaps to stress its motivic importance, the dyad [BL, Cb] is
emphasized harmonically throughout the coda, particularly beginning in
m. 12 in the piano. The bass begins a recurring trill on [BL, Cb] in m. 9
(not shown). The tonic resolution in m. 22 (before the addition of the
overtone-like F' and A1 in the piano) corresponds in structure with the
forms of 4-22: [0247] that opened the performance and served as caden-
tial sonorities in the introduction and the transition (Examples 6 and 7).
One can also see traversing the coda a descending melodic line which
was stated in mm. 5-6 of the second part of the transition: BL-G-F-(EL)-
Cb-(BL) (see Example 10b). This line also features the two thematic
sources mentioned above. It lies at the surface in the transition, but in the
middleground in the coda. The Bb-G segment is presented every two mea-
sures through m. 9. The F repeatedly resolves to EL beginning at m. 10,
but gains independence in mm. 15-22, moving to CL twice in m. 21. The
final Bb2 of the transition, shown as BL2 in Example 9b, does not really
resolve the CL which ends Example 8a, as it is nearly two octaves distant,
has no consonant support, and starts a new part of the transition. The Bb
in the coda at m. 22, however, does complete the resolution of Cb in the
same register and to a stable tonic structure. In a sense, then, the Cb of the
transition has been held in suspense until the final chord of the coda.
In summary, the introduction, transition, and coda are linked by nu-
merous harmonic and motivic factors, mostly derived from "Night and
Day." These links produce a performance that is not just a medley of two
songs, but an artistically organized compositional expression.
Within the choruses, numerous small motives, many of which are sub-
sets of 4-22:[0247] emphasize descending fifths or descending thirds.
These are displayed in Example 11. (In the examples from the choruses,
the chorus numbers are listed at the left of each staff and corresponding
pitches among motives are lined up vertically.) The examples from
choruses 1 and 2 are mainly descending fifths; those from later choruses
add descending thirds. All of these can easily be seen to be groups of sub-
sets of 4-22.


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L b I


Q% q










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Ch 1-2
nr $-P

ChI 2 16 3 3

Ch. 3-4 47

Ch. 5 16 ,, 6

Ch.5 20

Ch. 6 20

4 6 37 .
Ch.7 16

Ch.7 19

Ch. 7 36

4$" 1 7- j> ,-t tJ

Example 12


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Most of the motivic correspondences in the choruses are associated
with relatively long lines moving upward or downward, as modeled in
the transition (Example 9b, mm. 2-3 and 7-8). A group of related as-
cending lines is shown in Example 12. These serve as anacruces to either
the LVI chord or the bIII chord, approached from tonic harmony. Once
again, corresponding pitches are lined up vertically. In Example 13 a sec-
ond group of similar ascending lines approaches the hIV07 that begins the
"chromatic descent" section. Both these groups use mainly the notes of
the Eb major scale omitting Ab. Example 14 shows the combination of an
ascending and a descending line. At (a) are closely related ascending
approaches to, and descents from, Bb2 in choruses 1, 3, 5, and 7. At (b)
are independent passages derived from the descending portions of Exam-
ple 14a. The anacrucis-like lines are supported by altered dominant (or
substitute dominant) harmony resolving to tonic at the Bb2 goal. The Bb2
is usually preceded by CL2, forming the b6-5 motive. After this resolution,
the descending lines feature descending thirds similar to those of Exam-
ple 11. The coda (Example 10), in its anacruces to mm. 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9,
each of which contains the descending third BL-G, also matches repeat-
edly with the patterns of Example 14a.
Throughout the choruses, much of the piano's activity consists of alter-
nation between ascending and descending lines similar to those shown in
Examples 12, 13, and 14. The frequency of this alternation helps to give
the choruses form and direction. Example 15 attempts to graph these
movements. At the left edge of Example 15 are the chorus numbers and
an assignment of octave registers on the vertical axis for each chorus. At
the top edge are the parts of the form and the measure numbers (1-48)
applying as a horizontal axis for each of the choruses graphed below. Ini-
tial and terminal pitches of directional lines are indicated by letter name
in their proper register and connected by straight lines.
When interpreting Example 15, it may be helpful first to consider the
function of each chorus. The piano states the theme in chorus 1, soloing
in choruses 2-3; the bass solos in choruses 4-5; the piano takes "eights"
with the drums in chorus 6 and restates the theme in chorus 7. The direc-
tional lines shape these choruses as follows: In choruses 1-3 there is a
gradual increase in the number and rapidity of the upward and downward
motions: chorus 1 has 10 motions; chorus 2 has approximately 17; while
chorus 3 has approximately 23, a maximum for the performance. Through
choruses 4-6, the intensity again increases: chorus 4 has 5 motions, cho-
rus 5 has 11, and chorus 6 has 14. The final chorus, although containing
13 motions, spaces them in a much more relaxed and expansive way than
chorus 6, leading to the winding-down of the coda. Therefore the timing
and spacing of these linear motions create a sense of increased tension
through choruses 1-3, with a release of tension at the start of chorus 4,


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h. 2 6

^i';^r^^^ ^ ^ f
Ch 3 40

^ I J-J r rf r L
Ch4 7

Ch 5 40

b~~ hi D7 Ir "
Example 13

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Ch.6 8

-l. 1r ?3--I3 3 l1

CI6 r 40

Ch.7 8

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Example 13 (cont

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mCh 14

Cbi 3 29 nf tfl- f
CIL 5 13 1

Cb 5 34

Cb. 7 45

h,~,~ -Irrr
Example 14

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Ch. 2 37 , 3 , , 3 1

h .- 2J J 476J
Ch. 2 47

Example 14 (continued)

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Al A2 Al' A2 B A
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 3

C3 A'O. Et D
1CI \ / BGB'---
Cl El G G Cb G El

C3El F LI '. C\Cl' Dl--

C2 C2 BP __ / \ - \ \
Cl -ED Ep-' D O\D/ .... EE' 0 G B F F

C3 Cl C G D_ Gl' Clo Dl'

Cl U BOl F F Bl El GOClAl' E F

4 C2 /G0 G G ...
C "G

Cl Al l 'BtsCt D '\l 'FE

C3 D' GD D' ,, D
5l C2 G / EbD Bl E
Cl -Br--E Er-' B G E

C31 2 3 6 7 El9F D
6C2/CP \EP/ \ G DE \\D
Cl E0 B/ Bl BlP E Bt
C A- B

C3 BI, G
C2 n ,F" Et /G' DiB D
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Cl E El'
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 3

Example 15

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followed by another increase of tension through chorus 6, followed by a
gradual release to the end of the coda.
There are some aspects of this performance which I cannot treat in this
analysis, but which are important to its character. One is the sense of
playfulness and joie de vivre which comes through strongly to the lis-
tener, if not to the reader of an analytical article. The musicians seem to
be enjoying playing together very much. Playfulness is evident in two
near-quotations in chorus six: "March of the Siamese Children" (mm.
1-3) and "Peanut Vendor" (mm. 23-24).17 There is constant interaction
and dialogue among the players: the bass and piano sometimes play in
short improvised canonic imitation, especially in "Summer Night." The
role of the bass in leading and responding to the piano should not be
underestimated, nor that of the drums in placing emphasis on certain
rhythmic figures. These aspects call for a separate investigation, which
might well be begun by listening once again to Chick Corea's recording
of "Night and Day." I so recommend.


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I would like to thank David Kelley for preparing the musical examples.
1. ECM Records LP: 827 769-1; CD: 827 769-2.
2. Harry Warren, music; Al Dubin, lyrics, "Summer Night" (M. Witmark & Sons,
3. Chick Corea, "Tones for Joan's Bones" (Litha Music Co., 1966).
4. Chick Corea, "Litha" (Litha Music Co., 1967).
5. In one case, Corea plays bII major seventh as an appoggiatura to I. This is not quite
the same as the usual substitute dominant, II dominant (major-minor) seventh.
The bII major seventh does not contain the diatonic tritone between scale degrees
4 and 7. Therefore the familiar dominant function involving that tritone does not

6. Herbert J. Foss, ed. Musical Articles from the "Encyclopedia Britannic

don: Oxford University Press (Humphrey Milford), 1944; reprint edition (
Forms of Music), New York: Meridian Books, 1956), 61 (emphasis mine).
7. Deborah Stein, "The Expansion of the Subdominant in the Late Nineteenth
tury." Journal of Music Theory 27/2 (1983): 161.
8. See the discussion of substitution sets in Steven Strunk, "The Harmony o
Bop: A Layered Approach." Journal of Jazz Studies 6 (1979): 4-53.
9. Stein, "Expansion of the Subdominant," 157.
10. Steven Strunk, "Linear Intervallic Patterns in Jazz Repertory," Annual R
Jazz Studies 8 (1996): 63-115.
11. Chick Corea, "Crystal Silence" (Litha Music Co., 1972).
12. Chick Corea, "Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy" (Litha Music Co., 1974).
13. I am responsible for all the transcriptions. They are subject to the usual
about possible errors. I have transcribed the piano part of the whole perfo
but only part of it is included in the examples for this article.
14. The bass line does correspond closely to that illustrated in Example 8 belo
the transition between "Summer Night" and "Night and Day."
15. A version of "Summer Night" in a 1950s fake book gave it in 4/4 time b
in C minor, moving to Elmajor, with no coda.
16. But see note 14 above.
17. I say "near-quotations" because the songs are only suggested.


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