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Blue Rhythm FantasyBig Band Jazz Arranging in the Swing Era$
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John Wriggle

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040405

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040405.001.0001

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Give Me Some Skin

Give Me Some Skin

Novelty Songs and Ballads

(p.149) 8 Give Me Some Skin
Blue Rhythm Fantasy

John Wriggle

University of Illinois Press

This chapter looks at publisher demand for the potentially quick-selling, if usually short-lived, “novelty song” compositions that permeated the Swing Era market. Period novelty songs typically present a simple or familiar melody, a standard thirty-two-bar form with few excursions from the tonic key (chord progressions are rarely more complex than “I Got Rhythm”), and—most importantly—lyrics featuring a phrase linked to contemporary popular culture. Within these basic parameters, however, the genre reflected a range of strategies. This chapter shows how, along with ballad love songs, novelties represented an important artistic as well as commercial component of Swing Era big band music.

Keywords:   novelty songs, ballad love songs, big band music, ballads, popular culture, Swing Era

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