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Old 08-20-2013, 12:01 AM
rrayner rrayner is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 717
Default Puttin' On The Ritz Septet

"Puttin' on the Ritz" was written and published in 1929 by Irving Berlin. Wikipedia says it was, "introduced by Harry Richman in the musical film Puttin' on the Ritz (1930). The title derives from the slang expression "putting on the Ritz," meaning to dress very fashionably. The expression was inspired by the swanky Ritz Hotel."

A stylized Pop version of the song was performed by "Taco" in 1983, viewable on You Tube. Also, some additional popularity for the song was garnered when Mel Brooks featured the song in "Young Frankenstein" in 1974 , when young Dr. Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) does an old vaudevillian buck-and-wing with the Monster (Peter Boyle).

I love the syncopation of this song. It is so bright and cheery, despite being in a minor key (for the most part).

I haven't written anything new for a while due to a case of the "busies", so I thought I would try this septet format that is the instrumentation of the band I used to front. This is a smaller ensemble and therefore easier to write something out more quickly.

I tried something a little different in this arrangement -- the base line in Section B (main theme) is linear and is in minor conflict with the voicings of the horns, i.e., the bass plays both Eb and Db in the descending line, but I think due to the strength of the line to the ear, it tells the listener that the conflict is really alright, as, after all, they are just passing tones.

I also wrote this song as a duet for my wife and me. See:

in the Learning and Teaching Forum, under "Puttin' on the Ritz Duet".

If you would like to hear the mp3 version of how this song sounds on my Clavinova, go to:

On 09/01/2013, I uploaded a modified version of the original score. In Section E, measures 48,51, 57, 58, 60, 61 and 62, I have added swallowed notes. These are the offbeat eighth notes that have a pair of parentheses around them. You can look at these notes under Note Velocity and see that they are much lower velocity than their neighboring notes. This is a natural effect for a swing band player, to swallow these notes a little bit, to help provide more of a lilt to the swing figure. In a swing band, this notation wouldn't truly be necessary, as the players would naturally play it this way. So, I'm adding it as an "under-the-covers" tip on swing playing/writing. Updated the Notation file and the mp3 file to match the changes made.

Ralph Rayner
Attached Files
File Type: not Puttin' On The Ritz.not (240.7 KB, 12 views)

Last edited by rrayner; 09-02-2013 at 12:50 PM. Reason: "Smoothed out" the swing figures and reposted the file; added swallowed notes
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