Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Givan, Ben. “Django Reinhardt’s I’ll See You in My Dreams.Annual Review of Jazz Studies 12 (2002): 41-62.

A jazz performer’s improvisation on a given model can provide insight into that performer’s understanding of the model’s essential elements. What the performer preserves, avoids, and manipulates from the model can indicate not only that performer’s competency, but also their inventiveness. Django Reinhardt’s 1939 recording of Isham Jones’s I’ll See You in My Dreams is one such example. In the context of a rhythmically repetitive structure, Reinhardt creates variety by alternatively highlighting and obscuring phrase boundaries. In cases of the former, Reinhardt includes chromatic turns at midpoints and endings of choruses. In cases of the latter, Reinhardt repeats rhythmic motives across phrases. Additionally, Reinhardt’s use of paraphrase and thematic improvisation demonstrates a deep understanding of the melody from Jones’s model. When paraphrasing, Reinhardt preserves between one and six measures of the melody; longer paraphrases, however, are rare. In thematic improvisations, Reinhardt highlights an important large-scale melodic connection in one of two ways. In the first, he foregrounds the connection as a short melody and plays it repeatedly; in the second, he increases the technical virtuosity of his improvisation while maintaining the melodic outline of the model.

Works: Isham Jones (composer) and Django Reinhardt (performer): I’ll See You in My Dreams (41-58).

Sources: Isham Jones: I’ll See You in My Dreams (41-42).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Jazz

Contributed by: Nathan Blustein

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