I Got Rhythm

I Got Rhythm is the title of the most famous from the libretto by George Gershwin (music) and brother Ira Gershwin ( text ) written musical Girl Crazy, which in 1930 had premiere. Through many successful cover versions, the title became the Jazz Standard.


The tune I Got Rhythm began as a slow instrumental piece for Gershwin's unsuccessful musical Treasure Girl of November 1928 in which it was not used. After 68 performances, the musical ended on Broadway.

Composer George Gershwin used the melody with an accelerated rhythm and a text by his brother Ira Gershwin as part of the next musical Girl Crazy. The chord progression - later became known as the "Rhythm changes" - opened improvisation possibilities and therefore was the basis for many other jazz titles that followed in the future. The English name Rhythm changes is misleading, as the rhythm just does not change: the later compositions use changes ( chord changes ) of the play I Got Rhythm. The chord changes of the Bridge (reconciliation ) can be used in two variants. The rarer brings four bars of subdominant tonality center and then four bars with the dominant tonality as the center and the preceding cadences. The frequent dominants brings a fifth apart every two bars.

The main motive of the song now avoided almost entirely slowing down beats. The melody uses four notes of the pentatonic scale. Ira Gershwin kept the melody for difficult to to leave a matching text. " Filling in the total of 73 syllables of the chorus, was not as easy as it sounds. About two weeks I 've been experimenting with different rhyme -enabled titles. "

Functional harmonic analysis

The structure of the chord scheme of I Got Rhythm has been found in many places input into jazz. An A- Part has eight bars, the functions of each clock are:

In the bridge, the eight-bar B section, each clock:

Each dominating every two measures (ie each as a double dominant ) is obtained from the previous case in Quint. The first is dominant on the 3rd stage of tonality and is the dominant feature of the Tonikaparallele, the relative minor.

The subdominant variant is:

Concretely, for the following example:

An explicit example of the A- portion:

" 1 " indicates the clock for the first pass and " 2 " the same as for the second and third at the end. Next altered variations of replacements chords are common.

The B- part:

In the dominant matic variant ( Simples Sample? / i )

In the subdominant variant

Broadway Musical

Girl Crazy was the last successful musical by Gershwin. The unknown Ethel Merman was Gershwin presented by its long-time music producer Vinton Freedley, she could keep the samples at high C in I Got Rhythm 16 measures long, and was with their overwhelming vote a win for the musical. Debutante Ethel Merman sang the song in the Broadway show Girl Crazy, whose premiere took place on 14 October 1930 Alvin Theatre on Broadway and brought it there to a total of 272 performances, with sales of $ 1 million. Merman emphasizes the idealistic song that they have rhythm and music ( in the blood) and a partner; more they do not want to have, because who would want to demand more already. At the premiere of a supergroup of jazz in the orchestra pit accompanied singer Ethel Merman, because the economic crisis brought together famous jazz musicians. Under the leadership of Red Nichols played Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Jimmy Dorsey, Glenn Miller or the brothers Teagarden.

First recordings

The first commercial disc recording and the original creators of I Got Rhythm comes from Fred Rich & Orchestra for Columbia (# 2328 ) and was recorded on 20 October 1930, however, she could not reach the charts. Just three days later immortalized the present at the Theater Premiere Red Nichols with vocalist Dick Robertson on October 23, 1930 first cover version, which could be placed on rank 5 of the charts. Here he gathered with Charlie Teagarden (trumpet ), Jack Teagarden and Glenn Miller ( trombone), Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa a stellar cast behind the microphone. Pianist Luis Russell was followed on October 24, 1930, Ethel Waters on November 18, 1930 ( rank 17). Louis Armstrong speaks on November 6, 1931 in the brilliant recording into (Rank 17). George Gershwin himself plays the song on the piano in the August 1931 at the opening of Manhattan Theatre in New York. In 1934, Gershwin confirmed: " I ​​'ll never forget the opening night of Girl Crazy, where I felt the thrill of the audience reaction, as Ethel Merman I Got Rhythm sang. " Fats Waller followed with his piano version on 4 December 1935.

Benny Goodman I Got Rhythm presents the legendary Carnegie Hall concert on 16 January 1938 when Gershwin was already dead. Judy Garland was on November 2, 1943 with the title before the microphone. Organist Ethel Smith took the title with the orchestra of Victor Young on 24 October 1944. Broadway performer Ethel Merman even brought their stage version only on 12 December 1947, Decca (# 24453 ) on board, I Got Rhythm had become their signature tune and long since become evergreen. Gene Kelly sang the song dancing with children in the romance film An American in Paris ( " An American in Paris " by Gershwin's tone poem " An American in Paris " ), who on 4 October 1951 had premiere and was awarded six Oscars.

More versions of I Got Rhythm exist by Count Basie, Cannonball Adderley, Jimmy Dorsey, Ella Fitzgerald, Erroll Garner, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins, Stan Kenton, Glenn Miller, Red Norvo, Mike Oldfield, Bud Powell, Zoot Sims, Art Tatum, Ben Webster, Lester Young, Earl Wild and Brian Wilson.

The 32 -bar composition in AABA was the favorite theme of many jazz musicians, such as Chu Berry and Lester Young, who took it in the common competition as starting points for their improvisations. Charlie Parker used I Got Rhythm as a model for many of his bebop -head compositions, as " Chasin ' The Bird ", " Anthropology " or " Cheers".

Million Sellers

The pop group The Happenings made ​​the announced on April 8, 1967 title with their falsetto harmonies on the small, founded only in 1966 the label BT Puppy for million-seller. Energy produced by the Tokens version reached rank 3 in the charts, the best result of all versions of I Got Rhythm. The version of the happenings proved once more that just in the United States Millionenhit not necessarily achieved first place in the charts. On 3 June 1967 as their version reached the third place, the top ranks were filled with millions more sellers: at No. 2 ranked the Young Rascals Groovin ' with ', the first place was blocked with Aretha Franklin's Respect. Unlike the U.S., the single in the UK could not prevail and reached in May 1967 only rank 28 of the charts.


Gershwin biographer Rosenberg I Got Rhythm classified as the most played jazz standard of all time, perhaps competitive with Gershwin's Summertime. Almost all the jazz greats have taken the title, ASCAP lists a total of 83 versions. For George Gershwin 439 titles are registered copyright.