Fascinating Rhythm

Fascinating Rhythm
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Fascinating Rhythm I'm all a-quiver What a mess you're making! The neighbors want to know Why I'm always shaking Just like a flivver Each morning I get up with the sun Start a-hopping Never stopping O find at night no work has been done I know that Once it didn't matter But now you're doing wrong When you start to patter I'm so unhappy Won't you take a day off? Decide to run along Somewhere far away off And make it snappy! Oh, how I long to be the man I used to be!

George Gershwin - Fascinating Rhythm

He wanted us to continue doing the last step, which started center stage, and sustain it as we traveled to the side, continuing until we were out of sight off stage. The step was a complicated precision rhythm thing in which we kicked out simultaneously as we crossed back and forth in front of each other with arm pulls and heads back.

There was a lot going on, and when George suggested traveling, we didn't think it was possible. It was the perfect answer to our problem, however, this suggestion by hoofer Gershwin, and it turned out to be a knockout applause puller. George threw me a couple for my solo routine, too. I liked to watch him dance. It made me laugh Fred Astaire, Steps in Time , pp. The critic for the Harold Tribune wrote, "When at 9: Seldom has it been our pleasure to witness such a heartfelt, spontaneous and so deserved a tribute" Fred Astaire, Steps in Time , pp.

As was common in Broadway shows of The Twenties, the show-stopper or some other principal song would be reprised at the finale to bring the audience back to its feet; often, as was the case with "Fascinating Rhythm" in Lady, Be Good! Ira Gershwin explains in Lyrics on Several Occasions p. The story of the MGM musical Lady Be Good starring Eleanor Powell, Robert Young, Ann Sothern, and others was also unconnected to the plot of the musical of the same title, with score by the Gershwins; however, it did include in its own score the two most famous songs from the earlier stage production: Given that there is no visual record of the show-stopping dance by Adele and Fred Astaire from , it is worth it to view the spectacle of the MGM version.

It is a tribute to the music and its associated rhythm that two boffo dance routines were created for the song. It is also worth noting that even though the movie version is essentially unrelated to the original, Berkeley alludes to the show when he includes in his choreography Powell being accompanied not only by a chorus of dancers and singers but by dual pianists, just as was the case in the Broadway pit for the production in which the well known ragtime piano team of Phil Ohman and Victor Arden anchored the orchestra.

The Berkeley film version perhaps had, in a way, a greater degree of authenticity than the original in that Berkeley's pianists are black like the most highly regarded stride pianists of the era, whereas Ohman and Arden, though highly regarded in their own right, were white. The Powell routine had its place in cinematic dance history augmented by being included in the subsequent documentary on MGM musicals, That's Entertainment.

His Life and Work Berkeley: Howard Pollack called "Fascinating Rhythm" not only "paradigmatic of a certain side of Gershwin's work but of the Jazz Age itself. Both the low-down verse , with its insistent blue note s a mirror image of ' The Man I Love ' , and the explosive chorus , whit its dizzying polyrhythms, charted new territory. Philip Furia Ira Gershwin: Philip Furia notes that Ira liked contractions in his lyrics because they lend things a colloquial air, "a verbal equivalent," as Furia puts it, "for George's frequent syncopations.

In the most common of American catch-phrases Ira discovered verbal shards that perfectly fit the rhythms of George's musical phrases: Furia doesn't find it surprising that Ira thought of "Fascinating Rhythm" as "the hardest song I ever had to fit words to. It's so persistent the day isn't distant, I know, When I'll go mad. Inspired by George's intricate rhythm, Ira now recast those lines into the more vernacular--and percussively alliterative Indeed he dismisses the song, writing, "it says little and says it poorly both musically and lyrically, the entire lyric [being] scarcely to be recommended as an illustration of Ira Gershwin's great talent.

Gerald Mast See just below.

The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm

Gerald Mast calls "Fascinating Rhythm" the Gershwins' first and best song about rhythm [the other being, of course, the later " I Got Rhythm "], and alludes to the terms Ira used while referring to it when he first heard an early version George brought back from London in The "tricky" and eventually "fascinating" rhythm of "Fascinating Rhythm" that was both so frustrating and appealing to Ira is analyzed by Mast who concludes, "The result of this playful trickery is a rhythmically complex song about rhythmic complexity, a song about rhythmic fascination that is fascinating because its rhythms can never be predicted or taken for granted.

Ira's alliterative "g" "Got me on the go" emphasizes the regular downbeat immediately preceding the rhythmic surprise, when the single "Fascinating" sustains itself over the boundary between measures two and three. The downbeat falls in the third measure without any new word to announce it--a downbeat both felt and missed. This tiny trick provides the fascination of this fascinating rhythm, both for the singer, possessed by it ["it pit-a-pats in my brain,"] and the listener, who soon will be Mast, p. One of these difficulties, one that has nothing to do with the rest of the plot and is only a pretense for their dance routine, is dancing to the challenging and tricky rhythms of "Fascinating Rhythm.

The characters are in a battle with the rhythm. They want the rhythm to go away and leave them be:. Won't you take a day off decide to run along Somewhere far away off-- And make it snappy! The final plea of the lyric is made to this "Fascinating Rhythm": And in truth, far from succumbing to this force, by the end the characters have harnessed it, and in so doing, asserted their autonomy" Rosenberg, p.

Such rhythmic complexity was rare in American theater song of the time; so was such a close blending of words and music. What Ira achieved in this lyric was "a truly phenomenal feat," in Arthur Schwartz's words, "when one considers that. Allen Forte in his book Listening to Classic American Popular Songs distinguishes between the rhythms found in George Gershwin's verse and in his refrain.

Both rhythms, Forte maintains, have their "charm and interest"; indeed, the rhythm of the verse is "toe-tapping and jazzy," and "would have been understood as very 'rhythmic' in Gershwin's day and even now;" but "it is not, however, the fascinating rhythm" of the refrain. Ted Gioia The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire New York: Oxford University Press, Ted Gioia pretty much agrees with Aaron Copeland's assessment of "Fascinating Rhythm," given above, that it was "rhythmically not only the most fascinating but the most original jazz song yet composed," even though the modernist composer had probably not listened much to King Oliver or Jelly Roll Morton.

The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm

"Fascinating Rhythm" is a popular song written by George Gershwin in with lyrics by Ira Gershwin. It was first introduced by Cliff Edwards, Fred Astaire and. Fascinating Rhythm Lyrics: Got a little rhythm, a rhythm, a rhythm / That pit-apats through my brain; / So darn persistent / The day isn't distant / When it'll drive me.

In fact, I could easily imagine this melody having come from a New Orleans cornet player or a Chicago school clarinetist, so perfectly does it match the sound of hot jazz of the era. The song was, in turn, easily adapted to the needs of jazz bands. In many ways, its melody construction anticipates the riff-based charts that would usher in the Swing Era.

Gioia also credits Ira Gershwin's slangy lyrics along with those of other popular song lyricists of the time as actually having a more significant influence than the prose of Hemingway or Fitzgerald on the diction of the Jazz Age Gioia, pp.

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The recording on the video above is not Edwards' performance in the cast of Lady, Be Good! The recording rose to number 6 on the charts by April, Please complete or pause one video before starting another. This track can be found on various albums. Click the links above for a selection.

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