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Analysis of “I Love You”

Analysis of "I Love You"
So let’s analyst the structure of “I Love You”. It’s a 32 bar sequence, but it’s not really AABA, because the second A is clearly different from the first A because it modulates from F major to A major. It changes key from F major to A major. I would say it’s structure is A1A2B and A3 which is again different form A1 and A2. Let’s just have a look at the sequence without the altered notes - forget the flattened 5 and the flattened 9th and so on, for the moment, and just let’s just see if we can analyse what is going on. The very first line G minor, C7, F major7 is clearly II-V-I in F major.
If we didn’t have those altered notes we’d just play over F major. The second line is precisely that G minor7, C7, F major7 - so for 4 bars we do just play over F major. Then the third line is again, forgetting our flattened 5ths and 9ths, G minor7, C7, F major - so it’s in F major scale. But then it goes B minor7, E7 and in bar 13 it’s A major 7 - so it’s clearly changed key then to A major, via a II-V.
It does the same thing again in bars 14, 15, 16: II-V split bars to I in bar 15 which is A major and the same in bar 16.
Now we come to the B section: G minor7, C7, F major7 is clearly II-V-I in F major. Forgetting flattened 5ths and 9ths, I would say A minor7, D7, G7, C7 - that you can think of that as III-VI-II-V taking you back to F major. So it’s a kind of big cycle of fifths getting you back to F major. However, in terms of the tonality, the III chord is a minor chord - and that’s OK because the minor of A (C) is in the scale of F.
But D7 is the chord in bar 22, that’s got an F sharp in, which is not in the scale of F major - but remember our rule in the clock of keys which says that at any stage the tonality may be either major or minor. I would still think of that as being a VIth rooted chord which is taking us to F. Again G7 - it’s G7 not G minor7 - so G7 and then C7 - so C7 is definitely in the scale of F major. Then again we’ve got a II-V-I, I would say if F, in bars 25, 26, 27.
Bar 28 is a split bar III-VI and then the bottom line - the last line - split bar II-V-I. The only difference being the first II we have G7, which is a major tonality G and then G minor7 - which is a minor chord - C7 - which has a major third - taking us home to F major7 - which has a major third. You see again that rule about at any point the tonality may be either major or minor as long as it doesn’t clash with the tune.
But it’s not as simple as that because the 5ths and the 9ths are different. In the first 2 bars it’s G minor7 flat 5, C7 flat 9 to F major7. It’s like it’s a II-V-I going to a minor chord - but it isn’t a minor chord in this case, it’s a major chord, a major 7th. Why is it? Well let me say in general that as pianists we can (and we do) alter the 5ths - we flatten them and we sharpen them - and the 9ths - we flatten them and we sharpen them - to add more interest, more colour to our chords.
But we have to make the chords agree with the tune, and here the tune is the thing that’s telling us that it has have to have a half diminished chord in the first bar - a minor 7th with a flattened 5th - because the tune goes - and that part of the tune tells us that we have a flattened fifth, so it’s a half diminished chord. Moreover, that flattened fifth - that D flat - continues over into the second bar - so that’s telling us that our second chord is C7 but with a flattened ninth.
When we get to the third bar, we’ve got a G sharp taking us to A. I just see that as a lead note that’s getting us to the third of the scale of F major - it’s getting us there from a semi-tone from below. Of course, it could be from above.
So I don’t really think you need, in this case, to alter the chords to make it agree with the G sharp - that’s just a passing note. What’s the scales that go on there? Well the very first scale - if we going to leave the 9th unaltered so we just have the half diminished chord, a minor seventh with a flattened 5 - then the first scale is, as I’ve described it before, the 6th mode of B flat melodic minor ascending. So it takes B flat melodic minor ascending - we take that scale and we root it on G - on the sixth note of the scale.
If we root it on G we get that scale and that’s the scale which goes with the half diminished if we don’t flatten the 9th. Now you’re going to have to work out for yourselves how best you are going to learn these scales if, at some stage, you want to take them on. Let me tell you how I know this scale, for what it’s worth.
I know it’s a minor scale, so I start off playing it as though it’s a minor scale - a Dorian if you like - get up to the 4th note of the scale and then I know it’s flattened 5th - so then I’ve got flattened fifth and what happens after that is I just complete the scale in tones.
So you get first 4 notes of a minor scale - that’s always going to be the same - but then I get the flattened 5th and then the flattened 6th, the flattened 7th.
That’s how I remember it.
For example, if it’s an an A half diminished: we go up like it’s a minor scale to the 4th, then we put in our flattened 5th and then we complete in tones.
If it’s F, we put in the flattened 5th and complete it tones. If it’s A flat we go … I don’t know if that helps.
The question is: is there a flattened 9th in it or not, because if there was a flattened 9th then it would just be the mode of A flat major rooted on G. So what do you think? Which sounds better to you - without the flattened 9th, or with the flattened 9th?
To my ear, I prefer the former and hence my need for this scale.
Second bar - we’ve got our friend C sharp diminished and then when we get in the third bar it’s obviously F major - the Ionian scale. That explains everything, I think, until we get to bar 21 where we’ve got this III-VI-II-V, but because the tune has an E flat in it, then our A minor7 has a flattened 5th and that note persists into the next bar - into bar 22 - so again it is a flat nine. What are our scales?
Our scales are going to be the one we discussed: which is you go up it as though it were a minor scale get to the flattened 5th and then you finish off in tones. Then when we get to D7 flat 9 then it’s C diminished, which is the same as E flat diminished.
So if you really wanted to run the proper scales there, or create tunes using the proper scales, that’s what you would do. I think the only other thing I’d like to mention is in bar 23 we have G7 and we’re thinking of this as getting us back to F. We could play over F so that we get that sound, or we could actually play the scale of G7 which is the scale of C major - all the white notes. Then it goes to C7 and then we’re back to playing the scale of F major.
Similarly, when we get to the final line I take that C sharp there as a leading note that takes us to D and again we could play G7 - which is all the white notes - and then G minor7, C7 to F. At that stage we are definitely just playing on the scale of F. So there you have the scales which I think are appropriate for this piece.

We analyse the structure of the jazz standard “I Love You”.

You can download the chart giving the analysis of “I Love You” in PDF format at the bottom of this step.

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