Music education always & always looking forward.

Major Seventh Interval in Norah Jones's "Don't Know Why"

Can you think of a song that you remember the very first time you heard it?  How you felt, and that indescribable feeling that you had to hear it again, at any cost?

I've never been the type to be totally up on new music, what's happening lately or even during the past calendar year, more of a catcher-upper, really, but I remember exactly where I was when I first heard this song.  It was blaring through my university's giant rec & wellness center, as I descended a staircase to use a treadmill.  First of all, that was a rare gym use for me, and secondly, can you imagine MTV coming anywhere close to Norah Jones these days?  I'm glad she was as big as she was, because she floated Blue Note records for nearly a decade with the success of her (magnificent) debut album.  I do remember hearing that song, though, booming through the gym, and thinking, "Forget running, I've got to hear that song again."

That experience has been lessened a little bit with technology, and doing the Shazam salute to a set of speakers when you hear a song that you're dying to hear again, but it was a magical one.  I played this song in my classroom for my chorus kids a few years ago, and to say they were entranced was an understatement.  (Good for interval training, too.)

Don't Know Why” - Norah Jones

Intro: Though considered by many to be a jazz artist and reinforcing that idea by releasing albums on notable jazz label Blue Note records, Norah Jones made a commercial breakthrough on her first album, 2002’s Come Away with Me. Jones won the Grammy award in 2003 for Best New Artist and her album won seven more Grammys, both for performance and for production and engineering. “Don’t Know Why” won three Grammys that year for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. It was covered by well-known jazz guitarist Pat Metheny on his One Quiet Night album, he having stated in the liner notes that the song is one of his favorites and it is a “new classic”. Jones has recorded four subsequent albums since, each selling at least one million copies worldwide. Come Away with Me has sold more than 26 million copies, helping to propel Jones to be the best selling jazz artist of the 2000s and a major financial boon for Blue Note records.

Analysis: The important interval of the major seventh appears at the start of the pre-chorus, as Jones sings the words “my heart,” traveling a major seventh in between them.

Considerations for Teaching: Both for its exemplary demonstration of intervallic relationships and for the song’s cultural impact, this song is an outstanding classroom listening example. It contains no inappropriate lyrics or subject matter.

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