Harmonic analysis of the jazz standard “My Funny Valentine” by Richard Rodgers.
My Funny Valentine was composed by Richard Rodgers in 1937. The song follows an AA₁BC form and is originally in the key of C minor / Eb major. This is an analysis of the harmony in My Funny Valentine and an explanation of the concepts used in the analysis. The image above shows my full analysis, which I will walk through below. You can refer to the conventions page to explore the analytic concepts used or get the PDF for free.
I want to note two things before digging into the analysis. The first is that several alternate changes are sometimes played over this tune. I have put some common alternate changes a line above the more standard changes. The roman numeral analyses for these alternate changes are a line below the roman numeral analysis corresponding to the standard changes. The second is that I chose to think of the entire piece as being in Eb major, so I have notated C- as the vi. Another valid way to think about this tune is thinking of the A and C sections as being in C minor and the B section in Eb major. With this approach, C- would be the i, D-7(b5) would be the ii, G7 would be the V7, etc. To simplify the analysis a bit I have chosen to think of the C minor as vi, but thinking of it as i is also a good approach. It’s really about whatever approach makes the most sense to you.
The first four measures of this tune feature a classic minor cliche of the minor (-), minor (-Δ7) major seven, minor seven (-7), minor six (-6). This creates a descending chromatic line from the root to the sixth. Alternate changes feature an ii — V of the vi in measure 2 and an II7 in measure 4. The next four bars go from the IVΔ7 to the ii — 7 to an ii — V of vi turnaround leading into the repeat of A. The second A is the same with the exception of the last two measures, which are ii — V leading to the IΔ7 of section B.
Section B begins with an I-ii-I/3 progression that repeats twice. On the second repeat, the first inversion of the I is replaced by V7/vi. This is followed by the vi, ii — V of IV, and ii — V of vi leading to section C.
The first five measures of section C are the same as A. This section deviates in the sixth measure of the section with ii — V/vi leading to vi. This is followed by vi — subV/V and ii/IV — subV/IV. The subV notation here signifies a tritone substitution of the V7 of the target chord. This is followed by the IVΔ7 and ii — V — I in the key. A turnaround of ii-7/vi — V7/vi leads back to the top of the song on a repeat.