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We'll Eventually Resolve


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Folded into the memories of those who knew World War II, or at least anyone who recalls the final sequence of "Dr. Strangelove", is the 40s standby “We’ll Meet Again”. Written in 1939 by English songwriters Ross Parker and Hughie Charles and best known as performed by Vera Lynn, its signature harmonic climb reveals a rare but unmistakable sequence of extended dominant function. Illustrated here in D, following the sheet music I have (a couple of passing chords omitted):

     We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when,  

     D6               F#7                       B6                           C7   B7   

D :  I              V/V/V/V                  V/V/V                        bc  V/V/V                 

     but I know we’ll meet again some sunny day.              Keep…

              E7                                                       Em7  A7b9  D6

             V/V                                                                  V        I

That’s a dominant (A7), preceded by a secondary dominant (E7), preceded by a tertiary dominant (B6 and B7), preceded by a quaternary dominant (F#7). The C is a borrowed chord.

As I was culling some charts of songs I don’t play anymore, I was about to toss this one in the recycling, when I paused to study the progression. It came from my former neighbor Don. He played banjo, and invited me to his house a few times to play some of the classic tunes. Don was a Korean War veteran. We enjoyed some pleasant afternoons together until his health began to fail. He’s been gone a few years now, but he’d be pleased to know he still had something to show me.

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Diane - thanks for sharing.   It would be great if we all had a "neighbor Don" to enjoy playing with, but more importantly to re-introduce us to some of these old songs that all too often find their way into the the recycling bin.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Diane. This takes me back. My mother used to play an Ink Spots record with this song .  Growing up as a kid my mother played her records of Swing and Big Band music around the house. She played a Banjo Ukulele when she was growing up. I didn't realize till I was older how much I knew and enjoyed the music of this era.

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