"Dream A Little Dream" Simple Arrangement
Welcome to this tutorial on Dream a little Dream. It was first recorded in 1931 by Ozzie Nelson and his Orchestra, it was written by Fabian Andre and Wilbur Schwandt, with lyrics by Gus Kahn.
Most people know and recognise "Dream A Little Dream". It’s so delightful in its melody and lyrics. In this lesson we will jump straight in and get familiar with it’s melody, form and harmony.
Notable Versions Of The Tune
The version by the Mamas and the Papas in 1968 is perhaps the best known version and it has been recorded 60 times. This is one of my favourite versions of the tune because it’s a jazz standard with an equally strong pop tradition.
Then there is also the Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong jazz version – a must listen-to recording of this great tune.
First We Will Learn The Melody
We’re going to learn this tune in the key of C. This is the key from the Mama’s and the Papas version, and for many of us this is the version we are most familiar with.
This is also a great key for my particular voice. One thing that stands out right away is the extensions that happen in the melody. In measure 4, we have b9 as part of our melody. So this will play later in out our voicings and choice of voicings.
Revisit The Vocal Exercises
We will start by running the melody of the whole tune with our dominant hand, and sing along with "La" or "oo" to see how this key feels for your voice, as well as to speed up the memorisation process through internalisation of the melody.
If you don’t consider yourself a singer, or enjoy singing at all, then you can try the "hummmm" with it.
Understand The Form & The Harmony
So by now you’ve detected the AABA form. Our A Sections are very similar except for the last 2 measure of each 8, changing slightly in timing, but the same chords and notes.
The Key Change In The Bridge
The bridge goes somewhere else and it’s a fascinating key change to Ab, which is the b6 of the key. This is one of the fun surprises that makes this tune so enjoyable to sing and play.
Let’s jump into the harmony now. We’ll use root position triads in the right hand, and then root bass in the left-hand.