“I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” Tutorial
Welcome to this jazz standard tutorial on tune “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was”. This is a somewhat unusual tune due to a number of reasons:
Firstly we are following an A1-A2-B-A2 form but we have a 4 bar extension at the end which makes the form 36 bars long. Jazz standards most commonly follow a 32 bar form and so it’s important not to forget about those additional 4 bars – particularly if you are playing the tune with other musicians!
The only other tune that we’ve covered on PianoGroove that has a 4 bar extension is “The Nearness Of You” which I’ve referenced below in the Related Lessons. It’s a good idea to group tunes together by their similarities – particularly as your repertoire expands.
Another unusual feature of the tune is the ambiguous tonality. The tune wanders through G Major and E Minor without ever firmly establishing and sticking to a key center. Finally, the tune ends on a complete 251 in G major to bring the song to a close.
Creating an Interesting Arrangement
We start by playing through with some simple voicings outlining the roots, 3rds and 7ths with the melody on top. We’ll then add in extensions, alterations and embellishments to add interest to the repetitive chord changes.
The A section repeats 3 times, and so being able to arrange those 8 bars in a number of different ways will help you create a more versatile and interesting arrangement.
We start by with an abstract melody, similar to Barry Harris’ introduction to the tune in his arrangement. Then we explore inner voice movement fo the 2nd A section. Finally, we utilise the higher registers of the keyboard for the final A section.