This duet is based on one of George M. Cohan’s (1878-1942) most popular tunes, “I’m A Yankee Doodle Dandy,” which made its first appearance in his 1904 Broadway musical, Little Johnny Jones. The tune includes a direct musical reference to the much earlier tune “Yankee Doodle,” which dates back to colonial days. That tune was initially used by British officers and militia to describe the disheveled appearance of the American militia prior to and during the Revolutionary War.
This duet arrangement is in the style of the vibrant and upbeat early-20th century popular music, such as you might have heard in Vaudeville, Tin Pan Alley, or late Minstrel, and the eighth notes should be played “straight” or even – not swung. The eighth note remains constant throughout. The measures in 6/8 accent the melody in a more pronounced manner than they would if they were notated in 3/4 with the melody syncopated. Have a fun Independence Day holiday and enjoy the duet!
For a PDF of this duet see Online Extras.