Dinette and Dinah - are these the same song?

Charles MeadowsCharles Meadows WV✭✭✭ ALD Original, Dupont MD50
in Repertoire Posts: 432
So I've usually seen Dinah in G and Dinette in Ab, but the chords look almost the same. Are these the same song?


  • I'd suggest that these share the same form, but aren't the same song.
  • Svanis1337Svanis1337 ✭✭✭
    edited April 2016 Posts: 424
    Dinette is based upon the changes of Dinah, like many songs are based upon the changes of "I got Rhythm" (Rhythm Changes). It's possible it was composed out of necessity due to strict laws during the occupation of France; playing American and "Negro Music" was not popular with the Nazi elite, however if it was composed in europe with european lyrics it wasn't as frowned upon. I can't confirm these claims but it's possible Django just invented a different melody over Dinah one day and decided it sounded different enough to be considered a whole different tune. And he was right!

    The Nazis quite liked the jazz in Paris. Many a regular soldier didn't care for the jazz ban and went and listened to jazz concerts during leave. Perhaps none more so than "Doktor Jazz", Mr. Dietrich Schulz-Köhn, who was photographed with both Django and several men of what the Nazis would call "Inferior races".
  • Wim GlennWim Glenn oƃɐɔᴉɥƆModerator 503
    edited April 2016 Posts: 1,082
    It's a different tune. Dinah came first. It's called a contrafact when you make a new melody over familiar changes. A few other famous examples off the top of my head ... "donna lee" over "back home again in indiana", monk's "evidence" is over "just you, just me", "lullaby of birdland" is "love me or leave me", bird's "scrapple from the apple" is honey suck my nose (different B section), and of course there's a tonne of them over I got rhythm.

    There's the difference stuart mentioned, but also in Dinette you should play I IV I changes for the first 3 bars, whereas on Dinah you should just hang on the I.

    The pun is cute, I had always thought it was just another woman's name "Dinette". But when I was living in Paris I was told that this word actually means a pretend dinner that children might make with their dolls, like when you set the table with fake little plates and stuff .. it's called a "dinette"
    Charles MeadowsNone
  • Bill Da Costa WilliamsBill Da Costa Williams Barreiro, Portugal✭✭✭ Mateos
    Posts: 221
    Wim Glenn wrote: »
    monk's "evidence" is over "just you, just me"

    Monk's logic apparently was:
    just you, just me = just us = justice = evidence.
  • HemertHemert Prodigy
    Posts: 263
    Just for reference: with the Rosenberg Trio I have played both songs with exactly the same chords. Only the theme and the key changes.
  • Wim GlennWim Glenn oƃɐɔᴉɥƆModerator 503
    Posts: 1,082
    Out of curiosity, did you play the Dinette changes over Dinah, or was it the other way around?
  • cjlcjl
    Posts: 43
    Definitely not the same song, but certainly a new melody over existing changes - just like the tunes listed above (and hundreds more... )

    Another well known tune that uses the Dinah changes is Calvin Bose's R&B classic Safronia B...

    ... and 'contrafact' ..... isn't this just a made up name that only came into use when it appeared on Wikipedia a few years ago? Do any of the older jazzers here recall it from back in the day?

    I used to use jazz musicians over thirty years ago in a musical genre that is almost defined by its use (or over use) of pre-existing chord structures and bass lines, whether using original backing tracks or recording updated cuts of them .... I never heard any of them use that word back then!
  • StringswingerStringswinger Santa Cruz and San Francisco, CA✭✭✭✭ 1993 Dupont MD-20, Shelley Park Encore
    Posts: 411
    Classical guys have used the term contrafact for years. It is not a "jazz" term. Back in the 70's, jazz guys in NY (the world capital for jazz) used the term "Head". Now that term is used for the melody. I have played Dinah and Dinette in many different keys (a pro level jazz musician should be able to play hundreds of tunes without a chart in any key). While the changes that we use for each can be used for either, the Dinette changes, with the additional tri-tone sub do sound more "diatonic" with Dinette than with Dinah. But it works either way and is a matter of personal taste.

    Jazz musicians started using contrafacts long ago, mainly to avoid paying royalties, but also because for some jazz musicians, it gets boring playing a familiar melody for the 10,000th time. And then there is the challenge of executing a difficult contrafact. The Ferre' Brothers are the masters of playing difficult contrafacts.

    Check them out doing this one (it is "out of Nowhere Changes")
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass
  • kimmokimmo Helsinki, Finland✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 160
    Hemert wrote: »
    Just for reference: with the Rosenberg Trio I have played both songs with exactly the same chords. Only the theme and the key changes.

    Yes, that's what Django did as well. The E7 is there only in the head, in the solos the chords are exactly the same, Dinah in A-flat.
  • Craig BumgarnerCraig Bumgarner Drayden, MarylandVirtuoso Bumgarner S/N 001
    Posts: 794
    As a player once told me: "Dinette is just like Dinah only a little smaller"
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