Kay Swift’s “Nice to Be Nice” is a song you have never heard before. It was never published or used in a show. It was only a melody with no accompaniment that sat in box #9 at Yale University. Intrigued by the title, I decided to request it from Yale’s Kay Swift Papers, and though it’s fairly short, I do enjoy it.
Songs that only exist as sketches require some imagination to try to decipher what the composer had in mind harmonically, rhythmically, etc.. I have done my best to flesh out the song with chords and in this case, to lengthen the song a bit, I added an intro and a short vamp at the beginning, based on Swift’s melody. I changed the key from G to C to help me determine chords more easily, and since very few people will ever play this, I left it in C to make it easier for me to play. Plus it sounded better in C.
I must admit that it has an unusual chord progression from C to E to D, but Kay Swift was all about being original in her compositions, so I am not too surprised by this aspect of the song. In general, though, I am fairly conservative in my choice of harmonies. If she would have been more extravagant in her choices of harmonies for this song, I’ll let others decide.
Download the fake-book style sheet music to “Nice to Be Nice” here: Nice to Be Nice