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PD: Ogre Battle03 Aug 2008 07:06

The first new analysis for almost one year.

 Title: Ogre Battle
Composer: Freddie Mercury
Meter: 4/4
Key: a-minor, G-Major, A-Major, B-Major, D-Major
Form:

Intro I - II rev. - II | Verse | Chorus |
                             | Verse | Chorus |
                    Intro II || Bridge 1 I - I | Battle interlude | Bridge 2 |
                    Intro II |

Ogre Battle is a good example for Mercury's early guitar-orinted songwriting style just like "Liar" or "Great King Rat". Not just the chords but also some riffs and fills (probably not all of them) were created by him.
The first half of the song is cyclic, the second half is rather acyclis except the reprised intro figures and the transposed up repeat of Bridge 1. The harmony is relatively simple compared to what we except from a song using five different keys.


Intro
The song starts with flanging windblow-like noises fading into percussive crescendo of reversed played cymbal and gong that finally switches abruptly to a scream harmony. (Shades of "Hi Ho Silver Lining" by  Jeff Beck). The second subsection consists of two sub-subsections, the first of which is the second one played backwards. More precisely the reversed intro variant (including the harmony and the gong) is taken from the end of the song. There is also a third intro variant in the middle of the song.
 The switching between the backwards and forwards mode is relatively smooth as the surrounding music is almost symmetrical and sounds similar in both direction.
The forward mode riffs for some measures use the 3+3+3+3+2+2 rhythm pattern (see also in "Liar" or "Silver Salmon"), which seemingly also works well in reversed mode. The harmony singing ending also uses 3+3+3+3 pattern.

| A     D (/#F) |
|    G: V       |

The vocal harmony in the outro closes with Em/B chord wich also opens the song.


The BBC version and the live versions usually started with guitar feedback and tremolo bar extravagancas, a typical Hendrix influence (see also "Blue Jay Way" - Beatles).
The metallic flavored riff work is predominantly in single note mode (a-aeolian) and stepwise moving thus no harmony table. The bass doubles the guitar.


Verse
The verses have a simple tune with 4+4+4+2 foursquared A B A'B' patterned phrasing. The chord progression is simple featuring the doo-wop cliche (1-6-4-5) and something that is similar to the "Queen-cliche" 1-5-6 with te scalar descending bass.

G:
| G   | D/#F | E*/B | E5   |
| I   | V    |      | vi   |

| G   | Em   | C    | D    |
| I   | vi   | IV   | V    |

| G   | D/#F | Bm7  | E5   |
| I   | V    | iii  | vi   |

| G   | E3   |
| I   | vi   |

The second verse brings many melodic changes compared to the first. Th guitar work is completed with a tremolo dive (1st prase) and two lead guitar fills in the second half of the section.


Chorus
This section doesn't have a proper chorus flavor, partly because the harmony is open at both end, and centered around the ii (Am) chord.
 The phrases start with guitar figures, followed by the actual vocal phrase except the first phrase in the first chorus. The guitar figures all start one eigth after the downbeat of the actual phrase. The last phrase with descending tree part harmony uses the 3+3+3+3+2+2 rhythm pattern.

| *   | D    |
|     | V    |

| *   | Am   |
|     | ii   |

| *   | Am   |
|     | ii   |

        3 +3 +3 +3  +2 +2   
| *   | Am G Em G/D C1 B1 | D  | -  | -  | -  |
|     | ii I vi I   4  3  | V  | -  | -  | -  |

The second Chorus shortens the final D chord to three bars before the re-intro starts.


Bridge 1
The re-intro in the middle of the song introduces the second alf of the song with a drum roll. The Bridge 1 section itself starts with an instrumental link:

| A5  | -   | -   | -   |

The vocal part of the Bridge 1 consists of two subsections. The first one is in A-Major, which is repeated in B-Major. The phrasing is 4+4, on the level of subphrases we can see the classic ABAC structure (see "Killer Queen").

A:
| A   | -   | -   | -   |
| I...

| A   | -   | -   | -   |

The second subsection is also introduced with four instrumental bars.

B:
| B   | -   | -   | -   |
| I...

| B   | -   | -   | -   |

Battle
After the Bridge 1 section the harmonic centre is pulled up to D-Major. The harmony uses pedal point/bass creating a droning harmony throughout the section. Beside more lead guitar fills, tremolo bar extravaganas, pentatonic bass guitar figures, battle screams creat the feel of a battle during the 30 bars of the section. The closing repeated guitar motif is reminiscent of Brian's legendary bagpipe guitar solo in "Gimme The Prize".


Bridge 2
As the fight is over the music is quiter as well.

a:
| A(m) | -   | -   | -   |
| i    | -   | -   | -   |


| Dm7  | -   | F G | G#  |\
|            | D D | E   | counterpoints between guitar, guitar, bass
|            | C B | E   |/
| iv   | -   | *   | V   |

This second phrase overlaps the next one. The arrangement adds static guitar harmonies.

| Am  | -   | Dm  | -   |
| i   | -   | iv  | -   |


The last vocal phrases before the outro:

/- 2x -\
| Am   |
| i    |

| Am  | -   | Am Em |(Em)  | -   |
| i   | -   | i  v  | -    | -   |

The Am to Em change foreshadows the closing of the song.


Outro
The recycled intro figure close the song on a non tonic chord. 

PD 2008 july-august



Post was edited on 09 Jan 2009 05:44
1.Sebastian 03 Aug 2008 14:11

Isn't 'Hi Ho...' a song by The Attack, rather than The Yardbirds?

Other than that, very nice analysis, and finally the 'II' album is complete. As far as I know, Freddie composed the song on acoustic. During the 'battle', there are some reversed tom fills reinforcing the 'progressive/psychedelic' vibe. The way the interlude begins is very reminiscent of 'Great King Rat'.

The song ends on Dm (sort of an inverted picardy third), which is a surprise ending, a bit common for the era (Great King Rat, Liar, White Queen). Sort of makes you wonder if the main key was actually D (Mixolydian) all along. The drumming's very Metallica-esque, even though it hasn't got the famous double-kick.

Live version adds a double-time section during the battle.

Which one's your next? Are you going in order?

2.PD 04 Aug 2008 05:43

The "Seven Seas" still missing from the album analyses.

hi-ho: the Jeff Beck version starts with the fade in effect- corrected.

 the non-tonic ending (actually it's Em) is indeed an important thing to notice.



Post was edited on 04 Aug 2008 06:03
3.Sebastian 04 Aug 2008 13:32

Wow, my memory's failing quite a lot lately!



Post was edited on 04 Aug 2008 15:08
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