List of users

Path: Queen Songs - Forum - Song Analysis: songwriting details that surprised meBookmark and Share


--- Only registered users can post a message ---pages 1
PD: songwriting details that surprised me11 Jan 2004 12:59

Since its start the song analysis project provided quite a few surprises for me.

A list of these:

Brighton Rock:
- the rhythmical anomalies, still it does not sound THAT complex.
- the number of unusual tricks in context of canons.
- the spiral chord progression (live version)

39': the changing vocal harmony arrangement, especially the harmony part that jumps over TWO voices. Something like this but with guitars can be found in Who Needs You. The ending of the last Chorus.

Teo Torriate: crossing inner voices in the harmony.

March Of The Black Queen: the "B" section with stand alone phrase/variant structure. Polyrhythm. Number of keys used. The B>D>F progression.

These Are The Days: the most surprising was the four measure percussion loop carried forward where the phrasing was not four-squared anymore.

Save Me: the disorienting rhythms.

Mustapha: extended use of exotic scales and key-centre changes. Also disorienting rhythms.

The Prophet's Song: shifting rhythmic accents. The way how the intro is derived from later sections, and find the same gambit used also in Teo Torriate.

Don't Stop Me Now: the amazingly unique and clever way of how the intro is extended into
Verse and Chorus. Exceptionally high amount of lead melodies.

Bohemian Rhapsody: the extent of motif variants. The polyrhythms in the "Rock" section. The clever modulation from A to Bb. The intro in 9/8 (under debate), the exceptional amount of built in melodies.
The crazy "no no no no no no no" chord progression. The disorienting rhythm of the operatic section.

Love Of  My Life: that half measure piano motif that is very similar to what we can find in
Bohemian Rhapsody. The same album, the same composer. Occassional 3/4 measure. The tonal vaguenes of the intro.

Who Needs You: the surprisingly much subtle details that also appear in other Deacon's songs.
For example the appearance of the "You And I" title motif or the chord progression that appears
years later in "Breakfree".

Need Your Loving: the songform is surprisingly clever.

I Was Born To Love You: the hocket guitar arrangement (solo). I've never expected it to be there.

We Are The Champions: the number of keys used. The bassline is also surpringly melodic if you take a close look at it.

Innuendo: the number of metric changes. Phrygian mode. Septuplet-like rhythms of the lead melody.

Bicycle Race: I didn't expected BR to be what it is: the most complex ever three minute radio hit song, no less! Number of keys, the (half)chorus variant, rhythmic tricks.

Leaving Home Ain't Easy: the 7/8 measures. The form-related similarity with One Vision (Intro-Bridge). Jazzy chords.

Hammer To Fall: the similarity of the riff with Las Palabras.

In Only Seven Days: the jazzy chords, metric anomalies.

Good Gompany: the stunning craftmanship of the arrangement. Cool bassline.

Procession: the extent of harmonic vagueness behind the baroque-esque surface.

My Fairy King: the subtle similarity of the intro with the "Races" album intro.
Note the modulation from D to E. Beatles rarely used this interval of key change.

Crazy Litle Thing: the altered chord progression of the Bridge, that is very similar to "I Only Wanna Be With You". Twist in the rhythm.

My Melancholy Blues: the clever song-form in context of the "copied" genre.

Sleeping On The Sidewlak: I would have never thought that the intro is in the same metric frame as the song and the count-in. Disorienting stuff.

Friends Will be Friends: an extra half measure dropped in.

Tenement Funster: the formal similarity with later Roger songs.

Ride The Wild Wind: a guitar motif in the solo very similar to one in "Liar".

Doing All Right: Form-wise exceptionally complex piece in context of 1968/69 when it was originally written. Brian and Tim for nearly first
trial wrot A Kind Of Magic: only one pre-verse.

Keep Yourself Alive: number of keys, the borrowed chords, the ryhthm of the intro.

Miracle: exceptionally complex form in context of pop singles.

The Show Must Go On: the key changes, and the subtle similarity of the main hook with the "Scandal" hook.

Scandal: long chromatic progression.

Flash: the "Vivaldi" chord progression. metric anomalies.

Good Old Fashioned: the variant of the lullaby-theme.

You're My Best Friend: crosstalk between sections Death On Two Legs: spiral chord progression. Some unexpected chord changes. The syncopated guitar riff behind the solo. Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon: modulation to bV. Number of chords used compared to it's length.

Under Pressure: the backing vocal motif returns later as lead melody.

Action This Day: low voice (D).

Staying Power: the tonal vagueness. Occassional 5/4 beat.

Fat Bottomd Girls: some off beat rhythms.

Princes Of The Universe: the tonal ambiguity of the Intro. The disorienting end of the intro. Sharp side keys in a Freddie song. Complex single.

1.Sebastian 11 Jan 2004 13:54
just to follow the tradition, some surprises, related to my research of course:

Brighton Rock: Probably my favourite bass-line ever. Most people think of this song and immediatly remember the solo, but in my opinion the bass, drums, rhythm guitar and vocal parts are much more valuable, tricky and awesome

39': A very nice counterpoint Roger did at the end of the intro. One Roger is doing some low notes and the other is doing the falsetto screaming so nicely. Also I hadn't noticed until the DTS channels that the song in the studio also had bass-drum and tambourine

Teo Torriate: Nothing particular except for the very interesting counterpoint harmonies

March Of The Black Queen: Some superb piano lines hidden behind the multi-tracked guitar and vocal choirs. But Freddie did play some tricky lines here. In some parts it's a piano duet of two Freddie's, a short lived feature in his songs (Masterstroke - piano and harpsichord-, Leroy Brown, Nevermore - so, so-)

These Are The Days: I was surprised to find out David Richards played the congas. I'd love to know about the musical origin of the track, I bet Roger wrote it in keyboards

Save Me: Brian's harmonies in the second bridge. They were a strong influence for my own 'Let It Be' recording.

Mustapha: Very weird mix. I still think John does those guitar overdubs in the chorus

The Prophet's Song: Aweomse harmonies, and even more exciting acoustic guitar at the end. I love the koto, I'll play one as soon as I get to Japan (I've also thought of trying to contact the guy or girl who gave the toy koto to Brian, it must be so hard but not impossible)

Don't Stop Me Now: Some Freddie-esque harmony arrangement in "supersonic man out of you": high part is kind of plain, and the low part is ascending. Love the effect.

Bohemian Rhapsody: In DTS channels you can hear some excellent Brian's falsetto in "mamma mia let me go". So cool

Love Of  My Life: Nothing special besides the piano solo. It's really wonderful and difficult, not for the actual notes, but for the performance

Who Needs You: The mix is more Beatle-esque than most songs from John.

Need Your Loving: Amazing harmonies. John didn't write so many songs for queen but having the credit to John is, for me, a guarantee for quality. He never let me down with his tracks, he's perhaps the only person from who I love all the songs (except some collaborations with Freddie).

I Was Born To Love You: Very nice feeling, you can picture the band jamming together although that didn't happen

We Are The Champions: The ending is kind of weird.

Innuendo: Each time I love more that orchestral section. It's so clever indeed. I'd love if Freddie sang some low E in the intro and more block harmonies to improve the orchestral feel. I know I will do that in my version

Bicycle Race: Some surprisingly low notes from Freddie in one of the choruses, he doubles the bass-line there, with a cool vibrato.

Leaving Home Ain't Easy: Nothing special

Hammer To Fall: Nice harmonies but the keyboard is unnecesary imo.

In Only Seven Days: The acoustic guitar is wonderful. It's too similar to Spread Your Wings though, maybe Fred should have added a couple of harmony tracks.

Good Gompany: What a great arrangement! Nice progression, I love playing it.

Procession: It's much simpler and easier than I thought, but I'm not dissapointed.

My Fairy King: About what you said, it'd be a good question for Brian if he wrote the intro of this track.

Crazy Litle Thing: Roger singing low noes, just great

My Melancholy Blues: Nice piano solo, easier to play than I thought

Sleeping On The Sidewlak: The harmonies are very well performed, they have that bluesy feel, very nice.

Friends Will be Friends: I wish someday they'll talk more about this collaboration (who wrote what)

Tenement Funster: Good strange mystical feel, similar to what I did in my 'So Fine',  but I hadn't realised until this very moment

Ride The Wild Wind: Clever use of machines and programmed synths. I wonder how much of it was Roger and how much was all of them together.

Doing All Right: Nice harmony arrangement: Fred in the top, Roger in the middle, Brian in the low part. Live it was Roger - Freddie - Brian, and at the end of the heavy section it was Roger - Brian - Freddie
2.wiz eutropio 14 Jan 2004 00:45
Which is the piano measure of "Love of my life" similar to "Bohemian Rhapsody"?
I'm still here, if you want a copy of my book (version 1.1 now!) just write me an e-mail or contact me...
3.BrianMay 14 Jan 2004 09:11
what kind of book?
4.Sebastian 14 Jan 2004 14:34
hi wiz, I'm very interested in your book, can you tell me your mail adress?

btw, I think (not sure thought) PD means the spacer Fred played at the end of the second verse. I do find it similar to Freddie's piano motif that appears in Bo Rhap at one point in the intro, then again as spacer before second verse, and then in the opera section after "monstrosity"

also one particular part of the piano solo is identical to the 'Guide Me Home' first part of the intro
5.BrianMay 14 Jan 2004 15:02
what exactly means 'spacer'
Argh, i hate it that i only know my theory in dutch - hehe

Is it kind of like a connection between 2 parts of a song, for example verse and chorus?
Like after the chorus in We are the Champions, where the piano plays a different part for the next few bars. Cause it would sound weird if freddie would start singing right after the chorus.
6.Sebastian 14 Jan 2004 16:33
I'm no the most appropiate person to answer, but I'll give it a try: the 'champions' one is more like a connector, because it establishes again the key, so it's necesary because the chorus is in F (I think) and the verse is in Cm. I understand spacer as a little section added between two of the "main" ones (e.g. chorus and verse, or two verses), and makes the song more unpredictable and interesting than just verse-chorus-verse-chorus. I don't know how wrong am I here anyway:)

An example is 'Getting Better' between first chorus and second verse, there's a spacer of two measures in which a G chord is sustained. Also in Bangles's If She Knew What She Wants before one of the verses there are two measures of hi-hat.
7.PD 14 Jan 2004 16:57
Those similar measures in question are both half measures and followed by a double line cliche motif.
The one in BoRhap can be found right after the first verse, the one in "Love Of My Life" is two measures after the 3/4 measure in the Verse.

"what does 'Spacer' exactly mean?"
In Queen songs I often run into sections that I cannot call either Bridge, Intro, Outro, Verse, or Chorus. The tipically a few measure long mini-sections that do not belong to either the preceding or to the following section I call Spacer, the longer ones I call Connector. I took these terms from Beatles notes (see a Spacer in "In My Life").

8.wiz eutropio 17 Jan 2004 15:33
My e-mail adress is wiz_e@hotmail.com
In the past two years i've been writing a book about queen music in the years 1973-1980; it contains an analysis of each song of that period seen from a "dramatic" point of view. Now it has been published for academic purpose and it even won a kind of "universitiy prize" for the best work in the last years. Of course, the book is not totally finished (it will never be), cause i'm still adding some particualrities and some things i found out everyday. Anyway, anyone in this forum who is interested (you helped me a lot guys, and the forum has been quoted in bibliography) can write me an e-mail for more info. There's only one problem to solve: the book is in italian only! and it is impossible to translate it because it is too long (over 350 pages...!).
pages 1