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Sebastian: Schedule of my analyses05 Jul 2004 13:37
Here`s the order up to 60:

1. In The Lap Of The Gods
2. My Life Has Been Saved
3. Las Palabras De Amor
4. I`m In Love With My Car
5. It`s A Hard Life
6. All God`s People
7. Who Wants To Live Forever
8. Ogre Battle
9. Tie Your Mother Down
10. Sheer Heart Attack
11. Flash`s Theme
12. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
13. Keep Yourself Alive
14. Don`t Stop Me Now
15. Another One Bites The Dust
16. Radio Ga Ga
17. Princes Of The Universe
18. The Show Must Go On
19. Party
20. Good Company
21. Under Pressure
22. Misfire
23. Seven Seas Of Rhye
24. Mother Love
25. Someday One Day
26. My Fairy King
27. We Are The Champions
28. Leaving Home Ain`t Easy
29. Football Fight
30. Tenement Funster
31. Keep Passing The Open Windows
32. Friends Will Be Friends
33. Scandal
34. Life Is Real
35. Rock It
36. Bicycle Race
37. All Dead All Dead
38. Vultan`s Theme
39. Back Chat
40. The Invisible Man
41. The Millionaire Waltz
42. Innuendo
43. `39
44. Liar
45. It`s A Beautiful Day
46. I Want It All
47. One Year Of Love
48. Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon
49. Hammer To Fall
50. Killer Queen
51. Action This Day
52. Somebody To Love
53. Don`t Try Suicide
54. Spread Your Wings
55. Save Me
56. The Miracle
57. Bohemian Rhapsody
58. Dear Friends
59. Get Down Make Love
60. These Are The Days Of Our Lives
1.Sebastian 29 Jul 2004 17:14
What`s intended to be analysed: songform, songwriting trademarks, instrumental & vocal arrangement (studio & live), how complex/simple & how popular is it. And each song has additional details, this way:

In The Lap Of The Gods:

- Interesting Details: The amazing quantity of details in common with Bo Rhap
- Sound Files: Piano arpeggios, piano arpeggios at 3/4 tempo, Rog`s screams live
- Not Confirmed Data: Intro Chords

My Life Has Been Saved:

- Interesting Details: Weird keyboard playing. It`s not programmed but it`s not usual Fred stlye, so it`s probably not him
- Sound Files: Keyboard parts
- Not Confirmed Data: How much Dave affected the songwriting & arrangement

Las Palabras De Amor:

- Interesting Details: Very beautiful additional voices by Brian
- Sound Files: Brian`s uncovered voice ornaments, piano, acoustic guitar
- Not Confirmed Data: In which instrument did he write it (I think guitar)


I`m In Love With My Car:

- Interesting Details: Cascading Harmonies, Lots Of Guitar Layers, High notes without falsetto, low notes sung by Rog
- Sound Files: Double tracked voice, choirs, guitars
- Not Confirmed Data: Where was it recorded and when

It`s A Hard Life:

- Interesting Details: Flamenco cadence (I didn`t expect to find it there), no synths
- Sound Files: Guitar choirs in last chorus (reminds me of Killer Queen), uncovered vocal harmonies (from the long mix), guitar solo
- Not Confirmed Data: I remember Brian said in Starlicks that he wanted to play `x` scale, but Fred asked him to do soemthing else. I`m so dumb not to have transcribed the exact quote back then

All God`s People

- Interesting Details: Many cross-references with other Mercury tracks, harmonically
- Sound Files: Very low voices, very high ones (I think there`s a head voiced high E in there), guitar harmony
- Not Confirmed Data: How much did Mike contribute

Who Wants To Live Forever:

- Interesting Details: Combination of orchestra and rock band, nice vocal duet, great multi-tracking effect at the last chorus
- Sound Files: Orchestra, Rog`s voice, Fred`s harmony at the end of the first verse
- Not Confirmed Data: Who played the percussion, the orchestra or Roger...

Ogre Battle

- Interesting Details: Very Freddie-esque track (many people qualify this one as "Freddie trying to be Brian")
- Sound Files: Screams, backwards effects, BBC intro
- Not Confirmed Data: How much did it develop from the `72 live versions. It`d be very interesting to find that out

Tie Your Mother Down:

- Interesting Details: Change of arrangement from chorus to chorus, nice live feeling, simple but not boring track
- Sound Files: Roger singing at astronomical heights, bass-fills at the end, hard-to-notice harmonies here and there
- Not Confirmed Data: Place of recording

Sheer Heart Attack:

- Interesting Details: Weird phasing effect, nice vocal duet, hard to drum track
- Sound Files: Rog`s voice, drum solo, guitar effects
- Not Confirmed Data: How was the backing track done, how was the song in 1974


To be continued...
2.Bohardy 30 Jul 2004 18:20
Regarding Hard Life, if you're suggesting (which to be honest, I don't think you are) that the uncovered vocals are only in the extended mix, then you're wrong as both segments of vocals that are spliced together to create the 'new' vocals in the extended mix are present in the original, namely in the middle/build-up of the guitar-solo, and right at the end of the song before Freddie's "I did it for love".

Also, I personally disagree about the existence of the Flamenco Cadence in this song. To me, the second chord is more Eb/Bb, rather than a Bb. I haven't really checked, but from my memory, the only notes you have in that section are Eb (piano RH and guitar) and Bb (bass and piano LH), making this chord a simple diad that (to my ears) is more suggestive of Eb than Bbsus4 (which is what the Bb chord would have to be).

I can't remember Bri's exact quote about the solo, but he definitely said that wanted he originally wanted to do "got in the way of the vocals".

Regarding ITLOTG, I should shortly be posting my sheet-music for the intro piano, which should clearly illustrate all that I've been saying about it, and provide you with definitive chords, and illustrate my point that at no point increase the amount of notes he plays each measure (apart from in 2 measures where 1 extra note is almost accidentally added).
3.Sebastian 31 Jul 2004 15:21
It`s A Hard Life - Yes those harmonies are in both versions. However, the extended mix offers them a capella.
4.Sebastian 05 Aug 2004 21:18
So far this is the `My Life Has Been Saved` commentary, contributions/corrections are welcome:

This track had been widely considered to be Brian`s before he and David Richards cleared it`s John`s. Analysing the song, it`s not surprisingly from Deacon, considering the similitudes with its forerunner, One Year Of Love: no intro section (My Life Has Been Saved starts with a solo, One Year Of Love with a verse, both preceded by a very short "set-up"), use of all and only the six diatonic chords (One Year Of Love throghout the song, My Life Has Been Saved in the solos), the piece ends with a variation of the same section that started it. The use of two cycles is reminiscent of his early songwriting though (Misfire, You`re My Best Friend, You And I, Spread Your Wings, In Only Seven Days), while the use of the six diatonic was also featured in Friends Will Be Friends (first phrase of the verse) and Who Needs You (in the chorus, only that in this case the secondary dominant was added so it was the six diatonic plus a "bonus" chord).

There are two verses (not particularly Deacon-esque, all four put just two verses a lot, but, in fact, the one who did it less was Brian), but the last one is located right after the solo, which is fairly common for John: Misfire, Spread Your Wings, In Only Seven Days, Need Your Loving Tonight, Back Chat, I Want To Break Free. Another One Bites The Dust can be also an example if we replace "solo" by "interlude". The verse uses five of the six diatonic chords (i.e. all except iii, more or less the same as the verse of In Only Seven Days), another John-esque touch. Interestingly enough, the progression of the bridge (V>I>V>I) is, in reversed form, the same as the first short solo of Who Needs You (I>V>I>V).

The only "alien" chord of the song is C (in the key of D), appearing in the spacer. It`s a secondary subdominant (IV of IV, or bVII); we don`t know for sure how much did Freddie (or David Richards, who reportedly helped John to record the demo and the keyboards) affected the songwriting. It`s known (thanks to commentaries by all the band) that Freddie used to re-arrange John`s and Roger`s tracks, both lyrically and musically, and adding "little pieces". The use of little connectors is something Mercury was definitely very trained at (because of his big number of acyclic compositions), as well as the general "art" of advanced and clever songforms. So it would be possible that Freddie wrote that short spacer to give fresh air to the track and avoid it from being predictable (another usual trademark from him, both in songs and albums as a whole). The bVII chord isn`t so rare in John`s songs anyway (Spread Your Wings, In Only Seven Days), so either options (with or without Freddie`s input) are theoretically possible. The key shift (between the solos and the rest of the track) is probably David Richard`s idea; it was an intelligent and simple way to give a more rising up effect (notable in other Dave`s co-arrangements: Show Must Go On, Heaven For Everyone).

Those details mentioned before help to subtly suggest it`s John`s, but there aren`t definitive evidences. All those features are more or less generic of ballads (Let It Be also uses the six diatonic). There`s a I>V/6>vi progression too, which is very common in those kinds of pieces (Piano Man, Dust In The Wind, More Than Words...), and both Freddie and Brian used those too: Love Of My Life also has the six diatonic chords ("bring it back bring it back...means to me"), Save Me also uses the five (i.e. omitting the iii) in the verse. The only one that could be "ruled out" is Roger, whose balladic approach is different (not once he used the six diatonic, he mostly used four, omitting ii and iii). So the actual confirmation that the track is John`s is the fact that people who were there said so.


This is about `Las Palabras`:

Brian`s songs are harmonically simple. Las Palabras De Amor uses only four chords (and ocasional inversions of them). During the verse only the three basic (tonic, dominant, subdominant) appear, just like in Hammer To Fall, Tear It Up, Put Out The Fire, Dreamer`s Ball (just the verse, and omitting the passing chords), Long Away, Let Your Heart Rule Your Head, China Belle, Sleeping On The Sidewalk (the whole song), Lost Opportunity, See What A Fool I`ve Been. Overall, the four chords used in all the track (I, IV, V, bVII) are the same as in Fat Bottomed Girls and the chorus of his solo track Why Don`t We Try Again (except for the last phrase).

The form is very interesting: there are three sections, each one done three times (classic Brian). All repetitions are varied except for one of the verses, which is identical to the first. Cross-references: `39, Good Company and Long Away also have three times the intro, located at the beginning, middle and ending of the song, always altered; Brian would make a more evolutioned version of that feature in Too Much Love Will Kill You: four varations, also in key points of the song (begining of each one of the three cycles, and end of the track). Since this one`s a very generic ballad the structure consists in alternating the sections: ABC ABC ABC. Brian compensated the use of such simple trick by putting the variations (so it`s ABC A`BC` A``B`C``) and making an interesting arrangement, changed in each repetition.


`I`m In Love With My Car`:

Very few chords, as in most Roger`s songs: 5, 4 of them major (check any of his solo albums or the material he wrote for `The Cross`). Interestingly, the four major chords are the same as in The Loser In The End. More surprisingly: the 5 chords are the same 5 of Modern Times Rock N` Roll!. The riff rhythm (1+2+2+2) is the same as in Tenement Funster. So what we`ve got is failure to diversificate. But, Roger was intelligent enough to arrange such different songs out of using the same tools. Drowse is also very similar to this one.

About the structure, it`s a one-bridge model, as well as all the songs he wrote until 1976, and many of the ones he composed afterwards: Rock It, A Human Body, Future Management, Magic Is Loose, Action This Day, Strange Frontier, Killing Time, Don`t Lose Your Head, Heaven For Everyone, Invisible Man, These Are The Days Of Our Lives, Happiness, Foreign Sand, Old Friends. Most sections use the same progression, again something Roger-esque (used extensively in his solo career too, Surrender for example).
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