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Sebastian: In The Lap Of The Gods analysis08 Jul 2004 19:56

You`re all invited. Any suggestion or ideas about the design is welcome, since I want to make sure how I`m going to do it before I continue with more articles. so far the design looks a bit weird since the other analyses haven`t been made yet. This is the foundation of a "coming late" new version of my website, with full analyses of the songs and instruments.

Enjoy it.
1.PD 09 Jul 2004 20:51
Keep up the good work, Sebastian!

This song is one of those that my heart is bleading for having never analysed it.
2.Sebastian 10 Jul 2004 08:36
Obviously I have to re-take it until I get it right, but first some overall comments. This morning I spent a lot of time writing again the introduction. It`s pretty important for the estethic and first impression of the whole analysis. so this is it, so far:


Enclosing an accomplished harmonic and structural singularity and a notably elaborated arrangement, In The Lap Of The Gods belongs to one of Freddie`s most clever compositions. Certainly this was a decisive step in his evolution as songwriter. Nevertheless, it remains a very underestimated creation, having the misfortune of being overshadowed by other better promoted Mercury pieces of the same era. Album reviewers often fail to examinate its musical value, and even the band`s followers or regular listeners tend to disregard the entire after-intro portion of the song. Ironically, the mentioned portion was performed on stage no less than eighty six times, while the first few bars of the track (which are averagely well-appreciated by fans and critics) weren`t included in the live versions.

As a matter of fact, the introduction is doubtlessly a peerless breath-taking component that could be conceived as if Freddie had succesfully tried to outplay the elite progressive/art composers at their own game. But "the rest" of the piece doesn`t sound so stirring unless it has grew in the listener already. Shortly afterwards, Mercury would learn how to bypass the arduousness of creating rich and intelligent tracks that would be probably too "dense" for most of the audience (which is the biggest obstacle of the previously mentioned progressive/art rock genre), and accurately demonstrate that the "complex can`t be ear-pleasing" concept is totally spurious. And Bohemian Rhapsody, this song`s direct offspring, would be the peak of this unique and striking Freddie-esque approach.

Meanwhile, he was still in what can be acknoledged as a training period. Probably the main cause of this song`s under-rating is the the context itself. `Queen II`, without having considerable success in the market, had gained a lot of respect among fans and musicians as a cohesive album. `Sheer Heart Attack` on the other hand had two hit singles (one of theim being double A), and three of Queen`s most distinguished and popular no-hits (Brighton Rock, Stone Cold Crazy and In The Lap Of The Gods...Revisited), leaving the remaining seven tracks of the album relatively unfocused. Still, some of those seven had been noticed for some extent because of their particular qualities, or the band member`s personal appreciation. This song was excluded from that group as well, perhaps due to the fact that it didn`t have apparently anything "special"; if fans/listeners wanted a memorable melody, they went to the Revisited version (usually qualified in reviews as "much better"), and if they liked complexity they preferred the previous album acyclic compositions, in which the geniality was more immediately notable.

The low level of concern that this track received is easily verifiable reading reviews or favourite-song polls. Greg Prato`s comment on the `Sheer Heart Attack` album mentions all of the songs contained there, except for She Makes Me and this one. Most of song-by-song commentaries conclude the slight reference to it as "not great", "not brilliant" or similar verdicts. Moreover, so far there`s only one known interview in which In The Lap Of The Gods was mentioned by the band.


I of course have to conclude it but I still don`t know how. Ok, leaving litherature outside for a sec, I have some musical thoughts I`d love to discuss. Besides what Bohardy pointed out in queenzone, I`m not sure about the keys I labelled.

I think the song starts in the key of Dm. It`s usual for some bands like Beatles to start the songs that open any side of the album with different chord to the tonic one. I haven`t thought about how much Fred did it, but off the top off my head it wasn`t so often. Bo Rhap starts in Gm I think...

Anyway, I guess after the scream is over then the key is shifted to Cm, but for D and E phrases I`m actually not sure. Perhaps the new key is Eb and then Bb and then Eb again? or all the time in Eb? Or perhaps it`s already C... the progression of E phrase reminds me of The End`s end. Beatles cross-references should also be included, maybe that can be a better use for the right frame. Perhaps I should discuss the phrases (or sections) one by one too.... so much to correct/add yet

The key in F phrase I think is already C, just like in November Rain, the tonic appears later. Then it stays in C, I think, until it`s shifted one step down. For the "chorus" I wrote F as the key but I`m not sure about either this or the outro. Any help is well-received.

Thanks to everyone
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