List of users

Path: Queen Songs - Forum - Song Analysis: Step On MeBookmark and Share


--- Only registered users can post a message ---pages 1
PD: Step On Me22 Oct 2008 05:52

The analyis is coming soon.
I remember how the rhythm of the title phrase tricked me:

"The song starts with incomplete triplets,"

"the "step on me" measures have fifth-beat and duration equal to 3/4. The song is in 4/4."

1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 1...
* *   *   * *   *   * *   *

5/5 beat compressed in 3/4 in mathematical form means 15/20 ???
Well, forget it! The solution is easier, it can be transcribed in straight 4/4.


1.PD 23 Oct 2008 14:20

Title: Step On Me
Composer: Brian May
Meter: 4/4, shuffle beat
Key: D-Major
Form:         Intro | Verse - tag | Verse - Chorus - tag | Title - Solo |
                                  | Verse - Chorus - tag | Title - Solo'|
                                  | Verse - Chorus - tag (2x) |

This is one of the very first Brian May compossitions that survived in recorded form. It was written and first recorded in the "1984" era in 1967 march. The Smile version doesn't show any major changes except piano is added.
The single guitar track combines rhythm and lead style. The guitar solo is melodic (not bluesy or pentatonic), but songwriting-wise we can't find much of the later trademarks such as pedal bass. The form is AABABA patterned.
Tim Staffel sings lead vocal and plays the bass, the piano's credit is unknown since their keyboardist was fired well before the recording.

The two measure intro quotes the ending of the verses in unisono mode between piano, bass and guitar. Only the final piano lick brings in a bluesy minor third which is absent from the 1984 version. The rhythm is very hard to transcribe especially in the intro where the shuffle beat is not established yet.

1 .2 .3 .4 .1 .2 .3 .4
* *   * *  *   *  *  *
G F#  G F#  G  F# Gm

 Verse - Chorus
The verses and choruses are not sharply separated. Except the closing tag we have 4x4 measures foursquared phrasing with AABB' repetition pattern. Each phrase starts on tonic and closes on a non-tonic chord. The chorus feel of the B phrases are created by the repeated lyrics including the title phrase, and much of the vocals are three part harmonized. The harmony features all six diatonic chords plus the iv. The ending is figure is two parted here in parallel thirds.

/--------------- 2x ---------------\
| D D/C# | F#m   | Em     | G  Em7 |
| I      | iii   | ii     | IV ii  |

| D  A   | G     | F#m    | Em7    |
| I  V   | IV    | iii    | ii     |

| D  A   | G     | G3 F#m3| G3 F#m3 Gm |
| I  V   | IV    | IV iii | IV iii  iv |

The last two bars are repeated as instrumental tags. Compared to the intro the lead tune harmonizes the bass in parallel thirds (tenths). The last verse adds a second tag as well, with vocals that closes the song with a fremata.

Both solo sections are preceded by a title pharse repeated three times. This short sub-section is too short to call chorus, but it has two point of interests:
1) The antidirectional counterpoint between lead vocal and bass -  a very basic one.
2) The hard to transcribe rhythm. For first it sounds disorienting, especially if you forget that we are in shuffle-beat mode.

1 .2 .3 .4 .1 .2 .3 .4 .1
* *  *   * *  *   * *  *

As you can see we have a 3+3+2 structure.

The solo acts like an instrumental bridge, where the harmony omits the tonic. Another interpretation that the song modulates to the relative minor (b-minor) key. Was it really something conscious? Maybe. But it's still interesting that a rooky songwriter uses such an "advanced" technic. The homekey re-establishes with a strong chain of fifths on the turn for the next verse. The tune of the melodic solo is very close to the that of the "1984" version. The second solo is also variant of it.

/------------ 2x ------------\
| Bm   | F#m   | F    | Em7  |
| vi   | iii   |chrom.| ii   |

| F    | Em7 A |
|chrom.| ii  V |


PD. 2008 october


Post was edited on 09 Jan 2009 05:58
pages 1