On this day
  • 1975: Queen live on A Night At The Opera Tour at Apollo, Glasgow, Scotland.
  • 1977: Queen live on News Of The World Tour at Sports Arena, San Diego, USA.

Read all 5 events for 16 December at diary.QueenSongs.info

Flash's Theme

Composer: Brian May
single:
Meter: 4/4, slow down for Bridge 2
Key: a minor / C Major
Form:

  Intro | Chorus (AAAA) | Bridge 1 ||
        | Chorus  (AA)  | Bridge 2 (Bridge 1) | Outro 

The harmony of the song reveals this song was written by May. Note the extensive use of pedal bass and the chord progressions with chromatic ascending inner voice.
The form is simple, but also strange: we don't have a proper verse and also the first Bridge sounds like an alternate chorus. While the opening chorus iterates the title phrase four times (with variants) the second chorus consists of just two in order to prevent the song turning too repetitive.
The rhythm makes use of some disorienting accents. The last Bridge slows down.
The arrangement dominated by piano and pumping bass and vocal and guitar harmonies also play important roles. The lead vocal is harmonized throughout except the Bridge 2. There is a special instumental noise which sounds like slowed down piano but the speed-up check reveals that it's not piano.

Intro
On the album the track starts with a dramatic quote from the film. The GH version skips it and starts with the music.
The intro is built on a the slow crescendo of pumping A note. In the first two meausres only the drums can be heard, then the joins bass guitar and the piano in octaves respectively.

| drums | -    |

| A1  | -   | -   | -   | -   | -   | -   | -   |   
| 1st | -   | -   | -   | -   | -   | -   | -   | 


Chorus
The opening chorus consists of four cycles of close variant refrains each with two melodic phrases. The melodic phrasing of the firts part of the cycles is 1+2+1+2 with overlapped transition between the last vocal phrase and the guitar harmony-phrase and also at the end of this guitar phrase. The guitar phrase in the last cycle is extended by one measure.

a:
| Am   | Am G/A | G/A   |
| i    | i VII  | VII   |

| F9/A | D  A/C# | D  G/B || Am...
| VI   | IV V/IV | IV VII || i   

It's worthy to look at the rhythmical design:

1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1   
*           * *           * * *****                       : lead vocal
*             *     *   *       *     * *   *   *         : piano and guitars 1st and 3rd time
                                *     *   *   * *         : guitars 2nd time, and 1st time in second chorus
                                *     *   *   * *   *   * : guitars 4th time, and 2nd time in second chorus

The cycles are intervened by spacers of pumping bass (A-nat) of varying length: 4, 11, 4 measures respectively in the first Chorus, four measures in the second Chorus. These long spacers provide the background of more quotes off the movie. The second chorus has only two cycles. Four would result in a more repetitive feel.

Bridge 1
After the first chorus we have Bridge with climactic rising lead vocal. The phrasing is 2+2+4. The phrases parallel eachother with the third phrase being extended. The start of the section has a weak feel of modulation to C which is more strongly established in the second Bridge.

| C   | G/B  |
| III | VII  |

| Dm  | A/C# |
| iv  | V/iv |

| F   | C/E  | Fmaj7 D/F# | G E7/G# || Am 18 measures  
| VI  | V    |  VI    IV  |VII  V   || i

The chord progression in m6-9 is a cliche that was a favourite of Antonio Vivaldi (eg. "Mandolin Concerto")
The section is followed by a re-intro like long (20 measures) spacer with more film quotes and a dissonant oscillating sirene-like guitar harmony.

Bridge 2
The second Chorus is followed by a concluding slow down Bridge 2 which harmonically a close variant of the first, mood-wise it is close to "Play The Game". It starts in the relative Major key shortly it modulates back to the home-key. The vocals are not harmonized here. The second half of the section is sung by May (double tracked). The guitar in the first two phrases doubles the bassline in octaves. The second half of the section adds harmony guitars.
The fourth phrase stops with a fermata chord.

|   C  | G/B  | C   | G   |
C:  I  |  V   | I   | V   |
a: III | VII  | III | VII |

| Dm   | A/C# | Dm   | A/C# |
a:iv   | V/iv | iv   | V/iv |

| F    | C/E  | Fmaj7 D/F# |  G E7/G# |
| VI   | V    | VI     IV  | VII  V   |

| Am   | G(sus4)| F    | -    |...
| i    | VII    | VI   | -    |...


Outro
The fermata ending of the Bridge 2 section fades briefly to a brief A-nat note switching to pulse mode. Similarly to the intro we have a crescendo pulse exploding into a single "Flash" after which the pulsing A-note fades out with more quotes off the film and also the bass piano-like noise is dropped in.