Scandal

Composer: Brian May
Meter: 4/4
Key: G Major, (e-minor), F-major
Form:

| Intro I-II-III |
| Verse - Bridge 1 | Verse - Bridge 1 |
| Bridge 2 | Verse'| Solo 1 (Bridge 1') |
| Spacer 2 (Verse) | Bridge 3 | Solo 2 (Verse") |

Intro = Bridge 1' - Spacer 1 - Verse (intrumental)

This is the song on The Miracle album that reminded many listeners of the "old" Queen: catchy hook and melodies, a melodic guitar solo. The form is far from being model-like: there's no Chorus, the Verse features the title phrase, and we have three different Bridges. Two of these appear only in the second half of the song. The melody content of the song is enough for 2-3 average FM pop-songs. The harmony stays close to the home key (and its relative minor); there is only one short excursion to F-major. Freddie on the lead vocal uses many rubato phrasing in the Verses as a touch of passion.

Walkthrough

Intro I-II-III
The entire intro is over forty seconds and 19 measures (7+4+8) long. Intro I is mainly a variant of the second half of Bridge 1 faded in: the chord progression is the same, but the rising melody is rather different. Along with the fade-in, the thickening arrangement creates a climactic effect, "resolved" for the Intro II. The second subsection of the intro is a four measure spacer with pumping eights on the bass, and a slowly released tremolo dive on the guitar. Bass and drums enter in this subsection. Intro III is actually a Verse without vocals. It is built up from two iterations of the main hook (multitrack guitars, no synths) of the song that parallel its title phrase. This hook features off-beat accents:

1 2 3 4 1 2...
* *  * ** *

In the Intro the key is not yet properly established, as neither the G chord nor the Em chord - both of the possible tonic chords - can be heard.

Verse
The phrasing is AA', 2x4 measures. The harmony is built upon two chords (Em and D) and added notes. The hook's progression:

G/e:
 | Em (sus4, -, sus2) | -  D | C (sus#4, -, sus2) | -    |
G: vi                 | -  V | IV                 | -    |
e   i                 | - VII| VI                 | -    |

At least we run into the tonic of e-minor, while the G chord makes its debut in the Bridge just a few measures later. Later in the song the key of G finally turns out to be the home key.

Bridge 1
The Bridge 1 is not distinctly separated from the Verse. The form is AAB with 2+2+5 phrasing. In the first measure the lead vocal uses E, which makes the chord sound like C. As it was mentioned, the third phrase lacks both the tonic (G) and its relative minor (Em).

G:
/-------- 2x -------\\
| Gsus4 G | Dsus4 D |
| "IV"  I | V       |

| C/E | D/F# | C/G | A/B    | -   |
| IV  | V    | IV  |IV-of-vi| -   |

Intro I sustains the last chord two measures longer and adds descending arpeggios with Em and E(5,4) chords. Second Bridge 1 adds single-note backing vocal and the final chord slides up to B5 (VII) to back up the upbeat of Bridge 2.

Solo 1 is also built upon the Bridge progression, and similarly to Intro I the last chord is sustained for four measures. We can find those descending arpeggios (and unisono bends) as well. The solo (omitting the "intro" notes) starts with a melody variant of the lead vocal of Bridge 1 (like in Killer Queen, for example).

Bridge 2
The form of the lead vocal during the first four measures is AAAA'. During the second four measures the key is F-major, and the lead guitar imitates the lead melody.

  /--- 2x ---\\
  | C   | G  |
G:| IV  | I  |

  | Bb  | -   | F/A    | G(6)   |
F:| V   |     | I      | V-of-V |
            G:|flat-VII| I      |


Verse'
The phrasing and chord progression are the same as in the other Verses, but the lead melody is different: it is basically three steps lower than the one in the other Verses, and closes with a "new" subphrase overlapping the next coming Solo 1. The (9) in the last measure is an appoggiatura provided by the lead vocal. In the fifth measure the texture of the appogiaturas (G, E) over the Bb chord resonates with those in the intro-motif over Em chord.

Spacer 2 I-II
It is sixteen measures long, and the phrasing is ABB'B". First four measures (I) have spare harmonic but heavy rhythm support. The other three feature the main riff slightly modified. The Verse-phrase is played three times instead of the more predictable two or four, but the main surprise is that this outro-like section is followed by another section.

Bridge 3
Apparently Brian thought two bridges were not enough, so he presented us with a third, concluding bridge. It is nine measures long (4+5).

G:
| G   | D   | Fsus2 | C/E |
| I   | V   |V-of-IV| IV  |

| Cm/Eb | Gsus4 G | G-dim/C# A7/C# | C    | D    |
| iv    |    I    | Ib5            | IV   | V    |

Measures 3-8 feature descending chromatic motion in the bass (F>...>C). Long (6-8 half-steps) chromatic scales were Brian's trademark, but he usually preferred the ascending ones (The Prophet's Song, Leaving Home Ain't Easy). Note that it would have been possible to start this descent from the first measure (G) if the bass for D in the second measure was chosen to be F# instead of D. The closing IV > V chords are deceivingly followed by ii (Em) chord instead of the tonic. The "Deeper and deeper..." motif nicely reflects to the "over and over..." line from Verse'. These last two measures have appoggiatura notes in the lead vocal (maj7th and min7th respectively).

Solo 2 - Outro
This section has similar backing to the Verse, but the first Em chord is sustained for four measures instead of two. The fade-out ends around the sixteenth measure.