Machines (or 'Back To Humans')

Composer: Roger Taylor and Brian May
Meter: 4/4
Key: G Major modal
Form:  

      Intro I-...| Verse AAB | Chorus | Bridge -
                 - Verse AAB | Chorus'-ext - CC - Tag - Outro (..CC)|

Machines is a double credited song it counts as one of their most experimental works in one group with the later "Don't Lose Your Head". It's relatively hard to analyse because the harmony is full of incomplete chords, and the form is also vague. The backing track is the usual hard-rock ensemble with lots of synth and synth drums added (unifying element for the whole album).
The rhythm department makes extensive use of 3+3+2 groupings of 1/16ths figures with a strong triplet-feel.

Intro
The intro consists of numerous subsections most of which overlap eachother.
The first of these is a two measure four in the bar figure. The sound is achived by the G string picked behind the bridge of the guitar. Second measure adds synth drums.

|(D1) | -   |

The enter of the rhythm guitar and bass marks the start of the next subsection.

| G*  | /D  | G*  | -   |

The triplet-driven riff is built on the G5 powerchord with 5>4>5 inner line motion and will show up in the chorus.

The next subsection adds the title word robotic talk (see also Radio Ga-ga).

| F5/G | -   | G   | -   | 

The next 11 measure subsection adds lead guitar.The backing track is dominated by synth prolonging the G bass note throughout. The lead guitar fills are building up in length (shades of Radio Gaga):

m1: just the start of the figure.
m2: detto
m.3-4: The complete fill with AA' inner form. The A' fragment is one octave lower than A.
m.8-9: AA'-ext.

| G1  | -   | -   | -   | -   | -   | -   | -   | -   | Bb5 | Bb5/F |
| 1st                                                 | bIII| -     |


Verse
The last two measure of the intro can be threated as the part of the Verse beacause the same fill precedes the second subsection. This result the overall form of the Verse: instr - A - instr -  A' - B

| G5  |     |
| I   |     |

The "A" susbsection starts with simple antidirectional harmony singing. Afterwards it turns into unisono, then parallel thirds.

| F   | G   | : lead vocal
| D   | C   | : harmny vocal
| G   | G   | : bass
| G7  | C/G |
| I...

| F5  | C5 Bb5 | -    |
| bVII| IV bIII| -    |

The second instrumental fill features more synth percussion mimicking machine noises.

| G5  | -    |
| I   | 

The second phrase of the second "A" subsection changes the harmonic rhythm.

| G7  | C5/G |
| I...

| F5  | -   | C Bb  | -    |
| bVII| -   |IV bIII| -    |

The last subsection is just one phrase:

| F   | -   | C   | -   |
| bVII| -   | IV  | -   |

The backing track of the second Verse changes much.
The starting 3+5 rhyrhm guitar figure is overlapped with the end of the bridge. The first vocal phrase replaces the harmony vocal of the opening phrase with a bVII5 chord in m4 (dropped for the second A phrase). The harmonic rhythm is also changed from m5, while the intervening instrumental phrase with the 3+5 figure is reduced to one measure.

| G1  | F5   |

| F5  | -    |C5 Bb5 | -    |
|     | -    |IV bIII| -    |

| G5  |
| -   |

| G1  | -    |
| I   | -    |

| G1  | -    |C5 Bb5 | -    |
|     | -    |IV bIII| -    |
...


Chorus
We have two choruses each with individual lyrics. This is the climactic part of the song reflected in the higher sung notes. The phrasing is 2+2+4+2, the first three phrases are paralelling each other. The drums and the bass enter for the second phrase. The section closes with the alternate title words harmonized where the backing chords stay unresolved until the verse opening 3+5 figure.
The whole section is built upon the 3+3+2 rhythm pattern.

| G*  | -   |
| I   | -   |

| A*  | -   |
| II  | -   |

| F   | C5  | G F   | -   |
| bVII| IV  | I bVII| -   |

| F   | -   || G  | : Synth
| F G | G   || G  | : vocal harmony


Bridge
The harmony of the Bridge is vague. Instead of chords we have an unique synth arpeggio part (courtesy of Fred Mandel), what envelepos the harmony in G chord even thoughout....
The distorted lead vocal changing pitch in every measure is using some interesting modal notes.

| C   | D   | F   | Bb  |
| 4th | 5th | b7th| b3th|

| F   | G   | Eb  | Eb - D |
| b7th| 1st | b6th|b6th 5th|


Chorus-Outro
The development of the outro after the second chorus is relatively complex. Lets see it step by step:
The alternate title phrase is antiphonally repeated (Shades of "...My Car"). Note the dissonant double vocal glissando in the end of the third, semi instrumental phrase.
 vocal harmony

| G    | -    |

| G    | -    | 

|(Bb5) | G5   | F5  | -   | G5   | -   |

The next susbsection can be threated as a Chorus 2 with a catchy vocal tune with 2+2+2 AAB form.

| G1  | -   |

| G1  | -   |

| G1  | -   |

It is instantly repeated with the B vocal phrase superposed to the first A phrase. The third phrase is varied (B') and the signature 3+3+2 riff is started playing. A further variant of the intro lead guitar figure is played twice and two lead vocal phrases are sung.

m5
| G*  | G*  |

| -   | -   | -   | -   | -   | -   |

The song instead of ending here with a fade out, lifts up again with the G > A chord progression wich is reminiscent of the Chorus. The first two measures are featuring Brians signature A > D/A lick...

| A D/A | A D/A |
| II... | -     |

then he switches back to the 3+3+2 riff nad some lead guitar fills are played.

| A*   | -    | -    | -    |
| II   | -    | -    | -    |

| F5   | C4   | F5   | C5   |

| G5   | G5   |

The next two measures add the title phrase with some stereo-hocket riffing (see "Fight From The Inside").

| G5   | G5   |

The G* riffs return here:

| G*   | G*   |

The next measures start with the harmonized "Back To Humans" phrase and some  lead guitar figures.

| G    | -    | -    | -    | -   | -   | -   |

This mostly instrumental phrase closes with the "Back To Humans" phrase, this time with much more emphasys.
As the closing harmony fades out Chorus 2 is fading in. It is repeated the same way as a minute before...

| G    |...

...only the backing track is stripped down to "machine" noises.