Long Away

Composer: Brian May
Meter: 4/4 Key: A Major
Form:

      Intro (AB) | Verse (AACC'A')/ Link (AB) | Bridge (BBDBE) |
          | Solo (Verse'(AACC')) |                
| Verse          | Link (B)  | Bridge'(BBDB-ext F)|

"Long Away" is a light folk-rock influented song sung by May, the obvious pair-song of 39'. Compared to 39' the song is more repetitive, the guitars are electric twelvestrings, the bassline is melodic. The folk influence is reflected in the dominance of the dominance of simple chords: I, IV, V, vi in the guitarfriendly A-Major key. Beside these we have also some borrowed chords. Both lead vocal and the backing track make heavy use of off-beat rhythms.
The songform is built up from two cycles intervened by a verse-derivant guitar solo section.


Intro, Link
The intro plays the two main guitar hooks that are built into the verses and bridges respectively. The first of these (referred as A-riff) is played by just one guitar the second one joining for only the last chord (shade of 39" outro). The riff itself starts with the famous D/A lick which also incorporates the opening tune of the verse. It's rhythm is heavily infected with off-beat accents.

A:| A D/A | A E   | D   A | A     |
| I IV  | I V   | IV  I | I     |

This A-riff has many variants throughout the song, but its first half remains more or less the same.

The second half of the intro exposes the bridge opening riff (referred as B-riff) played twice. It is a combination of pedal point on both bottom and top and a step-wise descending inner line from the 5th degree to the 1st, off-beat most of the time.

/------- 2x--------\\
| A  sus4 | A  2>1 |
| I       | -      |

Bass and drums enter for the downbeat.

The first verse is
In the middle of both Verse-Bridge cycle there is a link section. The first of these plays both A and B riff respectively. The A-riff variant:

| A-riff...  | D6    | G#halfdim/D|
|            | IV    |            |

The second link plays only the B-riff after a fermata chord and tamburine shake.


Verse
The verse has simple tune. The phrasing is 4+4+4+4+5 AACC'A' where the last melodic phrase overlaps the subsequent link section. The A-phrases are accompanied by the A-riff variants. The C-phrases are characterized by melodic bass line. The section closes with a bVI > bVII > I cadence (see also in Drowse).

| A-riff ... E |
| I...       V |

| A-riff       |

| D     | Bm7   | E sus4 | A sus4 |
| IV    | vi    | V      | I      |

| D     | Bm7   | E5,7,9 | E(6)   |
| IV    | vi    | V      | V      |

| A-riff ...    | D      | Fmaj7 (G5) || A...
|               | IV     | bVI  (bVII)|| I

The second verse starts with only one palm-muted rhythm guitar which directs our attention to the pumping bassline played one octave higher than elsewhere. The third and fourth phrases add backing harmonies, the second half of the third phrase adds a tigth lead vocal harmony while the final words of the fourth phrase are doubletracked.


Bridge
This bridge does not creat harmonic contrast. The phrasing is based on two measure units: 2+2+2+2+2 BBDBE. The lead vocals are harmonized, except the last phrase which is sung by Taylor. Note the second B phrase is harmonized differently from the other two with purely parallel harmonies. In the third and fifth phrase we find again off-beat  rhythms in the lead vocal and the accompaniment respectively.

B-riff x 2
| D     | -  D6  |
| IV    | -      |

B-riff
| C/D G/D | D E Asus2 |
|bIII bVII|IV V I     |

 The second bridge alters the ending after the third B-riff with a cascading blocks of harmony ("... with My Car", "...Breath Away"). The song closes on the tonic fermata. There is a descending chromatic line from A to E bult in  the chord progression of the altered ending.

m.7
| A     | -     | -maj7 | -7    |
| I     | -     | -     | -     |

| D     | Dm/F  | Asus2...
| IV    | iv    | I 

solo
The solo section is an instrumental verse-variant omitting the last phrase. The first two phrases play only the A-riff with pedal point added on tp to the D/A lick. The A-riff variant in the first phrase:

| A-riff...     | D   Bdim/D | A     |
|               | IV   "iv"  | I     |

The second A-riff ends with an off-beat scale fragments

The lead guitar solo itself starts in the third phrase. It has fragmentary structure with some counterpoint, some parallel harmonies built in. The final guitar harmony is a nice example of what they call cluster. Together with the bass and rhythm guitar we can hear the combination of six notes: F# G# A B C# D

| C#, A, G#, F# : cluster chord of harmony guitars
| B             : bass
| D             : guitar chord

This crazy harmony fades out during the first bars of the final verse.