You Take My Breath Away

You Take My Braeth Away
Composer: Freddie Mercury
Meter: 4/4
Key: c-minor, Eb-Major
Form:

            acapella Intro | piano Intro (AA) |
          | Verse - A |
          | Verse - A | Bridge - A |
    | Solo (Verse I - Bridge I') - Bridge II - A | Outro

This song is a piano-ballad, the follower of "Love Of My Life" and precedessor of "My Melancholy Blues".
Piano is the only instrument of the accompaniment, only in the solo section appear guitars. Mercury makes heavy use of the sustain pedal (which of course does not mean that he just holds it pushed down throughout...). The homekey is Eb/cm, a favourite of Mercury. The form is subtly clever with cross-quotes between the sections, especially the solo section which combines both verse and bridge.
The live version was shortened being started with the piano intro and closed after the first bridge.


Acapella Intro
The song starts with an acapella intro, which can be divided to three subsections each one starting with a solo vocal phrase followed by a harmonised phrase(s). The solo phrases change only their last note which is walking upwards along  the notes Cm triad (C > Eb > F) cycle by cycle.
The metrical framework of the melodies is vague, so the harmony-scheme will be based on phrases or phrase pairs.

| Cm ... Ahalfdim |
| i               |

| Cm ...  Gbdim7  |
| i               |

| Cm  B7  Ab  B   |
| i  #VII VI #VII |

The first phrase quotes it's second phrase from the main piano-hook of the song.
Harmony-wise the most interesting subsection is the third. Following the first solo vocal phrase we have three harmony blocks overlapping and fading into eachother going through interesting chord changes. While two of the chords are native in the homekey of the song the B7 and B chords agressively prevent one to feel an established homekey here.


Piano Intro
Following the acapella intro we have a more traditional instrumental intro that exposes a piano-hook which returns at the end of every vocal sections and also at the end of the first phrase of the verse. The hook is preceded by two bars of Cm7 chord.

| Cm7  | -    |
| i    | -    |

Then the piano hook is played twice in predominantly arpeggio-mode, the second time with pedal bass added to the halfdim-arpeggio. The subphrasing of the three-bar hook phrase is AAB.

/------------ 2x-------------\\
| Cm Dhalfdim | -     | Cm   |
| i  iihalfdim| -     | i    |


Verse
We have two verses in the song moroeover the solo also starts off as an instrumental verse. The first verse has only solo piano and vocal, the second verse adds backing vocal harmonies. The opening chords can be simplified as Cm chord played throughout colored with step-wise ascending parallel thirds.

c:
                  /------- hook --------\\
| Cm  *  | Cm  *  | Cm... |      |      |
| i      | i      | i...
                     (6/4)
| Bdim7 Cm | -     | Bb  Eb |
| "V"   i  | -     | VII III|
                 Eb: V   I  |
 
 | Ab(6)    | Bb7   | Eb/G   | Gbdim7 | Fm7  | -    |
Eb: IV      | V     | I6/3   | biiidim| ii   | -    |
                                    c:| iv   | -    |

/------- hook --------\\
| Cm... | -    | -    |
| i...

The first phrase and the whole section closes with the piano hook. The subphrasing of the second phrase is melody-wise AAA, chord-wise AAB. The last chord is prolonged longer thus the 6/4 bar. The lead melody changes here for the second Verse. This altered  fragment is reminiscent of a guitar motif off the end of "Bohemian Rhapsody".
The chord progression of the third phrase applies chromatic bassline from the tonic on. The subphrases of the third phrase are closing on the last eighth of the measures creating a kind of syncopation. The last melodic phrase is the title phrase that closes on the downbeat of the assigned harmonic phrase.


Bridge
We have one normal and one half intrumental Bridge. Except the first melodic phrase the lead vocals are either harmonised or backed with harmonies.

| Bb (Ab/Bb)| -     | -     | Eb    | -    |
| V    IV   | -     | -     | I     | -    |

| Ab     | C7 Gdim7 |
| IV     | V/ii     |

| Fm 7  /G  /Ab | Abdim7 |
| ii            | ivdim7 |

| Eb/G   | Gbdim7  | Fm7   | -    |
| I      | biiidim | ii    | -    |
                 c:| iv    | -    |

/------- hook --------\\
| Cm... | -    | -    |
| i...

The harmony of the fourth phrase and the subseqent piano hook with the title phrase are taken from the end of the Verse. The lead melody of the fourth phrase is a distant variant of that of the Verse.


Solo-Bridge
The solo in fact starts like an instrumental verse. The second melodic phrase echoes the first with prolonged guitar harmony chords. Similar motif-echoing we can find in the followng phrase as well.

/------- 2x ------\\
| Cm  *  | Cm  *  |

From here the harmony switches to the Bridge. This transition is executed so smoothly that one can hardly realise. From the five measure second phrase of this Bridge the vocal mode returns but without the lead vocal which is held back until the Abdim7 bar (m.9). From here the harmony arrangement is different from that of the first Bridge.


Outro
The song has an odd outro. After the last piano-hook fades away, a strange looped  vocal harmonies fade in and finally lands on a four-note chord: C5,7,9 which clears out the preceding chaos.