Read all 6 events for 15 December at diary.QueenSongs.info
Composer: Brian May
Meter: 4/4, shuffle beat
Key: d-minor, F-Major
Intro | Verse | Verse | Chorus | | instr. Verse | Chorus | instr. Bridge I - II (Intro') | | Verse | Chorus - tag |
"All Dead, All Dead" is Brian May's first piano ballad accompanied and sung by the composer himself. The broken chord style is also used in the left hand piano part which is something Mercury rarely did. The form (AABABCAB) a combination of the ballad and the one-bridge form modells. The harmony uses the relative-key modulation to creat contrast between sections. The pace is slow enough to tempt one to transcribe in 2/4.
The arrangement shows less is more aesthetics. Bass and drums are absent during the verses and the first half of the Chorus. The vocal harmonies (only in the choruses) are changing cycle by cycle (see in many Queen song, eg. "Who Needs You").
The intro is arranged for solo piano. May originally wanted to sing there with the lyrics "memories, my memories" - included in the album sleve. The intro with it's adlib rhythm, the three octave piano run in measure 2 (with handcross?), dissonant chords show some jazzy influences (shades of My "Melancholy Blues").
F: | Fmaj7 | Bb | F | | I | IV | I | | Bb F | C C Bb Db | | Bb 2>3 | F Am Gm * | * = Db-F-G | IV I | I iii ii *
The four measure verses have AA'BC phrasing with 1 measure phrases (two if we chose 2/4 meter) with upbeat. The harmony features C# (3rd of A - a leading tone to D) while the lead vocal's tune features both C# and C-natural (the minor 7th of the current d-minor key). The section shows a closed harmonic shape:
d: | Dm A Dm | | i V i | | Dm A Dm | | i V i | | Dm C F | | i VII III | | Gm A Dm | | iv V i |
There is an instrumental Verse for solo piano. The original accompaniment with microscopic changes is played one octave higher.
The last Verse has melancholic partly ad-lib slow tempo, both phrases 1 and 2 close with "heavy" bass note, the third phrase closes with a nice momentary release of the sustain pedal. The last phrase with double tracked vocals.
The backbone of the harmony is the predominantly scalar bassline creating lots of (first) inversions.
The phrasing is ABCABDEFE 1+1+2+1+1+2+1+1+1 with a not resolved ending on subdodominant. The last chorus closes the harmony with ...EFEF phrasing and plagal cadence (i.e. IV > I) resolution.
F: E F|| G A F | : bassline C F|| Gm F | V I|| ii I | | Bb C F | | IV V I | | F E D C | Bb C D E F | G A F | : bassline | F C Dm - | Bb C F | Gm F | | I V vi | IV V I | Bb C F | | IV V I | | C C# D... : tune | F A Dm Am/C | Bb | | I V/vi vi iii | IV | | F | | I | | Bb/F | | IV |
The first phrase is arranged for solo piano and vocal harmonies. Bass and drums held back until m.4. except in the last chorus which start with heavy punctuation supported by John and Roger. The vocal harmonies include some low F notes.
The tune of the title phrases makes use of ragtime-esque syncoption in contrast with the bassline walking in straight steps. This effect is held back until the bass:
m.4 1 .2 .3 .4 .1 .2 .3 .4 .1 .2 .3 .4 .1 * * * * * * * * * * **** : bass * * * * : lead vocal
Instrumental Bridge I-II:
This 9 measure instrumental interlude can be divided two subsection, the first of which is dominated by piano pedal bass combined with parallel third motions. The multitrack guitars combine the pedal point with fade in sawtooth shaped figure faded in.
d: | Dm | | i | | A | - | - | Dm F | | V | - | - | i III| F: vi I |
The second subsection is a variant of the last measures of the intro hence the return of the F-Major key. The arrangement dominated by guitar harmonies including some varispeed tracks, the piano is softly mixed.
m6. | Bb | | IV | | F | | I | | G - - A Bb - | : inner voice | Bb A G F D C | : inner voice | D - - E F G | : inner voice | Bb... | F Am Gm A+,7 | : chords | IV | I iii ii V |
The two lower guitar counterparts are crossing eachother on at the 3rd beat in m.8. (note the F vs. E incidence). Brian in his interview told he liked this kind of harmonies better like the parallel ones in Dancer.