Father To Son

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

      Intro | Verse | Chorus |
            | Verse | Chorus |
   re-Intro | Bridge 1 I - II | Solo (AAAAAAB - AAAAC)|
            | Verse | Bridge 2 |
                    | Chorus'| Chorus'| Chorus'| Chorus'| Chorus'| Chorus'| Chorus'|

"Father To Son" is a power ballad with balladistic and heavy parts. The form of the first half resembles to "Liar":
intro > two cycles of verse - chorus > re-intro > new sections. The second half of the song is mostly acyclic with a repetitive ending of seven choruses in a row fading slowly out. The live version ended with Bridge 2.
The homekey is G Major with sections shifting the tonal center to F and E respectively.

Intro
The song is segued from the outro of "Procession" with antiphonal pulsing guitar beeps. Music-wisey the song starts with falling arpeggios. Guitar chords join in m.3. From this point on the harmony is a combination of stepwise descending bass (shades of White Queen, the next track on the album) and double pedal point on top. The bass uses the minor scale creating a minor tonality. Note the minor-Major crossrelation between m5 and m9 (Dm vs. D).

g:
| Gsus2 | -    |
|  i    | -    |

| Gsus2 | -    | Dm/F  | -    | D#*   | -    | D    | -    |
|  i    | -    | v     | -    |       | -    | V    | -    |

Verse
The 16 meausre verse has square phrasing (4+4+4+4 A B A'B). The two subphrases of the first phrase are distinctly arranged with slow rhythms of accompaniment, especially in the third Verse where this phrase is slowed down and accompanied by piano. The rest of the section is accompanied by simple multitrack guitar harmonies building a massive wall of sound.
The second phrase features the Queen-favourized cliche: I > V > vi with descending bass. The dotted harmonic rhythm im m.9-12 returns in later songs of May ("Las Palabras...", "Dreamers Ball").
The use of Major ending chord (E) instead of the diatonic Em (vi) has a Pickardy third flavour - another cross-reference with "White Queen".

G:
| C    | -    | D    | -    |
| IV   | -    | V    | -    |

| G    | D/F# | Em   | -7   |
| I    | V    | vi   | -    |

| C    | -  G | D    | -  c |
| IV   | -  I | V    | -  IV|

| G    | Bm   | E    | -    |
| I    | iii  | VI   | -    |

The second Verse changes the tune and the repetition pattern (A'B'A B").

Chorus
The eight measure Chorus has four melodic phrases (2+2+2+2, ABBC), the last two can be threated as one. The second one is paralelling the first. The phrases start on downbeat except the last one with an upbeat. The vocals are three part harmonized in parallel thrids to eachother.

G:
| G (7) | -    |
| I     | -    |

|C(maj7)| -    |
| IV    | -    |

| Am (7)| -    |
| ii    | -    |

| D     | -    |
| V     | -    |

The second chorus has altered lyrics. The song ends with series of choruses fading out. Lyrics-wise they creat an alternating ABABABA pattern. Some changes: the lead melody of the first three phrases are identicla of the top harmony part of the first chorus and sung unisono. The lead melody of last phrase is one is identical with that of the first chorus, but sung one octave higher and the harmonies are arranged one inversion higher. The closing dominant chord is changed to tonic creating a closed harmonic shape. The form is changed to a more repetitive DDDC' (from ABBC).
This chorus with its simple parallel diatonic vocal harmonies offers a good target for harmony and apoggiatura analysis in context of the actual chords:

first choruses                                            the same in melodic degrees in contex
  *   *   *   *   *    *     *    : emphasys              of the actual chords:
| G A B | G A B | G A  B | B A  | : top harmony vocal     | 1 2 3 | 5 6 7 | 7 1 2 | 6 5 |
| D E F | E F G | E F# G | G F# | : middle harmony vocal  | 5 6 7 | 3 4 5 | 5 6 7 | 4 3 |
| B C D | C D E | C D  E | E D  | : lead vocal            | 3 4 5 | 1 2 3 | 3 4 5 | 2 1 |
| G     | C     | Am     | D    |                         | G     | C     | Am    | D   |

the final choruses:
| G A B | G A B | G A B  | E D  |
| 1 2 3 | 5 6 7 | 7 1 2  | 6 5  |
| G     | C     | Am     | G    |


As you can see the emphasized notes are dominated by the notes of the actual chord notes (1st, 3rd, 5th degrees - this is the usual way) except five places. Note the third phrase (Am) of the variant chorus, m7th and 2nd degrees are on both emphasized beat.

 The closing choruses are superimposed with semi-improvised guitar solo. You can identify the fragments that must be more or less composed and the ones that must be improvised. Remarkable how much the composed fragmets are superior to the improvised ones in terms of catchiness.
 Both the guitar solo and the rhythm department make frequent use of triplets (both slow and fast). The melodic fragments of the guitar solo are intervening the that of the lead vocal frequently with overlap. Guitar feedback fades in and segued to the next track "White Queen".


Bridge 1 I-II
After the re-Intro we have a Bridge-like middle section with two longer subsections.
The first of these shifts the tonal center to F major. Over "pedal" chord we have three phrases of descending parallel harmonies, joined by ascending harmonies from the second phrase with half tempo. These harmonies resemble in style to both "Good Vibrations" (Beach Boys) and "Day Tripper" (Beatles).
The stereo beeps are borrowed from the intro.

| F   | -   | -   | -   |
| I   | -   | -   | -   |

| F   | -   | -   | -   |
| I   | -   | -   | -   |

| F   | -   | -   | -   |
| I   | -   | -   | -   |

| G#  | -9  | -#4 | -   |
|bIII | -   | -   | -   |

The next subsection shits the tonal center to E Major. We have five four-measure phrases (ABB'BB") where the vocal phrases fall on the first half of the harmonic phrases and the last measure add some guitar riff-work.

| E   | -   | -   | D   A |
| I   | -   | -   |bVII IV|

| E   | -   | -   | D   A |
| I   | -   | -   |bVII IV|

| E   | -   | -   |riff Asus4 |
| I   | -   | -   |     IV    |

| E   | -   | -   | D   A |
| I   | -   | -   |bVII IV|

| E   | -   | D    | -    |
| I   | -   | bVII | -    |

Solo
This is like an instrumental development of the preceding Bridge. The backing track is based on four-measure riff-phrases (AAAB). The riff is substituted with pentatonic bass figures during phrases 3-4. The second phrase of the guitar solo has some randomized fragments achived by using the tremolo bar while playing simple pentatonic figures.

| E*  | E*  | E*  | D   A  |
| I   | -   | -   |bVII IV |

| E*  | E*  | E*  | D   A  |
| I   | -   | -   |bVII IV |

| E5  | E5  | E5  | A    |
| I   | -   | -   | IV   |

| E5  | E5  | E5  | D  A/C# |
| I   | -   | -   |bVII IV  |

| E*  | E*  | E*  | D   A  |
| I   | -   | -   |bVII IV |


| E*  | E*  | E*  | D   A  |
| I   | -   | -   |bVII IV |

The last phrase slows down (just virtually) and ends with a dramatic guitar feedback.

| E5  | -   | D   | -   | C   | -   | -   | -   |
e:i   | -   | VII | -   | VI  | -   | -   | -   |

Then the intrumental solo goes on with some stereo trickery and some short fragments echoed.

E:
| E5  | E5  | E5  | D   A |
| I   | -   | -   |bVII IV|

| E5  | E5  | E5  | D   A |
| I   | -   | -   |bVII IV|

| E5  | E5  | E5  | D   A |
| I   | -   | -   |bVII IV|

| E5  | E5  | E5  | D   A |
| I   | -   | -   |bVII IV|

The last phrase is similar to the slow down phrase of the previous subsection.

| E5  | -   | D   | -   | Cmaj7| -   |...Verse overlap
e:i   | -   | VII | -   | VI   | -   |
                      G:| IV   | -   |...

Bridge 2
We have a 14 measure alternate Bridge following the last Verse. The first two measures phrase with a single prolonged chord is a melodic (more precisely: rhythmic) variant of that of the Chorus. A seventh is also dropped in the harmonies.

| G   | -7   |
| I   | -    |

| C   | -  G | D   | Em   | Asus4 | A   |
| IV  | -  I | V   | vi   | V/V   | -   |

| C   | -    | Am   | -    | G   | -    |
| IV  | -    | ii   | -    | I   | -    |

The third phrase is characterized by triplets and stepwise ascending melodic phrases. Drums holds a pause of approximately three measures.