In The Lap Of The Gods

Composer: Freddie Mercury
Meter: 4/4 (12/8)
Key: C-Major, F-Major
Form:  

       Intro I-II-III | Verse | Verse' | Chorus - Outro |

This song starts with a relatively long intro followed by two traditional verses and a strange long chorus section. The rare live versions omit the intro and start with the verses. The intro is progressive rock or classical music influenced, the verses are piano ballad, the chorus...

Intro
The multi-subsectioned intro is backed with pseudo-virtoso piano arpeggios in fast triplets throughout.
The first run of chords are built on the anti-diretional counterpoint between Taylor's soprano and the bassline. The chords are arranged for vocal harmonies beside the piano arpeggios. The chords don't establish the homekey, but they settle down temporarly (m.5-10) on Dm where the mode of the lead vocal and fanfare-like guitar harmony also suggest d-minor tonality.

| A         | G    | F#   | E     |(F) : Vocal
| F#        | G    | G#   | A     |(D) : bass
| F#halfdim | G    | E    | Am    |(Dm)

| Dm   | -   | -   | -   | -   | -   |
| i...

The Dm bars (m.5-11) can be subdivided to two two-bar vocal phrases in m.6-7 and m.8-9 (AA) the latter overlapped by the fanfare-like guitar phrase in m.9-10.

The next phrase starts with a parallel chord change (C > Cm) and the shifted down variant of the aforementioned "A" vocal phrase. The backing beat is tad difficoult to tap along (try it out!) especially in m.14-15 where the piano arpeggio pattern changes. The guitar line is rhythmicllly reinforced by tympanies.

m.13
                     G#   C       D#      F#        D#   (Bb)
| C     | Cm    | -     | -     | Cdim7*| -     | -     |

The next two phrases both start with a the same guitar upbeat figure. The vocal phrases are the same, the second time echoed in a lower inversion.

/----- 2x -----\\
| Bb1   | -    | : guitar on downbeat
| Gdim7 | -    | : vocal harmony
| Bbm   | -    | : simplified harmony, what most of us sense

The next phrase is very triumphant vocal harmonies and tympany tremolos. The tympanies are tuned to the Bb an Eb respectively. It sounds like an establishment of the Eb-Major key, but it's very short-lived as...

| Bbdim7 | -     | Eb   | -    |

...the next chord and its ornament (Bbm) turns the harmony ambigous again. The sustained vocal harmony chord fades out almost completly then fades in. (Decrescendo-crescendo)

|   F (Bbm) | -    | -     | -     |

The F chord finally resolves downward (!) to G. For the closing four measures the piano arpeggios slow down and reduced while the harmony vocals fade out. Restrospectively seen the G chord is the dominant chord of the soon establishing C-Major key.

/----- 2x -----\\
| G    | Gdim  | G    | -    | -    | -    |
| V    | vdim  | I    | -    | -    | -    |

Verse
We have two normal verses. The triplet-mode used the intro is changed to normal 4/4 with frequent tempo changes. The phrasing is A A-ext B. In the first verse the first phrase omits the first beat, and m7 is a half measure. The second verse omits these anomalies.
The first verse is accompnied by piano and wind-noise mimicking percussion. Second verse adds bass.

  3/4
| C Cdim C | F    |
| I        | IV   |

| C Cdim C | F  Dm | Am   |
| I        | IV ii | vi   |

          2/4
| Dm F/C | Am | Fm G   |
| ii IV  | vi | iv V   |

The last phrase of the second Verse ends differently:

| Dm F/C | Am    |
| ii IV  | vi    |

For the last two beats the arrangement is completed with drums.

Chorus
The chorus consists of harmonized vocal title phrases repeated shited in different positions. The way how the melodic phrases parallel eachother is reminiscent of "Funny How Love Is". Position-wise the repetition pattern of the two bar phrases is: A A B A B'B' where the third and fourth phrases are intervened by one measure. The melodic phrases close with 3+3+2 syncopation and partly this is what provokes us to apply a double-time tempo change from the chorus on.
The arrangement of the chorus features strummed acoustic guitar, lead guitar throughout with sustained tone and lots of trills, and also some soprano countermelodies sung by Roger. The harmony is ambiguous until m.14 thus no roman numerals.

/------------ 2x -----------\\
| Gm7  |-     | C7   | -    |

| F#dim7 | D7/F# | Gm    | -     |

| C7   | -    |

| Gm7  |-     | C7   | -    |

/------------ 2x ------------\\
| Fm7  | -    | Bb7   | -    |

From here (m.14) we have the second half of the phrases repeated eigth times in a row. The melodic phrases start two measure later compared to the earlier 3+3+2 rhythmized subphrases. Beside the repetitive lead vocals there is non-repetitive lead guitar lines and Taylor's soprano vocals. The vamping harmony establishes the key of F-Major.

/------------ 8x -----------\\
| F    | -    | Bb   | -    | F    | -    |
| I    | -    | IV   | -    | I    | -    |

Outro
The repetitive closing sequence of the chorus is segued into a piano-driven outro. The same 3+3+2 syncopated rhythm is applied in three different chord change each with a leap of fourth. The finally establishing homekey is c-minor.

| Bb    | Bb Eb/Bb Bb | -      | Gm Cm/G Gm | -      |
| Cm Fm/C Cm | -      | -     | -     |
| i          | -      | -     | -     |
| Cm    | -    | Cdim  | Cm    |
| i     | -    | idim  | i     |

The lead guitar is played util the last bar. The second melodic phrase (guitar) is pentatonic ascending, the last one is descending slowly in chromatic steps.