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Main composer: Freddie Mercury
Album: The Miracle
Key: c-minor (intro II), a-minor, C-Major (Chorus), (A-Major)
Intro I-II-III (II') | Verse | Break 1 | Chorus I-II-III (AAB) | | Intro III' | Verse | Break 2 | Chorus I-II-III (AB) | | Intro III" | Solo(Verse')-Break 3 | Chorus I-II-III (AAB')| | Intro III" - outro |
Chorus I = Verse ending'
This great song closes the Miracle (on vinyl and tape releases) and demonstrates how much this album is underrated in terms of creativity. The most interesting parts are the instrumental parts. In Classical music the vocal music (songs) are averagely less complex than the instrumental compositions.
The form is based on three cycles where each cycles start with the main hook. The Verses and Choruses are intervened by different breaks in each cycles, similarly to "Staying Power" and "Miracle". There are other subtle variant-changes between the cycles. The verses and choruses have relatively ordinary harmony and phrasing.
The Intro III, the Verses and Chorus I are in a-minor while Chorus II modualtes to the relative (C-) Major key.
The fade intro I is psychadelic mixture of synths and glissandos for both vocal and guitar, and also the backward played Intro II (see also "Ogre Battle") setting the harmony to Cm, the homekey of Intro I and II.
From the miraculous Intro I enters the main synth motif of Intro II. The synth-work roughly outlines the following harmony, which we have heard reversed in Intro I:
/----------- 2x -----------\\ | Cm | Bb1 | Ab1 | Gm F | - | Gm F | - | Gm F | - | | i |"VII" |"VI" | v IV | - | v IV | - | v IV | - |
The main phrase us repeated and in the second cycle the ending is repeated as a triple-tag song endings.
The last subsection of the Intro shifts the key abruptly to a-minor. The tonic is articluted by guitar power chords and melodic minor thirds. The phrasing is 4+4+4+8, foursquared except the last phrase. The first three measures of the riff-phrases are more or less the same the endings are changing each time.
For the second half the arrangement instrumentation is added extra guitar in octaves, then yet another harmony guitar (also in double octaves)
a: | A5...| D5...| - | C5 | | i | IV...| - |"III" | | A5...| D5...| - | B5 G5 A5 | | i | IV...| - | II VII i | | A5...| D5...| - | E1...| | i | IV...| - |"III" | | A5...| D5...| D | E1 | C1 | B/D D5 | - | - G | | i | IV...| - |"v" |"III" |"VII" V" | - | - VII|
Note the use of IV chord (m.14) instead of iv. It is done multitrack guitars.
There is a re-Intro section before the other two cycles. The one opening the second cycle consists of two phrases of the hook played on synth and guitar doubling the bass-line. It's added a pentatonic guitar fill and is closing with long guitar chord with descending drum-fill. If you count out you will notice a half measure there.
The last cycle also starts with the main hook,this time played only once. Again the last chord is sustained creating a half measure. A drum fill leaing in the bombastic guitar solo.
The Outro is also developed from the intro hook played on guitar four phrases long as in the Intro III but this time the third phrase repeats the second and the last phrase is closed with a descending diatonic scale in triplets. After the last electric guitar chord fading away the main hook returns again for a last time played on synth. The F chord followed by D instead of the original Em > Am cadence.
The 16 measure Verses have relatively simple harmony and phrasing: 4+4+2+2+2+2 AABB'CC'.
/------------ 2x -----------\\
| Am | - | - | - G | | i | - | - | - VII| | F | - | | VI | - | | Dm | - | | iv | - | | G* | - | | VII | - | | /D | /G | | - | - |
The G* chord is a combination of G chord and inner lines ascending in parallel sixths.
After the first Verse we have a 8 measure connector break with two measure guitar phrases and also some vocal phrases. Harmonically it sustaines the tonic chord throughout.
| Am | - | - | - | - | - | - | - |
The first subsection of the Chorus (could be transcribed as pre-chorus) is a variant of the second half of the Verse...
| Fmaj7b5 | - | | VI | - | | Dm | - | | iv | - | | G* | - | - | - | | VII | - | - | - | |V-of-C|
...but the ending is different to lead in the Chorus.
The second cycle is varied slightly for example triplets in m.5. Here we can hear more clearly the first Maj7th resolving to 8th and simultainously the b5th degree resolving to 4th.
The core of the chorus can be parsed into two AA' cycles of two phrases (2+4). The first of these is the title phrase which is already appeared at the end of the Verses and also a variant of it in the preceding "pre-Chorus". Here in the Chorus II the title phrase is harmonized. The second A phrase rhythmically alters the title phrase.
| C | - | | I | - | | Bb | F | G | C | | bVII | IV | V | I | | C | - | | I | - | | Bb | F | G | Am | | bVII | IV | V | vi |
Beside the use of the modal bVII chord the most interesting thing to note is how the G chord is accompanying a lead melody with three notes NOT featuring in the G Major triad. This is something rare in pop/rock music (see also in "My Love Is Dangerous" and "Ticket To Ride" - Beatles)
The second chorus drops he first half, but it returns for the third chorus again.
The last subsection of the Chorus starts with another variant of the title phrase doubled up. These two phrases are added a concluding third phrase where the bVII chord resolves to Am. We have a 3+5 type syncopation.
/----- 2x -----\\ | G Am|- | | V vi|- | | Bb7(9)| - | |bVII | - | |bII-of-a
The in m.3 of the second chorus III the G chord is (second) inverted. Also in the second chorus the third phrase is twice as long and added a bass figure. The vocal phrase is restricted for its second half.
IIn the third chorus the second phrase is altered with an acapella break:
| G Cm7/Eb|>6 | | V iii | |
The second break is arranged for synth-orchestra and we have also vocal harmonies in m.3-4 chromatically descending in major triades.
| A A | A A | A A | A G | bass notes | Am F | Am F | Eb D | Db C | chords | i VI |...
The second phrase is not harmonized. Chromatic vibrating treble synth-strings provide crazy backing for the already crazy figure which is reminiscent of the "Death On Two Legs" intro-hook.
| A1 E1 | A1 Eb1 | A1 Eb1 Bb1 | - |
The main guitar solo starts as a instrumental Verse for ten measures, three phrases. From here for four measures the solo is built upon an ascending chromatic line cliche similar to the one in "Flash" (the "Vivaldi" progression). The ending makes the harmony ambiguous.
| F | D/F# | G | E/G# | A | B |A Bb ... | | VI | V/VII| VII | V | I
The last chord is fading into a climactic build-up with harmonizered guitar. This sub-section has no backing beat, and its chord progression is non-functional:
| Dm Bbm/Db Ab/Eb Ebm/Gb | (A)
The tension created by the chord progression and the arrangement is resolved in the next synth-orchestral break (Break 3).
This section remains one of the craziest moments of Queen. For the Miracle album in 1989 Mercury had quite a few crazy orchestration behind him. This one has two subsections. The first of these has three phrases: 3+1+2. The tonal centre is A throughout the first
| A | A Em/A A Em/A | A1 (9)| | I | I (v) | I |
Measure 3 features tympany tuned to A and also a car horn adding a dissonant 9th. (See also Gershwin's "An American In Paris")
The second phrase is built on a three parted harmony:
| C# B C C# | :S | A G C A | :T | A G A E | :A | I bVII ? I |
The last two measure phrase has synth-strings orchestra playing chromatic asending scale with pedal bass below. In the second meausre a synth is added playing fast triplets following the pattern of one step down two steps up.
The second subsection is characterized by 3+3+3+3+2+2 rhythms, treble pedal points, and chromatich descending lines.
3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 2 + 2 = 16/8 = two measures | A... pedal point | A Ab G Gb F E |
The second phrase is harmonized in parallel thirds:
3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 2 + 2 | C... | C B Bb A Ab G | | A Ab G Gb F E | | C G/B C7/Bb | | I V I7 |
The last phrase ends with fermata chord with synth glissandos. The harmony follows a line cliche we saw also in "Teo Torriate". The transition back to the last Chorus is remarkably smooth considering the big change in the instrumentation.