Read all 4 events for 23 August at diary.QueenSongs.info
Title: Teo Torriate (Let Us Cling Together)
Composer: Brian May
Album: A Day At The Races, 10th track
Key: d-minor, D-major, (A mixolydian)
Meter: 4/4 (occassional 3/4 and 2/4 measures)
| Intro (Verse') | Verse |1| Verse |1| Chorus | Chorus |2| | Verse |1| Chorus | Bridge | | Chorus | Outro (Chorus' 2nd half) | Album Outro |
Teo Torriate is a hymn-like ballad. The unisono choir Choruses creat a nice sing-along feel for this song, while the japan lines creat a kind of "international" feel.
The arrangement features harmonium, and plastic piano (beside a grand one). Rhythm guitar can'tbe heard just some sustained guitar harmonies. As so many times in Queen songs the arrangement changes from section to section. The melancholic Verses are in minor key, the more "optimistic" choruses are in the parallel major key. Parallel modulation is relatively unusual feature of Queen songs.
The chord progression is very simple in terms of functional harmony: mainly three chords build up the harmony of the verses (i, iv, V) and the choruses (I, IV, V). The range of the lead vocal is 13 notes, the low end (D) is at the start of the Verses, the peak (B) is in the climactic part of the Bridge.
The songform is not unusual.
Special instruments featuring in the arrangement are harmonium and plastic piano (there is normal piano too) all played by Brian May.
In this instrumental six measure intro we can find two classic Brian May trademarks. The first one: an intro that is a shortened version of a later section (here it is the Verse) where the omitted measures are located in the middle of the original section. More accurately: the first four and the last two measures are taken from the beginning and the end of the Verse respectively. See this gambit used not much earlier in '39 and The Prophet's Song. The second trademark is the "pedal" bass.
Verse (+ Spacer 1)
This eleven measure section has 4+5+2phrasing, where the last pharse is instrumental (Spacer 1), and measure 7-8 is a close variant of measure 3-4. The harmony is characterized by pedal bass (on piano,is not ) and predominantly step-wise moving parts. The whole second phrase can be treated as being "enveloped" by the tonic Dm chord.
d: | Dm | Gm/D | Dm | Gm/D 6 | | i | iv | i | iv | | A (lead vocal) | F E | - | F | F | E | | D D C#| - | D | D | D | | A A# | - | A | A# | A# | "pedal":| D ....................................| chords :| Dm ...| - | Dm | | | d :| i ...| - | i... | | | | A | - | | V | - |
First Verse is for accompained by only piano with simple four in the bar chords. Second Verse adds harmonium and melodic bassline with mellow treble figures behind Freddie's sustained last syllables. Last measure of the second verse has slow down crescendo piano figure reinforced by crescendo snare drum roll, the first time the drums appear in this song. The slow down is compensated by a 3/4 long measure.
Second Verse adds octave guitar harmonies kind of sustituting the melodic bassline that is omitted here.
Chorus (and Spacer 2)
The eight measure Choruses have square phrasing and basic harmony. The frequent use of inversions make it more colorful. The predominantly four-in the bar bassline slawishly follows the chord progression. The key is D-major.
D: bass D G #F D | D D | G A | D A A | | D G D | G D | G A(7>6)| D D A | | I IV I | IV I | IV V | I V | bass D C# | B | A A A | D G A | | D A | G | D G A | D G* A | G* : G(maj7>6) vocal apoggiatura | I V | IV |"V" | I IV V |
The second Chorus is added a one measure instrumental Spacer that is the minor version of the preceding (8th) measure:
...G A | D Gm* A || Dm... Gm* : Gm(7>6) D: IV V | I (iv V...) d: iv V || i...
Note that the iv > V is "valid" cadentical progression in both major and minor keys, but the use of F (min7th of Gm) instead of F# complete the feel of modulation.
The first Chorus has Freddie's voice doubletracked, moreover the first section of the song with drums. The second chorus adds japanishe lyrics and counterpart-style vocals. This style of two part harmonies is very unusual for their songbook, so let's see it more closely in this degree-notated sketch:
5>6 8 9 10>9 11 10 | 11 11 11>10 10 | 5 >8 10 9>10 8 6>8 | 10 10 9 9>8 8>7 8 | 1 4 5 5 8 5 | 8 7 6 0>1 | 5,>1 1 5 4 4>5 | 8>7 6 4 4 5 5 |
You can find a variety of intervals including some open fifths and fourths. Similar counterpoint like harmonies can be find in 39' too (with more than two parts).
The third Chorus adds a third vocal part in harmony that crosses the lead vocal upwards/downwards depending on how much place is between the above discussed two vocal parts. (My Beatles-trained ears make me associate here with I Saw Her Standing). The fourth Chorus starts with unisono/octave "multitrack choir" the lead vocal joins in the middle of the fifth measure. Harmonium is played too.
This section is approximately eighth measure long. Both phrases start with the same melody with a half measure upbeat. The parsing of the measures is ambigous toward the end of the section.
In this song Brian uses one of the usual techniques to make contrast for the Bridge putting the harmonic centre of gravity on the dominant chord (A). This gambit executed so effectively that one is tempted to interpret the Bridge being in A (mixolydian) major due the strong cadentical flavor of the G > D > A progression (double plagal cadence in A Major). (In the ABBA song "Mamma Mia" the same chord progression before the chorus has not double plagal flavor)
m.1 ...G D || A | Bm G | A D | A G D | D: IV I || IV | vi IV | V I | V IV I | A:bVII IV|| I | ii bVII| I IV | I bVII IV| Chrom. lead: A G# A A# | B Inner voice 1: E E E E | D Inner voice 2:C# B C# C# | B bass: | A G# G F# | B A | chords:| A | A E A(7) F#7 | Bm Bm | G A(7,4>3,9) ... D: | V | V... | vi | IV V A: | I | I... V-of| ii |bVII I half
The arrangement adds tamburine and backing vocals, simple guitar harmonies. The climax is the sixth measure where we can find a nice chromatic contrapuntal harmony changing from syllable to syllable. This is definitely something "classical" in approach but before we'd say "wow!" note it's only one measure. Huge amount of classical pieces are written entirely in this style. For start check out the opening harmonies of God Save The Queen.
The section ends on the fourth beat.
It is the instrumental version of Chorus' second phrase with piano and harmonium. Bass and drums enter for only the last two notes. It is seued into the Esher-esque album outro which is going to be discussed with "Tie Your Mother Down".