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The Millionaire Waltzer
Composer: Freddie Mercury
Meter: 3/4, 3/4 (9/8), 4/4 (12/8), 4/4, occassional 2/4 and 5/4 (15/8) bars
Key: F-Major, f-minor, Eb-Major, Ab-Major, (B-Major)
Intro | Verse - Connector | A section | B section |
| Solo 1 I - II |
| "Rock" intro | C section ("Rock") |
|| Solo 2 ("waltzer") || D section | Connector' |
| Verse - Outro |
Connector: extract from Intro
This Mercury composition with its acyclic design and combined style (waltzer, ballad and rock), rocking middle section is definitely the follower of "Bohemian Rhapsody". For some reason it would not work as a single as there is no "pop" section, an there is hardly any subtle repetitions between the individual sections what we saw in "Bohemain Rhapsody". As the title suggests a big part of the song is waltzer influented. Waltzer used to be the "popular dance" music of the second half of the 19th century, and it was instrumental, while Mercury's waltzer is predominantly vocal.
The form is acyclic except a Verse that returns also for the end of the song thus providing a frame.
The homekey of the song is F-Major, but the song goes through of a couple of neighbour or parallel keys.
The main instrument is the piano which is played throuhgout. Drums are played only in the "rock" section, at the end of the waltzer solo, and in the outro.
The live version was shortened by the first verse leading directly to the "rock" section and omitting the last verse by the D section seguing to "You Are My Best Friend".
The instrumental intro is scored to piano and melodic "lead" bass. The first phrase is just solo piano exposing the key (F-Major) and the meter (3/4). Its last bar is slowed down.
| F | - | - | - |
| I | - | - | - |
The bass enters in the third measure of the second phrase. Piano and bass are mixed in the opposite stereo channels almost without any crosstalk. This has been always a great fun for people to mute the piano and to listen to the bass without the piano (and vice versa) it's like Deacon playing right in your room. Both piano and bass sliding to the middle in the first bars of the Verse.
The bassline is arpeggio driven in m.5-13, then predominantly step-wise moving. The piano line is relatively densely played with some built in arpeggios and parallel thirds. The section closes with a brief metric change form 3/4 (2+2+2) to 6/8 (3+3).
| F C | - | - | - |
| I V | - | - | - |
| Gm | F | C | -7 |
| ii | I | V | - |
| F | F/C* | Bb | A | Dm/F | G |
| I | - | IV | V/vi | vi | V/V |
| C | Bb/D (5-4#)| - |
| V | IV | - |
The verse starts off with good old 1-6-2-5 cliche ("Bohemian Rhapsody", "Love Of My Life"). The melody development of the first two phrases shows an ABAC pattern. The next two phrases add harmony vocals.
| F | - | Dm | - | Gm7 | - | C | -7 |
| I | - | vi | - | ii | - | V | - |
| F | - | Dm | F7/C | Bb | /A | Gm | - |
| I | - | vi | - | IV | | ii | - |
/------------ 2x -----------\\
| Gm7 | - | C | -7 |
| ii | - | V | - |
After four phrases the music returns to the instrumental fourth phrase of the intro. The arrangement is added guitar block harmonies in the middle and antiphonal melodic fragments altered between the left and right channels.
The closing phrase is added a concluding melodic phrase resolving to the tonic chord:
6/8 6/8 3/4
C | Bb/Dadd2(5-4#)| - | Bb/D | - | F | - |
| V | IV | - | - | - | I | - |
The second verse triumphantly returns for the end of the song. The arrangement is added backing vocal harmonies with a certain gospel flavor.
The end of the second verse also quotes the intro, but the ending is different. From a straight 3/4 the meter modulates subtly to a triplet driven 3/4 (9/8) where we already reach the terrytory of the outro.
This is a balladistic section. The middle of the section tends toward the relative minor key (d-minor) but despite the "aeolian cadences" (V > i and i > VII > VI > V > i) the harmony does not loses its overall Major feel which is reconstructed by a strong five-piece chain of fifths closing the section (A > Dm > G > C > F).
Bass enters in m.4 with two pinched harmonics. There is also a third pinched bass harmonic closing the section while piano is slowing down.
In m.13-16 there is a double phrase with octave jumps. There is two scalar ascending antiphonal bass runs in m.15-16, a Queen trademark, but usually done with guitars ("Bohemian Rhapsody", "Breakthrou", end of the "waltzer" solo).
The "B" section also balladistic and partly parallels the preceding "A" section. Not only key-wise, but also the first melodic phrase is a close variant of that of the "A" section for four bars. The modulation to the parallel minor key results reflecting the sadness of the lyrics ("now I'm sad"). We have again a couple of those pinched harmonics on bass in the third phrase, and ascending parallel vocal harmonies in the fourth phrase.
| Fm | - | C | - | Cdim | - | Db | - |
| i | - | V | - | vdim | - | VI | - |
| Db | Cm | Bbm | - |
| VI | v | iv | - |
| Fm | C | Fm | C |
| i | V | i | V |
| Fm | Eb | Ab/Eb | - |
| i | VII | III | - |
The first solo starts very melancholic due to the fine tempo changes. The very first guitar notes are articulated extremly softly and "fluently" achived by lots of slides, and fine fingepicking. The initial f-minor key is changing for the second phrase abruptly to Major, but before getting strongly established, it moves toward Eb-Major ("I to II" type modulation). Harmonized vocals enter in the fourth phrase, where the lead guitar starts some catchy wide-ranged speedy figures before slowing abruptly down for the last two phrases. The last two phrases are characterized by slow densely layered guitar harmonies (also vocal harmonies until the Gbdim7 chord).
The rhythm of the speedy lead guitar solo is interesting:
1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 * ***** *** **** *********
With an abrupt change the song plunges into a hard rock section. The first and the last measures are in 3/4, but the section itself is in 4/4 (12/8). The opening suggests a return to f-minor. From here we have a semichromatic line (built in the guitar part) driven harmony arriving on Db.
3/4 4/4 (12/8)...
| C D E | F | E | Eb | Db | : guitar
| Fm | Fm | Eaug | Ab/Eb | Db | : piano
| i | - | chromatic | VII | VI |
The harmony slowly moving towards the relative Major key (Ab) which is getting established more strongly for only the transition to the subsequent solo section.
| Db /C | Bbm7 | Eb |
f: VI 5th | iv | VII |
Ab : ii | V |
The next four measure is instrumental wise an AA'AA' patterned two phrased pentatonic riff work. The lead vocal stresses some dissonances. While these dissonances are in simphaty with the lyrics they are not particulatrly ear friendly: Gb against Ab, Ab against Eb)
/---------- 2x ---------\\
| Ab5 Eb1 | Ab5 Eb1 |
| I V | I V |
| Ebsus4 | Eb | Eb1 Db1 Bb1 |
| V | V | 5th 4th 2nd |
Solo 2 ("Waltzer")
As abruptly as the "hard rock" section started the music switches back to waltzer mode with square phrasing. The first phrase is a mini-intro with simple staccatto piano chords only.
| Ab | - | - | - |
| I | - | - | - |
The start of the guitar solo is so familiar, that it was probably ripped of from an original waltzer.
| Ab | - | - | - |
| I | - | - | - |
The second melodic phrase features a lovely violiesque triplet-driven descending run with lots of pull offs and hammer ons. The one step up then two steps down logic is also familiar but we usually heard it in reversed form ("Liar", end of the D section).
| Ab | - | Eb | - |
| I | - | V | - |
The third melodic phrase parallels the first. In m.14 the piano stops then on the second beat bass pinched harmonics and triangle (?) is played. The closing melodic fragment is unisino multitracked foreshadowing the soon-to-come orchestartion.
| Eb | - | - | - |
| V | - | - | - |
| Bb7 | Eb | Ab | - |
| V/V | V | I | - |
The fifth melodic phrase is a close variant of the first. Mercury start pushing the sustain pedal switching to legato mode. The unisono guitars exploding for the end of the phrase. The guitar orchestration is underscoring the lead guitar until the end of the solo section.
| Ab | - | - | F |
| I | - | - | V/ii |
| F7 | - | Bbm | - |
| V/ii | - | ii | - |
The next phrase has ambigous harmony, which is clearing out for only the end of the section with a chain of fifths arriving on Eb.
| Bbm | A3,7 | Db | Ab9>8 |
| ii ...
We have two ascedning guitar scales in the eigth phrase. The first one is F myxolydian the second one is B Mixolydian scale.
| F | - |
| V/V | - |
| Bb | - |
| V | - |
The last phrase is piano dominated but closes with yet another pinched bass harmonic.
| Eb | Ab1 Bb1,7 | Eb3 | Eb1 |
| I | 4th 5th | I | 1st |
"D" ("my fine friend)"
This is another melancholic section. It's metric frame is relatively blurred, the first three phrases can be transcribed in 4/4.
| Eb/Bb Ddim/Ab| Eb |
| I "V" | I |
| Eb - Ddim | Ab Bb7 |
| I | IV V |
| Eb Bb | Dbdim7 |
| I V | |
From m.7 the 3/4 meter returns. The homekey is a weakly established B-Major (a distant key). This harmonic phrase (m7-14) starts with a guitar subphrase followed by two repeated vocal subphrases in the middle (m9-12).
| Gb | - | B | - | G7 | - | B | - |
| V | - | I | - | bVI | - | I | - |
From here the music prepares the return to the intro motif. In its second measure there is an ascending "one step down two steps up" motif richly orchestrated with multitracked guitars.
| Em | G7 |
The next three measure phrase is already a variant of m11-12 of the intro.
| C | -7 | - |
F: V | - | - |
From here the music jumps to the orchestrated fourth phrase of the intro similarly as the verses does. The guitar orchestration uses some melodic fragments taken from (doubling) the bassline.
The outro starts in 3/4 (9/8).
| C | C1,7,4-3 |
| V | - |
Both second and third phrases (close variants) start with an 5/4 (15/8) bar. The same guitar motif is repeated one mesure lower (shades of "Killer Queen"). The last note is a C which is out of the range of a normally tuned guitar. The last power chord is fermata-like sustained added a piano trill then the final vocal phrase which is a variant of the "sharing with you" phrase. It is accompanied with a strong V > I cadence. After some metric vagueness the closing is in straight 3/4 again.
| C1* | C1,7,4-3 |
| 5th | - |
| C1* | C1,7,4-3 | (C5) | - | - | C7 5>4>5 | F | - | - |
| 5th | - | V | - | - | V | I | - | - |
| Fm | - | C | - |
f: i | - | V | - |
| F7 | - | Bb7 | - |
F: I | - | IV | - |
/----------- 3x ------------\\
| Bb7 | - | Eb | - |
Eb: V | - | I | - |
| G(7) | - | Cm | Gbdim7 |
| V/vi | - | vi |bIIIdim |
| Eb |(Ab) | Eb | - |
| I | | I | - |
| F | - | C/E | - | F /A | Bbdim7 | F | - |
| I | - | V | - | I | ivdim | I | - |
| Dm | C | Bb | A |
F: vi | V | IV | V/vi |
d: i | VII | VI | V |
/----- 2x ----\\
| Dm/A | A | Dm/A | G | C7* | F | - |
F: vi | V/vi | vi | V/V | V | I | - |
d: i | V | i...