Read all 6 events for 15 December at diary.QueenSongs.info
Composer: Freddie Mercury
Album: A Night At The Opera, 6th track
Meter: 4/4 shuffle beat
Key: C Major, F Major
Intro | Verse | Bridge | | Solo (Verse)| Bridge | | Verse - tag |
Seaside Rendezvous is one of those 4-5 songs that Mercury wrote under vaudevillian/musichall influence. "Authentic" vaudevillian songs are usually not very creative in musical point of view due the heavy use of square phrasing and chain of fifths (and other chormatic cliches), and simple songforms. Our song too has simple songform: two bridge model with a triple-tag ending. It also makes use of chromatic scale fragments and several cliches. The phrasing is more or less square, not perfectly so tough (see the Verse). Chain of fifths are remarkably sparely used. Queen-esque detail is that these sections and their lead melodies are quite long, and the song is quite non-repetitive, and the arrangement is exceptionally much altered between the same sections. The beat is shuffled and the rhythm is often syncopated, but it's another vaudeville influented detail.
The arrangement is rich and playfully creative (kind of tour de force). The main instrument of the accompaniment is the piano, there's no guitar in the mix (rare occassion). Some intruments are imitated by vocals resulting in an extravagant a-capella touch. The homekey is C Major, the Bridge modulates to IV (F) (as Bridges often do), but returns to C Major.
Freddie's vocals are heavily colored with bent notes, vibratos, tone changes, brief falsetto singings, talk-like phrases.
Roger's drumming shows his capability to adapt this style perfectly.
The instrumental Intro is four measures long and is preceded by a two beat pick-up. The piano figure makes use of parallel thirds (and also fifths in the final descending figure: F > Em > Dm > C ( > G)) and chromatic steps instead of playing just chords. The chordal center of the whole intro is the dominant chord (G).
...| G* | - | - | - | | V...
Beside the piano and drums the arrangement features jangle piano and a "bassy" instrument (?).
There are three 20 measure (6+4+2+4+4) Verses, second of which is "instrumental". The first two phrases start on downbeat with similar rhythm. The harmonic rhythm starts slow, but fast in the last two phrases partly due to some cliche-like run. The ones in the 15th and 19th measure resonate with the ending of the intro. Freddie "bents" many notes in the third sung phrase.
| C | - | - | - | G7 | - * | | I | - | - | - | V | - | | Dm | - | G* | - | | ii | - | V | - | | C | -7* | | I | V/IV| | F G | C Am | F Em Dm C | Bb Gm | |IV V | I vi | IV... |bVII v | | C B | Bb A | Em Ebm Dm G | C | | I chromatic| "V" | I |
The modal infection (flat 7th degree) in measure 16 is definitely not something vaudevillian-influenced. What I've labelled as C7* in measure 12 omits the root (C):
E F G C D E Bb Bb Bb
Overdubs: vocal harmonies in measure 6, backing vocal harmonies in measure 9, 15-18. Note the rests of the bass and drums at the end of phrases 2, 3, 4, 5.
The last Verse has busier and completly different voval harmony arrangement, also the lead vocal is altered here and there. The trumphet vocals return briefly in the fourth phrase. The third phrase closes with drumroll and a single slash on triangle.
The last phrase is completed with two repetition (tag) of the title phrase added various fills. In these repetitions the bass follows the lead vocal in different (ascending) inversions. The very last beat (bass+ drums) sligtly precedes the downbeat of the 25th measure, in symphaty with the title phrases also ending off beat.
The solo-Verse is arranged very differently and the lead tune is also slightly varied in the first two phrases, exchanged during the rest of the section until the return of the title-motif at the end.
The jazz big-band imitating arrangement makes this section closely asociated with "Good Company" from the same album, just like those sweet closed mooth harmonies.
Overdubs: lots of vocal overdubs, jangle piano (m.1 and m.7), and Roger's (varyspeed?) tuba imitations (m.7), slide-whistle (double tracked, end of the section).
Freddie originally wanted Roger to do a tap dance solo, but the idea was altered to a drum-stick solo in measure 15 (and another drum-fill in the first phrase of the Bridge).
We have two 12 measure Bridges with square 4 measure phrases, the first and the last with ascending chromatic upbeat. The tonality is weak. Note the abandonded chain of fiths (m.m. 7-8). Also note the chross relation between the Bb (m.9) and B (m.11).
F: | F | - | C | -7 | | I | - | V | - | | C7 | - | A | D7 | | V | - |... | I | - |V/V/V| V/V | | Bb A | Ab G | G... | - | | chromatic | V | - |
The second Bridge is differently arranged, but the differences are not as striking as those between the verses. Measure 2 adds happy whistling, measure 3-4 adds semi-chromatic ascending bassline, measures 5-6 mouth-trumphets.