Killer Queen

Harmony & Tonality

  • Eb major 
  • opens with Cm chord
  • many passing modulations
  • most chords in root position
  • some chords in 1st or 2nd inversion
  • dissonance bar 30
  • 7th chords bar 4
  • circle of 5ths bar 20-21
  • altered and extended chords (F11) bar 47
  • pedal point bar 27-30
  • outro in Bb major but ends with Eb major chord
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Performance Forces

  • written by Freddie Mercury for 
  • Queen's 3rd album 'Sheer Heart Attack'
  • about an upper-class prostitute
  • reached number 2 in UK
  • won an Ivor Novella award
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Texture

 

  • mainly homophonic
  • use of immitation in guitar bar 48
  • layering
  • 3-part texture in guitar solo bar 50 
  • 4-part texture bar 15
  • panning in backing vocals bar 42-43
  • antiphonal (call and response) bar 67-68
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Structure

 

  • verse-chorus form
  • verse 1 bar 2-14
  • chorus 1 bar 14-22
  • intrumental bar 23-26
  • verse 2 bar 26-38
  • chorus 2 bar 38-43
  • guitar solo bar 44-61
  • verse 3 bar 61-69
  • chorus 3 bar 69-78
  • outro bar 79-end
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Instrumentation

  • lead and backing vocals
  • piano overdubbed with a honky tonk piano
  • 4 electric guitars
  • bass guitar
  • drum kit
  • guitars and vocals overdubbed
  • guitar techniques
    • string bends
    • hammer ons
    • pull offs
    • vibrato
    • slides
    • distortion
    • flanger
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Tempo, Metre and Rhythm

  • moderato (111 bpm)
  • 12/8 (compound quadruple)
  • swung
  • occasional 6/8 bar to extend phrase length
  • every verse and chorus starts with an anacrusis
  • frequent syncopation (eg. bar 44-46)
  • triplets bar 18
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Melody

  • mainly syllabic
  • backing vocals mix words and voacalisation
  • mix of conjunct and disjuct (3rds and 4ths)
  • major 6th leap bar 6-7
  • octave leap bar 62
  • altered descending sequence bar 7-8
  • portamento slide on 'Queen' bar 15
  • flanger on 'Laser beam' bar 17
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