Killer Queen - Queen

  • Created by: hedghoge
  • Created on: 19-11-21 10:49


  • The word setting is mainly syllabic throughout
  • The melody has a wide range (goes very high and very low!)
  • The guitar solo borrows ideas from the chorus and verse sections of the song
  • The backing vocals use words and vocalisations (like oohs and aahs!)
  • The melody is often conjunct, but with some wide angular leaps, including
  • intervals of 6ths and octaves.
  • In the chorus the melody is harder to spot on it’s own because of the backing
  • vocal harmonies
  • The vocal part sometimes uses falsetto.
  • The vocal part also includes spoken text
  • The vocal part contains a slide upwards
  • The length of the melodic phrases are often uneven 
  • Word painting is used on the words “drive you wild”.
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  • The main tonality for the piece is Eb Major
  • The key modulates during the song.
  • The chorus is in Bb major
  • There are points where there is tonal ambiguitylike in the first verse which starts with a C minor
  • chord, making the key signature unclear.
  • The chord sequences move quickly through different key signatures
  • The last chorus ends in Bb major, so the outro features a repeated Eb chord to restablish the original key signature
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  • Queen liked to use adventurous chord sequences
  • The song uses several altered or extended chords
  • Most of the chords are in root position, but there are some chord
  • inversions.
  • There is a circle of 5ths chord progression in the chorus
  • The modulations to different keys are shown by perfect cadences
  • The song starts with a C minor chord
  • Some parts of the chord sequence contain a faster harmonic rhythm
  • The chord inversions create descending and ascending basslines 
  • In the instrumental before the second verse there is a “vamp” based around an F chord
  • There is a pedal note used in bars 27-30
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  • The piece has a verse-chorus structure
  • The full structure is: Intro (clicks), verse 1, chorus, instrumental, verse 2, chorus, guitar solo, verse 3, chorus, outro
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  • The main texture of the piece is homophonic.
  • The texture builds up gradually at the start of the song with each instrument entering one at a time.
  • The guitar solo uses a three part texture.
  • Sounds are spread out using panning
  • The interweaving guitar and vocals parts from the
  • second verse give the piece a polyphonic feel at times
  • The guitar solo uses imitation
  • The use of panning in the backing vocals creates an antiphonal feel
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  • Moderate tempo.
  • A dotted crotchet is measured at 112 bpm 
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  • The vocal part is sung by Freddie Mercury, who has a high tenor voice.
  • The piece uses piano, electric guitar, bass and drum kit.
  • There are overdubbed backing vocals.
  • There are 4 guitar parts that have been overdubbed to create a richer texture
  • There is a slightly out of tune “jangle” piano recorded on top of the main piano line
  • The song uses studio effects like multi track recording, EQ, flanger, distortion, reverb, wah-wah and panning.
  • The guitar part uses slides, bends, pull-offs and vibrato
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Background instrumentation

  • This is a Glam Rock song from the band’s third album.
  • It was released in 1974
  • Queen’s sound is unlike many “standard” rock bands as they use adventurous harmonies and structures, and a theatrical style influenced by musical theatre and opera.
  • They also create complicated arrangements of layered guitar parts and backing vocals in the recording studio using multitrack recording.
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Rhythm and meter

  • The time signature is mainly in 12/8 time
  • This gives the piece a swung feel. (it uses swung rhythms)
  • There is a regular, danceable beat with a steady tempo.
  • There is syncopation used throughout
  • Every verse and chorus start with an anacrusis 
  • There are occasional extra bars of 6/8 time to extend phrase lengths
  • There are some use of triplets 
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