Sunday, April 03, 2005

Queen, "Bicycle Race"

Time for another Queen song. This is a fun one that was the first song I was exposed to as being by Queen.

One of the things that makes this song unique is the use of voices. It is fairly common to have multiple voices usually at the third interval, but it is unusual especially for a song with a pop feel for the voices to have as wide of a range as this song. The opening lyrics of "bicycle" which serves as a short form of the chorus have a wide range of voices from a fairly high tenor to a deep bass. It sounds more like a choral piece than a pop song at this point. The entrance of the instruments and solo vocalists changes this. The first part of the verse is very interesting because it only has the vocalist, bass and drums. The bass line is able to provide a beat with the drums, establish chord movement, and show melodic interest opposite of the vocals at the same time. It does this by doing sixteenth note lines that stay low for the first half of each measure and work their way up for the second half. The second half of the verse is a "talkative" call and response that has stop time with the drums and bass. The chorus marks the first real entrance of the piano supporting the rhythm also. The voices for this chorus become even extreme with higher high voices and one voice that sounds so low it might have been electronically slowed down to lower pitch. The guitar enters during the "bridge" for a very "stadium rock" like section announcing the coming of the race. After going through the chorus and the first half of the verse again there is another extreme of voices followed by the very fun bicycle horn solo. Just like the one part of the verse that has vocal call and response, the guitar solo forms a call and response that switches speakers and starts at one full measure but quickens to switching each beat before a unison.

This is a very fun song that uses contrasts to keep the listener interested in the music.

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