Hi everyone! Here’s ShaunTrack. Shaun for my friends. And yes, I’ve changed the camera angle. Why? Simply to make a change. Because I like exploring new horizons in this world. Well, as you have seen in the title of the video, we’re going to analyze (deconstruct) the very great Queen. Specifically, their most famous song which is Bohemian Rhapsody. Now, I tell you that we are not going to stop to analyze or look how the harmony or the chords are made because there are thousands of videos analyzing the chords for this song. So we will just focus on how it is produced and how they made the mix for the song. We’ll focus on the instruments and their timbres. As for the chords subject, you already have thousands of videos on Youtube. For this song I’ve got (once again, as you can see here), all the project stems (track by track) What happens is that, besides the difficulty of finding it, the project itself is very chaotic because it has around 24 tracks, but inside a single track you could find maybe a voice, a guitar and suddenly the snare. It was an absolute mess.
So it took me like 3 to 4 hours, an entire morning, to clean it up as you can see it here.
Now as you can see we have bass drum on one track, snare drum on another track, then another snare because they added a second snare later in the song, the ambient sound microphones were put to take the toms and the cymbals in stereo, the drum’s reverb (sort of a room mic)… Anyway, the bass on one track, a lot of tracks of separate guitars the piano L and R and then, as you can see here, a whole bunch of vocal tracks. And finally, here’s the percussion. So… I warn you I cannot play the complete song, I mean I can’t play all the instruments at the same time since Queen is very strict with its copyright and the video will last only 5 mins uploaded. So taking advantage of the worldwide fame that this song has, we will hear each track separately. We’ll hear how Freddie Mercury sounds on his own, Brian May’s guitar on its own, how John Deacon’s bass sounds, and how Roger Taylor’s drums sound. Because yes, my friends, I’ve been an absolute and complete fan of Queen, mostly during my childhood. It was the first band that caught my attention, along maybe with Michael Jackson, and since I can remember, I am a huge fan of Queen. So, enough with this intro. Get yourself comfortable cause this might last a while, put on your headphones
so you can appreciate the mix better. …And let’s get to it! So, I zoomed in a little
so you can see clearly each track. You can see here in this project there are more vocal tracks than anything else. I can play just this track. [ ♫ Is this the real life? ♫ ] That is a backing vocal.
Here we have another layer. [ ♫ Is this the real life? ♫ ] [ ♫ Is this the real life? ♫ ]
[ ♫ Is this the real life? ♫ ] How would these voices sound together?
Like this: [ ♫ Is this the real life? ♫ ] It must be said and emphasized that at that time, I can’t recall now the exact year of this recording,
let me check… Of course, this song is from 1975.
By that time, they didn’t have Auto-Tune nor Melodyne neither any of that software to fine tune your voice if it was not accurate. So, I thought, what do you think if
we take one of Freddie Mercury’s tracks and run a portion through Melodyne
to see if it is perfectly tuned or not. Let’s do that test. I’m gonna take, for instance, this part here. Ok, this would be Melodyne and as I told you before
I have exported a little file here that would be “test_Mercury_voice” which is
the beginning of the song right after the intro. So, look, here we have Freddie Mercury’s voice all alone. And this here, at the left, would be the piano roll, it tells you here each of the notes he’s hitting. So, what we’re gonna do is to verify
whether he sings in tune or not, keeping in mind that back then
there was no digital form of pitch correction. So either you sang well or you sang badly. The end. There wasn’t anything else. The preview allows us to see that his voice
is quite accurate and right in tune. Not for nothing this person is considered one of the most prodigious voices in history Look. Listen up: [ ♫ Mamma, just killed a man ♫ ] [ ♫ Put a gun against his head
Pulled my trigger, now he’s dead ♫ ] Let’s check specifically into that excerpt, shall we?
Let me zoom in. See? The song starts singing “Mamma…”
which is D, right? “Mamma…” And here you have it. Practically perfect, right? [ ♫ Mamma… ♫ ] With that little vibrato at the end, exhaling. Buddy, let’s say you ask me:
“can we tune it a little more?” Well, yes, ’cause if you watch,
it is a couple of micro-tunes below D. I could do something like this: And it’ll be yet more tuned, but it would also lose naturalness. Listen. The original vocal track is barely below D, and I put it exactly perfect where D is. That is so nice, since his voice goes down,
and if I would put it absolutely perfect he would sound just like a robot. Look how ugly would be like that: It’s horrible. You shall always respect
the dynamics of the singer’s voice, right? There is nothing to be touched here.
It is just perfect. Let’s see what’s in store for us. Perfect. I mean, if you would like to be perfectionist, we could go up with that micro-tunes, in that syllable. That’s just perfect!
I mean, unbelievable! Let’s see what’s next. Perfect, too. Nothing should be touched.
Let’s move on now. He nailed here, too.
But it’s just like I said. We can barely modify those micro-tunes,
that can’t be really perceived by the human ear. But if we want to do that, just to be perfectionists,
the result would be less natural. Here he starts resorting to falsetto: [ ♫ life had just begun ♫ ] And he nailed it.
There’s asolutely nothing to modify here. Also perfect. It’s true though that the vibratto ends going a little off tune here. The voice starts getting away from the flat D.
But it’s not necessarily bad. That’s what gives life to his voice,
it makes his voice sound more organic. I can take away the vibratto here by doing this: So then the voice never moves away from the flat D. But by doing this, I’m destroying Freddie’s voice. It’s horrible to do that to him. Observe that the software doesn’t show me
the spectogram for this part here. And that’s because he used his rend voice,
and when you use the voice like that, Melodyne can’t comprehend that
nor catch well the sound of the musical note. That’s because that kind of voice
creates an awful lot of harmonics and due to that, it can’t decipher which one
of those harmonics is that of the tonic. Right? The “all”… …he makes with a more raspy voice.
Well, Melodyne can’t process that. Look at that change of vocal style,
from falsetto to a raspy voice, right? It’s such a drastic change and he
does it perfectly, very natural sounding. Here ends the falsetto and it starts the “Mamma” part,
in a high note. It’s a rush in the song, right here. Perfect! He completely nails it. Let us see here. For instance, here he goes just a little higher. We could do like this: Even the “if I’m” is perfectly done. That’d be a flat B, am I right?
On the “If” he went a little bit higher. That would do. The “not” is also a little high. The “tomorrow” also went a little bit higher, but this is to be a repelent person with these micro adjustmens. Obviously, he’s an amazing singer. Perfect. We could low here the “matter” part a little bit. But certainly not. This should not be touched.
This shouldn’t be changed at all, it’s perfect as it is. If you look, you can see it’s not perfectly tuned. I’m going to zoom in so it can be seen better.
See? This note is right in the middle, in no man’s land.
Right between the B and the B flat. But this other note is inside the range for one note. It’s quintessential that this note is here, in no man’s land,
because if I move it to its right place… …then I break it.
I destroy Freddie’s voice No, no, no, no.
It has to be there in no man’s land, because there is where the magic is. So, my friends, after running this test we are able to certify that Freddie Mercury was, is and will be one of the most prodigious and privileged voices
in the history of mankind. Let’s go back to the other tracks. Let’s focus now on the piano. Shall we?
Let’s see the piano’s tone. There are subtleties here, so I recommend
to hear this with headphones, okay? You’re going to note then that while the piano is playing,
in the background some of the voice can be heard. This is recorded in stereo. And here in the project this was as two tracks in stereo. What really happens is that one of the tracks is heard on the left and the other is heard on the right side. So they put two microphones for the piano,
one for higher notes and the other for lower notes, so then when you listen to the tracks at the same time, with the way the ambient microphones are located, it gives you the feeling that when lower notes are being played you hear them on your left ear, and when higher notes are being played
they sound more in your right ear. As for the piano’s tone…
Let’s hear this part that has more audio gain. Okay, until there.
If you look at the piano’s timbre it is sounding very honky tonk. Honky tonk brings to mind like those
far west saloons in the movies, and there was always background music.
You know what I mean? Those self-playing pianos with the perforated paper. Well, that timbre sounds like with a kind of
an echo or chorus. Later, those kind of timbres was often used in the
seventy and eighties’ songs. Nowadays, any digital piano has built-in presets
that sound like those old pianos. For instance, a normal piano sounds like this: And this would be more honky tonk sounding: You notice, right? It has like a chorus (or echo). It emulates a wall or grand piano
but it sounds like if it wasn’t perfecly tuned. You notice it, right?
The timbre that this song has on the piano is precisely of that style, like a piano slightly out of tune. Let’s check out the first thing that appears in the song, regarding percussion. Those would be cymbals played with mallets. Besides, it’s curious because they put
an effect to the sound, a pitch alteration that when you listen to the song you can’t notice it,
but if you listen to it isolated… Check this out: Did you notice? They raised the tone
and then they lowered it. And I’m sincerely surprised on how
they would make this kind of effect, because everything back then was absolutely analogic. They recorded on magnetic tapes. So, to achieve this kind of effects, hmm…
It must’ve been an incredible headache. Not like nowadays. Now you choose a plug-in
and set the pitch lower or higher and that’s it. You can do it in a matter of seconds. Let’s check out bass now, it’s the next instrument
that appears in the song, and it’d be this: It sounds very clean. Practically no external sound is filtered in this track. Which surprises me quite a lot. Here the drums can be heard a little. How wonderful, dude. To listen to this. To listen to John Deacon playing solo. This take he did on the song, it’s just too good to be able to listen to it like this now. This guy has always used Fender, specifically I guess it is a Jazz Bass. And well, the sound is not specially highlighted.
It is a natural bass sound. Which you can see is recorded
by a microphone thru the amplifier, which, at the same time, is why the drum
is heard on the background, right? If it was thru a line, that wouldn’t be an issue. Let’s check now the drum where it appears. So here we have 4 tracks: one for the hype, another one for the snare, and the aerials L & R It sounds SUPER naturally!
Listen only to the hype. I’m gonna play it for you. It has its beat. It has its depth.
Nothing is missing there. It doesn’t seem to be compressed at all. The snare sounds a bit smooth. Almost without harmonics (the way I like in rock productions). Listen to that ride. And check out the cymbals. The floor tom, the second one,
almost achieves a saturation. I mean, it is there, right before saturation… but not!
And you can tell the drum is perfectly tuned. Roger Taylor scores a ten. And further on, during the rocker part of the song,
which goes: if you listen, a second snare shows up,
which has been added on a different track. Cos if I play to you that part.
Listen up: That appears. A second snare, recorded completely aside. Which is this one: It’s like a similar snare, but with some overdrive or something. It’s kind of saturated. In fact, if you check on the track it has no kind of dynamic. It’s totally flat. Every single hit has the same intensity. And they would do it in order to emphasize the rock part of the song, you know? Also, they add another drum track (this one here)
which is simply a mic placed at a corner so as to get the reverb of the whole room.
It’d be this: Of course, adding this to the drums… Check now how I alternatively mute and allow you to listen the reverb track for you to perceive the difference between the “dry” drum and the drum caughting the reverb sound. I’ll start without it, right?
And I’ll add it later. [ without reverb ] [ with reverb ] [ without reverb ] [ with reverb ] It adds up everything! It is exactly what the song needs for it to not be repetitive in a production level. I found very much authentic how in that years they would manage to do really original productions. Since it was everything way more difficult.
Something we now do with a simple mouse click with any given software, by then you would stay a whole evening to get a tiny little arrangement. And when you do such analysis, is when you realize how technology has come forward and how lucky we are. Here shows up a percussion,
which are orchestral cymbals, in the part of “Bismillah no, we will not let you go”, well, in that part precisely, check it out: Also, tuned the same way the song is. That is it.
They won’t appear in the rest of the song. So they would rent them or who knows what,
only for that micro arrangement. Something which today can be easily get from a sound library, back then they would get in touch with… I don’t know… an instrument store, or a conservatory, or whoever, talk to them, rent their equipment, take it to the studio, record it… to sum up: a mess. Listen up here with the bass: [ ♫ we will not let you go ♫ ]
[ ♫ let me go ♫ ] [ ♫ we will not let you go ♫ ] I’m playing it together with the drums for you to notice that they’re like questions and answers, ok? Both in voice and in that part. Let us see now the guitars, will we?
I have got a bunch of guitar tracks here. First guitars that appear are almost over the second minute and are this arrangements. It is that part:
[ ♫ ♫ ] Here, right? Let me play just a bit of the piano too, otherwise we’d be in troubles with the copyright. So to speak: the arrangement the piano does at the end of each lap, is supported by the guitar. Also, it is cool because the sound generated by the amplifier gets really heard, right? That electric mass sound. Then comes this little arrangement: This is obtained precisely by sweeping in this section of strings, like this: Which can also be done higher. Here: And here, Brian May has done exactly that. Check it out: Let us see when the guitar sounds hard,
which is this part: It’s funny because it seems that the guitar is not absolutely tuned. Mostly in this chord. You can hear how it ranges a little bit,
in that power chord, the resonance between the fundamental and the 5th string. It’s what I’m telling you!
We are in the 70’s, and this kind of thing could not easily
be controlled at that time. You didn’t have digital equipment.
So, this kind of “error” gives the song its authenticity. As to harmonics, there you have…
I don’t know how many key modulations. What concerns to the tone, you know that Brian May manufactured his own guitar, right? Nowadays, it is commercialized as a label itself. Also, there is a peculiar thing.
Brian May does not play with guitar pick. He has always played with a coin.
And that takes part too on his characteristic tone. It is not the same to hit the guitar with a pick,
that with a coin which is absolutely rounded. So the attack the string receives is smoother. As to amplifiers, he has always used Vox Ac30. Then, he might saturate them with some kind of pedal.
I ignore specifically which one. Let us see the solo, the short solo he performs here. It gives you goosebumps. Its is wonderful because it sounds very dirty with the amplifier sound, same as before, But here, the amplifier has equalize is way much low.
It has trimmed the acutes, because being a solo with an acute melody,
is better to be equalized lower. So it does not sounds squeaky, right?
So it does not sounds annoying. And check also, the wave itself has a lot of dynamic.
I mean, the saturation is right and proper, but if you see this part here, where he starts to hit more notes, more quickly, here: He respects completely the attack on the string.
They barely added sustained using pedals. And right after the solo, we find some very strange guitar arrangements. I confess I have never noticed them on the original record, but are these. Listen. I don’t know, I think they’re part of the tracks, but they didn’t include them on the final mix. Because listen: I never heard that in the original song in my entire life. Also, after that you can hear something like a pitch
at the end. Listen here: This are things beyond my comprehension.
I don’t know what they are. What else is here worth mentioning?
Well, the opera part. We all know it. They are hundreds and hundreds of voices. Let us see some of them.
Separated. Then, the “scaramouche” must be somewhere here. And now the “thunderbolt and lightning”. Here comes the high-pitched voices performed by Roger Taylor, the drummer. Because he could reach even higher than Freddie Mercury with his falsetto. That is why he sang them.
Then the “Gallileos”: That is also sang by Roger Taylor.
Later the “oh-oh-oh” which are in different tracks. See? It is madness. I cannot even imagine how many days they must have used to record this masterpiece. It is completely sick. Now we enter the part where the voice is completely heart-wrenching, where, I cannot say why they recorded 4 times the same voice. Meaning, this 4 times: I have played two for you. One for each side.
And here are the second two, doing the same: And here are the 4 at the same time: Here there is something amazing. Freddie Mercury incredibly squeaks. But they left it. That is why. Precisely because it is so authentic!
I will play you just that track. When I first heard it, it left me crazy. And this would be the voice he must have done, right? But one take he did, left like this: It is awesome! And they left it, and I find perfect that they left it. Cos if you listen to it all together you don’t even realize it You see it? You don’t notice it! Then the “OH BABY” It is unbelievable the voice of this man.
UN-BE-LIE-VA-BLE! Well, and the guitar of this part is totally apotheosic. Listen: Listen how when they reach this part they add a second guitar supporting the riff so it sounds really powerfull. Each guitar has an independent track. See this arrangement right here? This little scale going upwards? The last one was at two octaves. And then the lil’ piano which is what ends up finishing the scale, it is also a really known part of the song. Here the guitar does again “questions and answers” again with itself. And then they harmonize together. This part is an authentic wonder. Iron Maiden was breast-feeded a lot from here… And then we reach the end of the song and I will highlight some guitar arrangements really-absolutely subtle, wich are these: [ ♫ any way the wind blows ♫ ] And the song ends up with that super gong drums here. They hit it really hard, by the way.
I had to turn it down a lot. It is this one, see? Yup! Up until here, my dear friends,
the deconstruction of today, the enormous, unrepeatable Queen with this authentically wonderful song which I, sincerely, find that only arise with a series of coincidences going on in the world. It is that kind of thing almost unrepeteable that take place every century. Cos… you tell me which other song can be compared to this one… Under my point of view, at a musical level it is the masterpiece of the 21st century. Without any single doubt. And you now it: leave a like to this video, any support is welcome and you help me out to continue creating this kind of content. For what you have the link to my Patreon in my description and that is it, my dear friends,
see you on the next video! Bye!