Queen’s Harmony and Theory
Behind the scenes of seemingly straightforward Queen songs are some surprisingly complex ideas. The non-linear big rock riff (most riffs have ‘square’ phrasing) and classical vocal canon on the intro section are two such ideas. Perhaps more complicated - but seemingly simple - is the rising harmony at the end of the verses. The chords are essentially a sequence of V-I cadences moving up a tone a time, but the vocal moves up chromatically, managing this transition between keys smoothly. This works by beginning on the 3rd of the first chord, ie a 1st inversion. This in turn becomes the root of the next, the 3rd of the next and so on.