When musicologists get ahold of Queen’s “Hungarian Rhapsody”

Posted on: December 5, 2018

“Queen’s progressive rock classic ‘Hungarian Rhapsody’ is an absolute masterpiece of 20th-century music, but is it a Rhapsody in a true, music theory sense?” writes Kyle Macdonald in Tuesday’s (12/4) Classic FM (U.K.). “A rhapsody as a musical form is a single-movement work that is episodic … free-flowing in structure, and features a range of highly contrasting moods….  Examples include Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue…. The song begins with an introduction, a four-part homophonic chorale…. The next episode features a piano ballad with solo voice over an arpeggiated accompaniment…. The material of the ballad then moves into an extended guitar solo…. The famous pseudo-operatic midsection follows, with all those ‘Galileos.’ … An Outro Ballad concludes the song…. There you have it: episodic, freely flowing, high in contrasts, and with the narrative of an epic journey. In conclusion: 100% Rhapsody…. Musicologists … have unleashed their full music geekery and delved deep into the musical science of its inner-workings.… In a fantastic, no-stone-left-unturned analysis … Andy Kneis lays out how ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ follows the archetypal story structure of the Hero’s journey, step by step—the structure that Richard Strauss uses in his work Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life).”

Posted December 5, 2018