Bohemian Mechanical Rhapsody

Mad as a March Hare. Mad as a Hatter.

Semana passado entrei no blog de um físico e o maluco deixou um post (ele provavelmente não faz idéia de quanto esta letra cai como uma luva em Lost) que me fez lembrar imediatamente do Daniel Faraday e de seu concerto final (com ajuda de Highlander, Brian May, Queen, Let him Go e Charlie gritando Nothing Matters! é claro):

Blame Bryan O’Sullivan for this– after his comment about misreading “Bohmian Mechanics” as “Bohemian Mechanics,” I couldn’t get this silly idea out of my head. And this is the result.
I like to think that this was Brian May‘s first draft (he does have a Ph.D. in astrophysics, after all), before Freddie Mercury got hold of it:

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Do objects have real states
Or just probabilities?

Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see

Studying quantum (poor boy), I need no sympathy
Because I’m easy come, easy go
A little psi, little rho
No interpretation ever really matters to me, to me

Mama, just killed a cat
‘Least I think I might’ve did
Won’t know ‘til I lift the lid
Local realism was fun
But now I’ve gone and thrown it all away
Mama, ooo
Didn’t mean to make you cry
If I’m incoherent this time tomorrow
Calculate, calculate, as if nothing really matters

Too late, my state’s collapsed
Sends shivers down my spine
Decohering all the time
Goodbye determinism- you’ve got to go
Gotta leave you all behind for random chance
Einstein, ooo – (anyway the wind blows)
God should not play dice
I sometimes wish I’d never read Born at all

I see a little silhouetto of a psi
Scaramouche, scaramouche will you do the fandango
Action at a distance, very very spooky to me

Gallileo, Gallileo,
Gallileo, Gallileo,
Gallileo where’d you go? I don’t know (oh, oh, oh)

I’m just a physicist, nobody loves me
No information has speeds more than c
Spare all our brains from non-locality

Easy come easy go – will you let me go
Bell’s theorem! No – we will not let you go
let him go
Bell’s theorem! We will not let you go
let him clone
No cloning! We will not let you clone
let me go
Will not let you go
let me go (never)
Never let you go
let me go
Never let me go – ooo
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Oh mama mia, mama mia, mama mia let me go
Heisenberg has a matrix put aside for me
for me
for meeeeeee

So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye
And then decohere me and collapse my psi
Oh baby – can’t do this to me baby
Just gotta get out – just gotta get right outta here

Ooh yeah, ooh yeah
Nothing really exists
When no-one can see
Nothing really exists – nothing really matters to me

Anyway the wind blows…

A few of the more obscure jokes explained for the less geeky:

  • “Psi” is the Greek letter ψ, traditionally used for the wavefunction in quantum mechanics. “Rho” is the greek letter ρ, used for the “density matrix,” which is another way of expressing quantum states.
  • “Born” is a reference to Max Born, who was the originator of the interpretation of wavefunctions in probabilistic terms.
  • “Bell’s Theorem” shows that quantum states have to be non-local; that is, that measurements at one position can affect measurements at another position instantaneously, rather than being limited to transmission at the speed of light c.
  • The “No-Cloning Theorem” by Bill Wootters and Woijciech Zurek shows that it is impossible to make an exact duplicate of an unknown quantum state.
  • One of the earliest versions of quantum theory was “matrix mechanics,” developed by Werner Heisenberg (of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle).

Publicado por Adriana Scarpin

Bibliófila, ailurófila, cinéfila e anarcafeminista. Really. Podem me encontrar também aqui:

Um comentário em “Bohemian Mechanical Rhapsody

  1. The song consists of six sections: introduction, ballad, guitar solo, opera, hard rock, and outro.

    Intro (0:00–0:48)

    The song begins with a close four-part harmony a cappella introduction in B♭—entirely multi track recordings of Mercury although the video has all four members lip-syncing this part. The lyrics question whether life is “real” or “just fantasy” before concluding that there can be “no escape from reality.” As said in the song; “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality” Scholar Sheila Whiteley comments:
    The multi-tracked vocals… the rhythm following the natural inflection of the words, the block chords and lack of foreground melody creating an underlying ambiguity… heightened by the harmonic change from B♭ (6) to C7 in bars 1 and 2; the boundaries between “the real life” and “fantasy” are marked by instability and “caught in a landslide.”
    After 15 seconds, the grand piano enters, and Mercury’s voice alternates with the other vocal parts. The narrator introduces himself as “just a poor boy” but declares that he “needs no sympathy” because he is “easy come, easy go”; chromatic side-slipping on “easy come, easy go” highlight the dream-like atmosphere. The end of this section is marked by the bass entrance and the familiar cross-handed piano vamp in B♭.

    Ballad (0:48–2:35)

    The piano continues the 4-bar vamp in B♭. Deacon’s bass guitar enters playing the first note, and the vocals change from harmony to an impassioned solo performance by Mercury. The narrator explains to his mother that he has “just killed a man”, with “a gun against his head” and with that act thrown his life away. This “confessional” section, Whiteley comments, is “affirmative of the nurturant and life-giving force of the feminine and the need for absolution.” The chromatic bass line brings about a modulation to E♭, underpinning the mood of desperation. Taylor’s drums enter (1:19), (this features the 1-1-2 rhythm of “We Will Rock You” in ballad form) and the narrator makes the second of several invocations to his “mama” in the new key, reusing the original theme. The narrator explains his regret over “mak[ing] you cry” and urging mama to “carry on as if nothing really matters” to him. A truncated phrase connects a two repeat of the vamp in B♭.
    As the ballad proceeds into its second verse, the narrator shows how tired and beat down he is by his actions (as May enters on guitar and mimics the upper range of the piano at 1:50). A low sounding bell tree “sends shivers down my spine” going from left to right. The narrator bids the world goodbye announcing he has got to go and prepares to “face the truth” admitting “I don’t want to die / I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all.” Another chromatic bass descent brings a modulation to the key of A, and the “Opera” section. Highlighting the phallic nature of guns, Judith Peraino also suggests that the song is a “melodrama of homoeroticism”, although, unlike Whiteley, she does not draw upon biographical details. Peraino gives an Oedipal reading, quoting some lyrics with sexual connotations (“Too late, my time has come/Sends shivers down my spine/Body’s aching all the time”).

    Guitar solo (2:36–3:03)

    As Mercury sings the rising line “I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all”, the band builds in intensity, leading up to a guitar solo by May that serves as the bridge from ballad to opera. The intensity continues to build, but once the bass line completes its descent establishing the new key, the entire band cuts out abruptly at 3:03 except for quiet A major quaver chords on the piano. Producer Baker recalls that May’s solo was done on only one track, rather than recording multiple tracks. May stated that he wanted to compose “a little tune that would be a counterpart to the main melody; I didn’t just want to play the melody.” The guitarist said that his better material stems from this way of working: in which he thought of the tune before playing it: “the fingers tend to be predictable unless being led by the brain.”
    Judith Peraino comments that the “young hero, having confessed his crime to his mother leaves home to ‘face the truth’ and finds himself in a queer world of Italian opera.” His voyage is represented by a melodious guitar solo that abruptly segues to a simple piano beat.” She compares the instrumental interlude to the “same structural moment” in The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life”, when “the grand orchestral texture of the first dreamy section suddenly comes to a crashing cadence and is followed by a simple piano beat.”

    Opera (3:03–4:07)

    A rapid series of rhythmic and harmonic changes introduces a pseudo-operatic midsection, which contains the bulk of the elaborate vocal multi-tracking, depicting the narrator’s descent into hell. While the underlying pulse of the song is maintained, the dynamics vary greatly from bar to bar, from only Mercury’s voice accompanied by a piano, to a multi-voice choir supported by drums, bass, piano and timpani. The choir effect was created by having May, Mercury, and Taylor sing their vocal parts continually for ten to twelve hours a day, resulting in 180 separate overdubs. These overdubs were then combined into successive submixes. According to Roger Taylor, the voices of May, Mercury and himself combined created a wide vocal range: “Brian could get down quite low, Freddie had a powerful voice through the middle, and I was good at the high stuff.” The band wanted to create “a wall of sound, that starts down and goes all the way up.” The band used the bell effect for lyrics “Magnifico” and “Let me go”. Also, on “Let me go”, Taylor singing the top section carries his note on further after the rest of the “choir” have stopped singing.
    Lyrical references in this passage include Scaramouche, the fandango, Galileo Galilei, Figaro and “Bismillah,” as rival factions fight over the narrator’s soul. Peraino calls the sequence both a “comic courtroom trial and a rite of passage … one chorus prosecutes, another defends, while the hero presents himself as meek through mily.” The song’s introduction is recalled with the chromatic inflection on “I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves me.” The section concludes with a full choral treatment of the lyric “Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me!”, on a block B♭ major chord. Roger Taylor tops the final chord with a falsetto B♭ in the fifth octave (B♭5).
    Using the 24-track technology available at the time, the “opera” section took about three weeks to finish. Producer Roy Thomas Baker said “Every time Freddie came up with another ‘Galileo’, I would add another piece of tape to the reel. Baker recalls that they kept wearing out the tape, which meant having to do transfers.
    For many adolescents listening to the song, these phrases could describe the physical sensations of sexual awakening and the conflicting emotions that accompany them. If that sexual awakening is queer, then the greater the guilt and the need for confession.
    Relating the theme of entrapment to Mercury wanting to express his sexuality, Whiteley points out the “heavy timbres of the lower voices … traditionally connote the masculine (“We will not let you go”) while the shrill higher voices in the first inversion chords imply the feminine ‘other’ (“Let me go”). They signal entrapment and a plea for release.”

    Hard rock (4:07–4:55)

    The operatic section leads into an aggressive hard rock musical interlude with a guitar riff written by Mercury. At 4:15, a double-tracked Mercury sings angry lyrics addressed to an unspecified “you”, accusing him/her of betrayal and abuse and insisting “can’t do this to me, baby”—which could be interpreted as a flashback to certain events that led to the earlier ballad section (“just killed a man”). Three ascending guitar runs follow. Mercury then plays a similar run on the piano.
    Peraino writes that following the courtroom trial “the hero becomes defiant [‘So you think you can stone me…’] and emerges victorious from the trial by opera as a rock and roll rebel.” Critic Sheila Whitely related this “heightened sense of urgency” to Mercury’s “inner turmoil [of] leaving the security of Mary Austin, coming to terms with gay life, and living with a man.” Although she comments that Austin was understanding and remained a close friend, “the “just gotta get out” supplies a metaphor for desperation as it moves towards the climax.”

    Outro (4:55–5:55)

    After Mercury plays ascending octaves of notes from the B♭ mixolydian scale, the song then returns to the tempo and form of the introduction. A guitar accompanies the chorus “ooh, ooh yeah, ooh yeah.” A double-tracked twin guitar melody is played through an amplifier designed by John Deacon, affectionately nicknamed the “Deacy Amp.” Mercury’s line “Nothing really matters…” appears again, “cradled by light piano arpeggios suggesting both resignation (minor tonalities) and a new sense of freedom in the wide vocal span.”
    According to music scholar Judith Peraino, this final section adds “a level of complex resistance to the song’s already charming subversion of macho rock and roll.” This resistance is achieved through the “bohemian stance toward identity, which involves a necessarily changeable self-definition (“Any way the wind blows”).” The final line, “Any way the wind blows”, is followed by the quiet sound of a large tam-tam that finally expels the tension built up throughout the song.


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