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Posted: 28 Apr 09, 19:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hi, guys and girls. :)

I hope you can help me with this.

What do you guys think of Brian's piano skills? I had a kind of in-built notion that he played it only on a very elementary and rudimentary level mainly for composing purposes, but I listened once to what was allegedly one of their gigs in Mexico from 1981 - I don't know know which one because I deleted the files and there was no lineage whatsoever; I remember the sound quality was horrendous and there was an awful lot of noise and just a very distant sound in one of the channels - and some things grabbed my attention.

Anyway, he plays the piano intro doing a lovely and clever variation on the song's theme and he expands on it for the rest of the song, improvising here and there, it seems. The lines themselves are not hard to play, but the piano was not really well adjusted and his touch comes across as very accurate and, the thought came to me, even scholarly - it's a very gentle, smooth playing; the way he weaves the song texture on the piano amounts to a modest, though exquisite, arrangement. It all made me think about the extent of his skills on the instrument: even if very limited, I thought, he did succeed in sounding very round and beautifully within his reach and there's something to the playing which is very accurate, correct and smooth, as if he had been really taught by an experienced pianist. 

Do any of you guys have info on this? Do you know when or how he learned to play the piano? Do you know of any remarks he's done in this regard? And, in general, what's your opinion about his playing? Did he use to compose songs on the piano or it was not that often? 

Thank you all and excuse me for the vague info on the concert - I really don't recall which one of them it was. Even without the background of the concert, however, I think some of the questions above may still be valid and make sense, so I'd be really glad if you guys helped me. 

Wishing you the best always,

Yara.  




Yara
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Posted: 28 Apr 09, 19:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I dont know for a fact, but I've come to think of Brian as a fairly accomplished piano player. I was under the impression its his playing on "Forever" the bonus from the later CD release of A Kind of Magic, and that track is a beautiful piano interpretation of Who Wants to Live.... if you ask me.
He clearly wrote from piano now and again, as some of his writing credits simply cant have been written from guitar. Save Me for example is quite lovely as a piano piece in my opinion, and All Dead, All Dead is pretty nice too.

I also thought its him on things like Another World, and the interpretation of Business which is the "bonus track" at the end of that, and those are beyond just basic piano - I think he's very good at writing quite delicate and haunting passages. Didnt he also write Teo Torriate?
Im not sure if the piano on Too Much Love... was all him, as there were co-writers, but thats pretty nice work also!

Haha, to conclude, I think Brian is a good piano player, and perhaps more importantly, a very good piano composer!


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Posted: 28 Apr 09, 19:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I love Brian's piano playing, it is very soft and delicate and a nice contrast compared to Freddie's staccato playing.

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Posted: 28 Apr 09, 20:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The piano on Too Much is definately Brian



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Posted: 29 Apr 09, 00:08 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Yara wrote:

Hi, guys and girls. :)

I hope you can help me with this.

What do you guys think of Brian's piano skills? I had a kind of in-built notion that he played it only on a very elementary and rudimentary level mainly for composing purposes, but I listened once to what was allegedly one of their gigs in Mexico from 1981 - I don't know know which one because I deleted the files and there was no lineage whatsoever; I remember the sound quality was horrendous and there was an awful lot of noise and just a very distant sound in one of the channels - and some things grabbed my attention.

Anyway, he plays the piano intro doing a lovely and clever variation on the song's theme and he expands on it for the rest of the song, improvising here and there, it seems. The lines themselves are not hard to play, but the piano was not really well adjusted and his touch comes across as very accurate and, the thought came to me, even scholarly - it's a very gentle, smooth playing; the way he weaves the song texture on the piano amounts to a modest, though exquisite, arrangement. It all made me think about the extent of his skills on the instrument: even if very limited, I thought, he did succeed in sounding very round and beautifully within his reach and there's something to the playing which is very accurate, correct and smooth, as if he had been really taught by an experienced pianist. 

Do any of you guys have info on this? Do you know when or how he learned to play the piano? Do you know of any remarks he's done in this regard? And, in general, what's your opinion about his playing? Did he use to compose songs on the piano or it was not that often? 

Thank you all and excuse me for the vague info on the concert - I really don't recall which one of them it was. Even without the background of the concert, however, I think some of the questions above may still be valid and make sense, so I'd be really glad if you guys helped me. 

Wishing you the best always,

Yara.  

 

The thing with Brian's piano playing and Freddie's piano playing, is that though they achieved the same levels when they were young, Freddie had a more rock'n'roll approach and Brian had a more 'ballad' type approach. Though, Freddie was great doing either. But Brian was very great on the piano as well.



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Posted: 29 Apr 09, 07:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I do recall reading an interview with Brian once that he and Freddie both passed piano to the same grade - don't know which one though!

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Posted: 29 Apr 09, 08:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Cwazy little thing wrote:

I dont know for a fact, but I've come to think of Brian as a fairly accomplished piano player. I was under the impression its his playing on "Forever" the bonus from the later CD release of A Kind of Magic, and that track is a beautiful piano interpretation of Who Wants to Live.... if you ask me.
He clearly wrote from piano now and again, as some of his writing credits simply cant have been written from guitar. Save Me for example is quite lovely as a piano piece in my opinion, and All Dead, All Dead is pretty nice too.

I also thought its him on things like Another World, and the interpretation of Business which is the "bonus track" at the end of that, and those are beyond just basic piano - I think he's very good at writing quite delicate and haunting passages. Didnt he also write Teo Torriate?
Im not sure if the piano on Too Much Love... was all him, as there were co-writers, but thats pretty nice work also!

Haha, to conclude, I think Brian is a good piano player, and perhaps more importantly, a very good piano composer!

As a matter of fact, he did write Teo Torriate.  He also played it on the piano live in japan 1979








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Posted: 29 Apr 09, 14:45 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I read that Brian got to Grade 5 on the piano, but can't find where I read that now. I remember it cause its the same grade I got too, but Brian is much better than me!


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Posted: 29 Apr 09, 17:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Both Dr May and Lord Mercury peaked at Grade IV which, by today's standards (no idea about the fifties/sixties) would mean they could play Handel's Allegro in F, which is more or less as difficult (or as basic, depending on how you look at it) as most Queen piano parts.

Of course Mercury was a much better pianist though... the fact they studied formally up to the same level doesn't mean anything at all. Brian is still a very skilful player and, indeed, a great composer of piano parts.



John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 29 Apr 09, 17:43 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Sebastian wrote:

Both Dr May and Lord Mercury peaked at Grade IV which, by today's standards (no idea about the fifties/sixties) would mean they could play Handel's Allegro in F, which is more or less as difficult (or as basic, depending on how you look at it) as most Queen piano parts.

Of course Mercury was a much better pianist though... the fact they studied formally up to the same level doesn't mean anything at all. Brian is still a very skilful player and, indeed, a great composer of piano parts.

Indeedy doo








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Posted: 29 Apr 09, 19:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thank you all! Wow, it was really helpful.

The only conclusion I can draw from all this is that Brian May is not only a terrific and very accomplished musician, but much more so than I thought. The term "musician" applies to him in the fullest sense. I know much of this is kind of obvious for most of you, but I'm still gradually learning the basics about the band and its members, I used only to enjoy it and that was it. Coming to this website gave me the chance to get to know better the people behind the music I enjoy so much!  

Thank you all, each one of you.

That was really great!

Take care you all!




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Posted: 29 Apr 09, 21:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

For those of you who haven't seen it, there is a great link to a Flash retrospective on Brian's site.  I think that the one thing the press missed in Queen as they were tearing them to shreds over one petty thing or another is that they were consummate "musicians."  Not rockers, but great all around musicians.  There is a YouTube clip of a guy who plays "Bring back that Leroy Brown" on bass, and hearing and seeing him play it and a more prominent level, you realize what a fantastic musician John Deacon was, and the rest of the band.  They play for the song, and the result is an exact homage to Dixieland or trad jazz by young men in their 20s when it was recorded.  Critics could piss all over the multitracked bombast, but all 4 of them were fabulous musicans who could play any style of music, and play it really well.

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Posted: 29 Apr 09, 22:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm not a piano player, but I really love piano. I think is the most beatiful sound in the world. So I really love rock bands like Queen and Muse.

I think Brian in Save Me live versions is great. He's got a very delicated touch.



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Posted: 30 Apr 09, 16:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Sheer Brass Neck wrote:

For those of you who haven't seen it, there is a great link to a Flash retrospective on Brian's site.  I think that the one thing the press missed in Queen as they were tearing them to shreds over one petty thing or another is that they were consummate "musicians."  Not rockers, but great all around musicians.  There is a YouTube clip of a guy who plays "Bring back that Leroy Brown" on bass, and hearing and seeing him play it and a more prominent level, you realize what a fantastic musician John Deacon was, and the rest of the band.  They play for the song, and the result is an exact homage to Dixieland or trad jazz by young men in their 20s when it was recorded.  Critics could piss all over the multitracked bombast, but all 4 of them were fabulous musicans who could play any style of music, and play it really well. 

Beautiful and helpful post, Sheer Brass Neck. Thanks a lot!

I hope you're doing fine! :-)










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Posted: 30 Apr 09, 16:41 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Bo Alex wrote:

I'm not a piano player, but I really love piano. I think is the most beatiful sound in the world. So I really love rock bands like Queen and Muse.

I think Brian in Save Me live versions is great. He's got a very delicated touch.

Hi, Bo Alex!

I find it terrific too...and I fully agree with you about Brian's playing. Save Me, to my taste, is one of those songs which only happen on stage. The studio version doesn't do justice to this one, I think. :-) 

Take care!

 







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Posted: 06 May 09, 19:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I agree with Sebastian. I have no doubt that Freddie was a better piano player, although I find it very odd that Freddie has a wrong way of holding his hands.

I do think Brian has a very nice touch to his playing. As someone pointed out earlier, he does great variations during playing and little extra icing on the cake every now and again. Freddie's approach is much more straightforward. Except when he really tries to be a piano player (My melancholy blues for example.


So for more delicate songs I'd rather hear Brian play than Freddie. Same goes with a lot of the singing. Freddie does it, and nails it. But Brian actually means it.



"On the first day Pim & Niek created a heavenly occupation. Pim & Niek blessed it and named it 'Loosch'."



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Posted: 07 May 09, 11:30 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The whole 'wrong way / right way' thing is indeed very odd: the textbook technique is an established approach, and regardless of all the physiological and acoustic evidence to support, they're still *one* way to perform, but not *the* way. Mercury's hand position could be 'wrong' for us, 'right' for him. It's not a B/W area and it's definitely not grey either.

As for 'meaning it', we can't possibly know unless we read minds.

But I agree: for certain arrangements, Brian's more natural, in his own songs, with certain exceptions of course. The opposite also happens: Crazy Little Thing has a more appropriate sound when Freddie plays the intro (also with an 'odd' right hand technique), that neither May nor Rodgers have quite matched.



John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 07 May 09, 12:25 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



FriedChicken wrote:

I agree with Sebastian. I have no doubt that Freddie was a better piano player, although I find it very odd that Freddie has a wrong way of holding his hands.

I do think Brian has a very nice touch to his playing. As someone pointed out earlier, he does great variations during playing and little extra icing on the cake every now and again. Freddie's approach is much more straightforward. Except when he really tries to be a piano player (My melancholy blues for example.


So for more delicate songs I'd rather hear Brian play than Freddie. Same goes with a lot of the singing. Freddie does it, and nails it. But Brian actually means it.

I completely disagree about the singing:-) Freddie's delivery of about every song he sang was passionate and with emotion. Brian, even though he's had great moments, is certainly not a great singer(I prefer Roger anytime). Brian has the most incredible guitar tone but his singing, no. That doesn't mean I can't enjoy his solo stuff though.








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Posted: 07 May 09, 12:29 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Sebastian wrote:

The whole 'wrong way / right way' thing is indeed very odd: the textbook technique is an established approach, and regardless of all the physiological and acoustic evidence to support, they're still *one* way to perform, but not *the* way. Mercury's hand position could be 'wrong' for us, 'right' for him. It's not a B/W area and it's definitely not grey either.

As for 'meaning it', we can't possibly know unless we read minds.

But I agree: for certain arrangements, Brian's more natural, in his own songs, with certain exceptions of course. The opposite also happens: Crazy Little Thing has a more appropriate sound when Freddie plays the intro (also with an 'odd' right hand technique), that neither May nor Rodgers have quite matched.

Freddie's unique way of doing things is something which I find wonderful. That goes from his piano skills, over his vocal skills to his skills as a live performer or songwriter. He does it HIS way, and that's what makes him a legend. Being unique, that's what it's all about.  And Freddie and Queen in general are unique.

I'm happy you point out the intro to CLTCL, it's just fantastic. People who are a million times better on the guitar can indeed not play it like him:-)










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Posted: 07 May 09, 14:35 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote















on my way up wrote:











































FriedChicken wrote:















I agree with Sebastian. I have no doubt that Freddie was a better piano player, although I find it very odd that Freddie has a wrong way of holding his hands.

I do think Brian has a very nice touch to his playing. As someone pointed out earlier, he does great variations during playing and little extra icing on the cake every now and again. Freddie's approach is much more straightforward. Except when he really tries to be a piano player (My melancholy blues for example.


So for more delicate songs I'd rather hear Brian play than Freddie. Same goes with a lot of the singing. Freddie does it, and nails it. But Brian actually means it.














I completely disagree about the singing:-) Freddie's delivery of about every song he sang was passionate and with emotion. Brian, even though he's had great moments, is certainly not a great singer(I prefer Roger anytime). Brian has the most incredible guitar tone but his singing, no. That doesn't mean I can't enjoy his solo stuff though.






I disagree with both of you! :D I think that Freddie's interpretations were nothing short of magical in terms of emotion, and I was always convinced that he meant it. Made In Heaven is a perfect example in that it contains several songs (such as Mother Love and TMLWKY) in which his interpretations really touch me.

I also think that Brian was a magnificent singer. I think he was the second best singer in Queen; his performance on Sleeping on the Sidewalk was arguably among the best vocal performances of ANY Queen member, and I think that most of his vocal performances were superb. When I was younger, I didn't like him all that much, but now I love his voice. His line in Keep Yourself Alive is IMO the highlight of the song and I love his verse on Let Me Live. Roger is very good, but I think he's a better 'guest' vocalist than 'lead' vocalist. That is to say, with a couple of exceptions (Fight From the Inside being the major one), I generally don't like him singing lead. However I love his verses in Let Me Live and No-One But You... and his line in The March of the Black Queen is one of my all-time favourite Queen moments.

Thinking about it, I believe that Brian had a magnificent ability to write songs for his vocals, while Roger was better in contributing lines and/or verses to songs written by other members. Both are very talented vocalists, but I prefer Brian.