Forums > Queen - General Discussion > Ogre battle riff/Freddie and guitar

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tarkintheproud user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 19 Sep 11, 15:56 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hi,

Im not a musician but I was wondering how Freddie came up with the Ogre Battle riff. In an interview Brian said he wrote the riff and its detail on an acoustic, but didnt he always claim to only know three chords? Also, on Sebastian's site, it said he wrote songs like Great King Rat, Liar, Jesus, Stone Cold Crazy, plus all his Ibex stuff, etc. on guitar, (and apparently the CLTCL solo was orignally played him before that version got lost, and Brian redid it), and it seems like Freddie was being modest with his guitar knowledge and knew more than just three chords if he wrote all that guitar.

Sebastian user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 19 Sep 11, 16:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Obviously the three-chord thing is not to be taken literally. Crazy Little Thing has six chords, so Freddie proved himself wrong every concert from 1979 to 1986.

Now, it IS true, according to Freddie's bandmates, driver and roadie, that he could play well (by 'well', they didn't mean world-class, but well nontheless).

However, being able to write on and for guitar is not necessarily linked with being proficient on the instrument. One of the most famous pieces of classical guitar, the Aranjuez Concerto, was composed by someone who was not a guitarist. Loads of soprano arias are written by men (who are not male soprano singers, BTW).

I could easily compose a piece for oboe, trumpet, clarinet and bassoon, none of which I can play myself. So of course Freddie, who was a faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar better composer than I am, could write for instruments he was not a master of.


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.
tarkintheproud user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 19 Sep 11, 16:35 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Ok thanks. So he would have probably wrote it note by note (or chord by chord) slowly when he played it on the acoustic? and Brian played it at the correct tempo?

dysan user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 20 Sep 11, 03:59 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think the Orge Battle riff is a bad example - a two note chug which I think any over enthusiastic first tie player could come up with. Cool as it is.

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Posted: 20 Sep 11, 05:51 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Just because Brian has said Freddie wrote Ogre Battle does not mean he wrote the entire thing note for note as we hear it today. My assumption has always been that Freddie wrote the chords behind the verses and chorus, which are fairly simple. We know that he wrote some of Brian's solos on the piano, but that does not indicate that Freddie could compose virtuoso guitar solos on the guitar itself. The opening  riff was probably a skeletal idea of what we know today. If we were able to hear a home recording of an early solo acoustic version we might be very surprised at how radically different it is from the recorded and live versions we have become familiar with.

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Posted: 20 Sep 11, 07:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Your Fairy King, yeah I agree with you that for songs like Great King Rat, Jesus, etc. the acoustic composition by Freddie was probably radically different to what was actually recorded in the studio. But here are a few of Brian's quote about Ogre Battle

"Freddie also wrote 'Ogre Battle' which is a very heavy metal guitar riff. It's strange that he should have done that. But when Freddie used to pick up a guitar he'd have a great frenetic energy. It was kind of like a very nervy animal playing the guitar. "

"He wrote the Ogre Battle riff on acoustic guitar, in all its detail."

Brian has never really said this about all of Freddie's other guitar composed songs from the first album, and his quote makes it seem like, while the song probably underwent changes, the riff was pretty similar to what was played on the album. Also he did play the original CLTCL solo for the recorded version, before it got lost apparently. It doesn't sound like the hardest solo in the world, but the overall point was that Freddie was much better on guitar than most people think (i.e. he was more than an Elvis type player who would only strum chords).

Sebastian user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 20 Sep 11, 10:41 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

>>> We know that he wrote some of Brian's solos on the piano, but that does  not indicate that Freddie could compose virtuoso guitar solos on the  guitar itself.

But that does not indicate he couldn't. You don't need to master an instrument in order to compose virtuoso solos for such instrument, just the same way you don't need to be a proficient composer on an instrument in order to be a virtuoso player. Think about all the professional pianists who can play Chopin, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov ... how many can compose a piece like those?


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.
rhyeking user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 20 Sep 11, 12:37 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

There's also possibly the random factor that Freddie might have just hit on the riff one day messing around with a guitar, had enough skill to develop it and it evolved into the song we know now. That's not taking away from Freddie's talents, but as Sebastian has pointed out, playing an instrument and composing for it are two different things.

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Posted: 22 Sep 11, 04:12 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Brian has said that Freddie brought them the Ogre Battle riff pretty much fully developed. If that's true then Freddie was a more than competent Guitarist, simple as that.


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Posted: 22 Sep 11, 04:51 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

OneTrackMind wrote: Brian has said that Freddie brought them the Ogre Battle riff pretty much fully developed. If that's true then Freddie was a more than competent Guitarist, simple as that.

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I'm a fairly incompetent guitarist and I can play it. In fact, I can play it with two fingers. I don;t know how good he was in private but Fred wasn't really confident with a guitar on stage. If he had played more then that confidence probably would've developed. (Then again, he was much more comfortable on piano and yet almost gave up playing the piano on stage (no one ever cites that as the start of Queen's artistic downfall; unfortunately it was a side effect of the arena band they eventually became)).


"With a population of 1.75 million, Northern Ireland should really be a footballing minnow. Instead, they could be better described as the piranhas of the international game" (FIFA.com)
Sebastian user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 22 Sep 11, 07:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

>>> Brian has said that Freddie brought them the Ogre Battle riff pretty  much fully developed. If that's true then Freddie was a more than  competent Guitarist, simple as that.

Not necessarily. Playing guitar and composing for guitar are two different disciplines. Some people have them both, some only one. And there's nothing wrong with that.

I can play Bach's Bourrée in E minor, but I can't compose it. I can compose counterpoint bits for guitar that I can't play, and I can get a better guitarist to record them.

Freddie's a far far far far far better composer than I am, so he can also do that and much much much more.


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.