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Ramses user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 25 Jul 04, 12:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Ok...this isn't going to be another "OMG...what does Bo Rhap mean???" thread. But..I do have one simple question regarding the song's title....

What is a Bohemian? Is Bohemia a country or region or something geographical like that?


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Posted: 25 Jul 04, 12:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think "Bohemian" means someone from Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic).


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Posted: 25 Jul 04, 12:32 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It is usually used more as a "State of mind" than a country, defined as:

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=bohemian
"A person with artistic or literary interests who disregards conventional standards of behavior".

"A restless vagabond; -- originally, an idle stroller or gypsy (as in France) thought to have come from Bohemia; in later times often applied to an adventurer in art or literature, of irregular, unconventional habits, questionable tastes, or free morals. [Modern]

Note: In this sense from the French boh['e]mien, a gypsy; also, a person of irregular habits."

Although "SergeantPepperDG" definition is technically correct, I think this was more in line with what Freddie had in mind when he wrote the song, rather than strictly someone from Czechoslovakia!

Rhapsody: Exalted or excessively enthusiastic expression of feeling in speech or writing. A literary work written in an impassioned or exalted style. A state of elated bliss; ecstasy.
Music. A usually instrumental composition of irregular form that often incorporates improvisation.

Therefore as a rough translation of the title "Bohemian Rhapsody" means:

An epic, exalted, excessively enthusiastic musical expression of irregular form that incorporates improvisation suitable for uninterrupted recitation - about an adventurer of irregular, unconventional habits, questionable tastes, or free morals.

I feel that "Bo Rhap" is more figurative than literal, (but still abiding by the above definitions) - and still swear that it encompasses the personal feelings and emotions of Freddie at that time, and although criticised in the past (I know that Freddie did NOT literally kill anyone), because it is written in the first persona, is a true personal story in a very real but metaphorical sense.

Now I accept that this is my opinion - but given that "Bohemain" and "Rhapsody" are found in the title only, and that the words are not used in elsewhere in the song itself...


"Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."
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Posted: 25 Jul 04, 12:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

the 4th doctor (the great Tom Baker) was often described as a "bohemian"

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Posted: 25 Jul 04, 13:27 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The art of titles... this one and Innuendo are great because of that (and other thousand features of course). But I mean, who can name a song `Bohemian Rhapsody`? Geniuses are hard to comprehend. But the name is awesome. I confess I first listened to the song because of the title, I just saw it in a CD and thought "what the f**k is that?". Same with `Innuendo` and `39


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: 25 Jul 04, 13:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

When I was really little and listening to Bo Rhap, the operatic part scared me the most. I didn't understand why they didn't just let him go! :D


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Posted: 25 Jul 04, 13:45 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thanks, I didn`t know that. Why don`t you visit Royal Legend`s song analysis forum as well? You`d have so much fun there


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: 25 Jul 04, 15:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Philipp Nothaft: "Bohemian Rhapsody is a specific form of 19th-century music, i.e. a rhapsody incorporating motifs from Bohemian folkore music".

I did not know that either Philipp. Can you cite some evidence for this, as I have spent the last c90mins looking through many musical encyclopedia and dictionaries - and I can not find anything to collaborate.

Thanks.



"Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."
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Posted: 25 Jul 04, 18:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Philipp: Thanks, I never knew any of that before.

What I like about much of Queen (and The Beatles and Led Zeppelin also) is the multi-faceted titles (or lyrics), whereby they have many meanings - each adding a new dimension to the track.

A Good movie example of this could be the Harrison Ford vehicle "What Lies Beneath".

On one level it could mean, "What is hidden underneath the surface?". On another, "What untruths are about to be discovered?". On yet another level, it could mean, "What is the original motive behind it all?", and so on. The point is that all of these definitions are valid interpretations of the movie.

Likewise, is "Great King Rat" a salutation - or an ironic insult? etc, etc.

So with "Bohemain Rhapsody". I think any valid interpretation is viable, so long as it sticks to the rules of the title of the song. That gives plenty of room for personal interpretations - but it does have limits!

For example, football is played on a park, and within the limits of that field, the ball is either in play - or out of play.

Therefore to say BoRhap is biographical and that the bohemian Freddie refers to is himself, is at least in the "ballpark".

To say that the song is about a provincial Chezch busker (excuse my geography) is not in the correct ballpark.

Does any of this make sense, or, am I talking a load of b*llocks?



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Posted: 25 Jul 04, 19:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

interesting....


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Posted: 26 Jul 04, 00:48 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think Bohemian Rhapsody is a very interesting title, with many meanings, and that`s what Fred wanted, I guess. You can relate it to the 19th century piece, or to a medley of Bohemian compositions (and Bohemian can be either the region or the type of person)


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: 26 Jul 04, 00:55 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think he just thought it sounded neat and went with it. No more complicated than that.

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Posted: 26 Jul 04, 01:26 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote




"I'm not afraid to speak out and say the things I want and do the things I want,so um,I think in the end that being natural and quite genuine is what wins." Freddie Mercury
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Posted: 26 Jul 04, 17:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Well, I think I could say something to this - as I live in ’Bohemia’. In fact Bohemia is old name for the part of (today) Czech republic. It was used in the Middle Ages and sometimes it is used in geografical names (Bohemian forest) or things (Bohemian glass). But it’s hardly believable Freddie meant ’Bohemian’ in context with ’Bohemia’ (=Czech). Term ’Bohemian’ is usually used for non-traditional (wild or so) way of artists’ life. And Freddie almost certainly had in mind this meaning.

There is no context to Bohemia (or Czech) even in lyrics itself. In middle operatic part there are a couple of Italian terms (Scaramouch, mama mia, Gallileo figaro seems to me also Italian name) but nothing with connection to Bohemia (Czech).

BTW, it exists ’Czech rhapsody’ from Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu. And, of course, there are a lot of other rhapsodies (Hungarian, Rhapsody in blue etc.).

Well, it’s only my opinion about Bohemian rhapsody name. Only Freddie should say who is right.


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Posted: 27 Jul 04, 19:32 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Philipp Nothaft wrote:

Good post, Libor. Whereas I agree that the song itself doesn't bear any direct connections to Bohemia as a country, I'd still say that it is highly likely that the title Bohemian Rhapsody was a side-nod to all the Hungarian Rhapsodies and Bohemian Suites out there. I think the title is deliberately making use of all available denotations and connotations of the word "Bohemian".

And by the way: The Kingdom of Bohemia has been in existence until 1918, so this name is hardly restricted to the Middle Ages.


Yes, Philipp. If you say it so, it’s really possible that Freddie (whom passion in art and opera is well known) was interested in name Bohemian Rhapsody with connotation to a lot of rhapsodies in ’classic’ music. And, of course, that ’Bohemian’ should be more interesting for him thanks to the fact, that this term is a little bit strange, almost mystical for somebody (and a lot of people don’t know ’what the hell is it - this Bohemian’ :-).
To the Kingdom of Bohemia thing. Hmm, well, it’s hard to say it so. I know, of course, that after birth of Czechoslovakia republic is possible to say Kingdom of Bohemia ended, but I can also say that Kingdom of Bohemia as itself ended after year 1620 (White mountain battle) and reverted to Holy Roman Emperors and then after some hundreds years to Austrian Empire.
But I meant that term Bohemia is in our language very rarely used today and the same is true some hundreds years before. You can use it, but then it will be understand here (in our language) as poetic or obsolete word. For example one of our biggest classic composer Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904) lived before birth of Czechoslovakia, but it is Czech composer anyway (I never heard anybody would say he is ’Bohemian composer’). So - I meant with that, I said before, that word ’Bohemia(n)’ is old and for a long long time not used. I should say it probably in other words.

Well, sorry for this historical excess, I tried my best to explain what I said before. I hope, you’ll understand what I wanted to say - it is always horrible to convert such matter to English.

Have fine day.


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Posted: 27 Jul 04, 20:00 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

History is the most important science imo, so it`s great to learn it, even in a rock forum. Yes the "what the hell is that" hook is effective. Worked with me at least


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: 28 Jul 04, 17:48 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

O.K. O.K. I agree that from political and geographical point of view Kingdom of Bohemia ended after 1918. Maybe this trouble we are talking about could rise from translation problems. Or simply, I didn’t realize (when I said term Bohemia was mainly used in The Middle Ages) that it’s not true in foreign languages. We could use both terms in our language - Bohemia or Czech (Czech (Cechy) is not the same as Czech republic!). But name Bohemia isn’t used in our language for long time.
I was teached in school that the name our country (before, say, 1918) was ’Zeme koruny Ceske’ - translated exactly ’The lands of Czech crown’. So, if you asked me what I answer to question where lay Prague (Praha) before 1918, I answer simple: in Czech (Cechy) because term Cechy (Czech) for me is equal to Bohemia. Just now I find it’s probably not the same translated to English (Bohemia) or German (Böhmen, böhmisch). BTW, I know what you mean with ’Markgraf Moravia’ (’Markrabstvi Moravske’ in Czech language), but I am the second one who couldn’t translate it to English. I think Earldom is something little bit different, but who cares anyway in this Queenish debate :-)
End in end, we all are probably agreed that name of the song ’Bohemian rhapsody’ was very clever move from Freddie. And lyrics of it is second mystery and after almost 30 years we could spend many hours about it. Isn’t it fine ?

This time, very good night to everybody.


But now it's time to be gone - forever...