Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Freddie's piano playing vs Brian's

forum rss feed
Author

The King Of Rhye user not visiting Queenzone.com

Deity: 2259 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 29 Mar 05, 20:04 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I've been listening to an awful lot of Queen lately (oddly enough), especially live performances...and I was thinking about the difference in Freddie and Brian's playing of the piano....now, I am no keyboard expert myself (I'm more of a guitar player) but it seems to me that Freddie's style is a more flowing, where as Brian's is more.....mechanical or deliberate, I'd say......not to say that he's bad or anythng , just different.....anybody have any thoughts on this?


I'll take you to the Seven Seas of Rhye
Lester Burnham user not visiting Queenzone.com

Deity: 5870 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 29 Mar 05, 20:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I would think that too until I heard the live stuff. 'Save Me' and 'Teo Torriate' (did Brian play piano on any other songs live?) sound really distinctive, and you can almost tell that it's Brian and not Freddie. I actually like hearing Brian on piano and wish he would do it more often, but I think he finally reached his peak on 'No One But You' which, oddly enough, was a tribute to Freddie's style.

doremi user not visiting Queenzone.com

Deity: 5193 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 29 Mar 05, 20:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Brian plays piano on "Save Me"? The piano on that is just stunning. What kind of piano? When did he play on "Save Me" in concert, you don't mean the record...

(also one of my favorite songs too)


xyz
Scott_Mercury user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 704 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 29 Mar 05, 20:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Arlene,

Freddie plays piano on the studio version of "Save Me".

Live...Brian starts it...Freddie finishes.


Having a smoking area in a restaurant is like having a pissing section in a swimming pool
XcessQueen user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 381 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 29 Mar 05, 20:32 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I just LOVE Freddie's style of playing.
I didn't even think about Brian's style of piano playing... ever...

doremi user not visiting Queenzone.com

Deity: 5193 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 29 Mar 05, 20:37 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Freddie's piano virtuosity was extraordinary and luminous...in every thing from BoRhap...to my favorite..when he plays on "Somebody To Love", which were the first songs I heard and loved by Queen and also were both the 1st performance videos I saw of Queen when I was a teen in the 70's. I fell in love with Freddie as a vocalist amd as a piano player...simply stunning...fluid, emotive, equal parts powerful and understated/sublime...


xyz
Scott_Mercury user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 704 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 29 Mar 05, 21:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Like I have said for years...and now Brian May is saying in interviews...

Freddie plays piano as if the piano is a percussion instrument.

Think about this.... Elton John said in a rare interview I have on film of him in 1982...this is an exact quote.

"How I play is totally opposite of say, my friend, Freddie Mercury, as in the fact that Freddie has that voice, and that bastard doesn't even have to think about his singing, he just concentrates on his playing....I on the other hand have been playing piano since I was 3, so I can forget about that, which is a good thing, because I must concentrate on my vocal."




Having a smoking area in a restaurant is like having a pissing section in a swimming pool
XcessQueen user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 381 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 29 Mar 05, 21:29 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Scott_Mercury wrote:


"How I play is totally opposite of say, my friend, Freddie Mercury, as in the fact that Freddie has that voice, and that bastard doesn't even have to think about his singing, he just concentrates on his playing....I on the other hand have been playing piano since I was 3, so I can forget about that, which is a good thing, because I must concentrate on my vocal."


:)) This is brilliant! :))


I remember Brian said in one interview - something like - there are many piano players who are better than Freddie, in a "technic of playing" point of view; but Freddie had that unbeatable feeling HOW to press keys...

And he held his fingers lowered, which is kinda unusual.

Hm... every time I see him play "Seven seas of rhye" I'm astonished... for me, he's a true piano-master.

The King Of Rhye user not visiting Queenzone.com

Deity: 2259 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 29 Mar 05, 23:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I remember reading in Peter Freestone's book, that Freddie thought that Mike Moran blew him away in terms of playing.........he must be good, because Freddie's no slouch!


I'll take you to the Seven Seas of Rhye
ernie user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 104 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 30 Mar 05, 00:06 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The King Of Rhye wrote:

I've been listening to an awful lot of Queen lately (oddly enough), especially live performances...and I was thinking about the difference in Freddie and Brian's playing of the piano....now, I am no keyboard expert myself (I'm more of a guitar player) but it seems to me that Freddie's style is a more flowing, where as Brian's is more.....mechanical or deliberate, I'd say......not to say that he's bad or anythng , just different.....anybody have any thoughts on this?


i agree with you because that's what i've always thought as well. freddie had a better "feel" of the piano. he had more grace and preciseness. him and another person could play the exact same song and you would almost always know which one was freddie

~-:Moet et Chandon:-~ user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 188 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 30 Mar 05, 03:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

This is an extremely interesting topic and I've often thought about the difference between Freddie and Brian's piano playing.

Freddie wasn't a technically brilliant pianist...if you had give any of the pieces he played to someone who is a learned pianist, they will be able to "technically" play it without any difficulty. Sure some of his pieces...Seven Seas of Rhye springs to mind...were tricky, but nothing extremely difficult from a technical point of view. BUT they may be able to play it, but they will not be able to play it with his feeling...he just had a distinct feel for the music. And that's a very rare thing...you can take a hundred pianists, they might all be equally learned and technically accomplished, but perhaps only one of them (and not neccesarily the best technically) would stand out as having a true "feel" for the music. (pianists would know what i mean lol...take Claire de Lune by Debussy, it's quite a playable piece, and yet it takes a hell of a pianist to play it so that it is truly convincing. Or take Rach pre3-2 C#m...I think u defn. need Freddie's attack to play *that* well lol!!)

And then as Brian said...he played with "attack and precision"...like a drummer..."metronomone in his head..." And more importantly than that I think, was what he said about his "sense of drama"...you can definitely sense that in his playing. And so I think the fact that Freddie wasn't perfect technically (and not by a long shot) counted for nothing, he was a virtuoso plain and simple! (out of interest, I'm not sure - what was the extent of Freddie's music piano tuition/studies?)

With Brian...well I love his piano playing. He definitely did not have Freddie's attack and precision (to use his own words lol), and perhaps he does not have the same innate "feel" for the piano (though he certainly posseses that with his Red Special!!), but what I like about his playing is that it tends to convey a lot of emotion, don't you think? It's often very soft and gentle...and well with a lot of feeling one has to say. Different to Freddie's, certainly. (For example, that "Butterfly" snippet from It's A Kind of Magic studio sessions on GVH2...it was painfully simple...you can play it just by listening to it...and yet I found it so beautiful and captivating...haunting even) And then even relative to Freddie, I don't think he quite had all his fancy bangs and whistles lol, but still he had a unique style and I think that Brian's stunning piano playing is just yet another feather in his cap.

End of the day? Certainly I think Freddie was better, no doubt about that, but they each had their own unique styles, and, Brian being the genius that he is, is still one damn interesting pianist! I would love to have heard more of his playing.


Trots om 'n Suid-Afrikaner te wees!
Bohardy user not visiting Queenzone.com

Deity: 2447 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 30 Mar 05, 19:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Fred was NOT a virtuoso pianist. By any stretch of the imagination. Do you guys who say he was even know what virtuoso means in the context of piano playing? I think not.

Mike Moran is obviously in a completely different league to Fred on the piano, and even he isn't a virtuoso. On a scale of 1 to 10, Fred would be about a 5, and Mike an 8.

And all this talk about Fred's feeling, and touch, and fluidity, and emotion, and power, and fawn fawn fawn, suck suck suck, is just ridiculous toadying to the Lord Fred.

Fred was a good piano player. Nothing more, nothing less.

He did play with good time (as any good musician should be able to do - if you can't then you're lacking the most fundamental of musical skills) but that doesn't set him apart. Neither does his percussive style of playing, which is perhaps the most interesting aspect of his playing, although in reality it's not interesting.

There are VERY few instances in Queen's recorded output where Fred plays anything other than chords in the right hand, and bass notes (usually in octaves) in the left. The scant occasions where he does deviate from this framework usually see him just playing arpeggiated chords. It's not difficult in the slightest to replicate of you consider yourself a piano player.

Oh, and Brian DEFINITELY played the piano on Save Me. He confirmed it himself.


Gullibility and credulity are considered undesirable qualities in every department of human life -- except religion.
doremi user not visiting Queenzone.com

Deity: 5193 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 30 Mar 05, 20:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Bohardy wrote:

Fred was NOT a virtuoso pianist. By any stretch of the imagination. Do you guys who say he was even know what virtuoso means in the context of piano playing? I think not.

And all this talk about Fred's feeling, and touch, and fluidity, and emotion, and power, and fawn fawn fawn, suck suck suck, is just ridiculous toadying to the Lord Fred.



No not toadying..music and beauty (here the beauty of Freddie's piano playing) are in the eye of the beholder. And he's more than Lord Fred, he's Prince Fred Darling!



xyz
ernie user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 104 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 30 Mar 05, 20:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Bohardy wrote:

Fred was NOT a virtuoso pianist. By any stretch of the imagination. Do you guys who say he was even know what virtuoso means in the context of piano playing? I think not.

Mike Moran is obviously in a completely different league to Fred on the piano, and even he isn't a virtuoso. On a scale of 1 to 10, Fred would be about a 5, and Mike an 8.

And all this talk about Fred's feeling, and touch, and fluidity, and emotion, and power, and fawn fawn fawn, suck suck suck, is just ridiculous toadying to the Lord Fred.

Fred was a good piano player. Nothing more, nothing less.

He did play with good time (as any good musician should be able to do - if you can't then you're lacking the most fundamental of musical skills) but that doesn't set him apart. Neither does his percussive style of playing, which is perhaps the most interesting aspect of his playing, although in reality it's not interesting.



why can't we compliment his piano playing even if he isn't a virtuoso? virtuosity is such a crap concept...it's someone showing off their technical ability on the piano so people can go "wow" but what does it mean? there's no feeling in it.

just because freddie didn't do that it doesn't mean that he's just average on the piano. i hate this ridiculous notion of "professionalism" because it alienates anyone who even tries to take part in music because they can't imitate those self-satisfied virtuosos.

Scott_Mercury user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 704 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 30 Mar 05, 23:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

True, True..

Virtuoso is a overused and abused term.

If we are talking 1 to 10 scale piano playing, with 10 being virtuoso, and 1 is beginner... you have:

Freddie Mercury- 7
Elton John - 7
Billy Joel - 7
John Lennon- - 4
Paul McCartney - 6
Jerry Lee Lewis- 7


Liberace - 10
Thelonous Monk - 9

So.... name a handful of Liberace and Monk hits.

It also should be noted that while Elton is thought of much more of "piano man" then Freddie,

Freddie and Billy Joel both have much more complicated songs.....whether you like BoRhap & Innuendo or not... these songs are much more complicated then anything Elton has done.

However, when Elton is just jamming, he is pretty limitless....
So I think Freddie, Elton, and Joel are all about right on par with each other.

Moral of the story above..
"Virtuoso" doesn't mean popular.



Having a smoking area in a restaurant is like having a pissing section in a swimming pool
My Melancholy Blues user not visiting Queenzone.com
My Melancholy Blues
Royalty: 1039 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 31 Mar 05, 01:37 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I love Freddie's piano playing a lot! ...sounds somewhat classical and graceful even in heavy tunes such as "Death On Two Legs" and he sometimes played ad-lib somewhat classically for an intro on live stage. His playing often reminds me Chopin's compositions. That reminds me "Frederic" Chopin was his fav. classical composer. I think he loved training classical piano lessons and was inspired from them a lot. He sometimes played beautiful arpeggios, so I also think both he loved and he knew he was good at playing them...his playing is no doubt one of the striking points of Queen music.


Je vais bien.

Estoy bien.
~-:Moet et Chandon:-~ user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 188 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 31 Mar 05, 01:45 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

To respond to what Bohardy said above...well that's all true. I never said Freddie *was* an exceptional pianist (technically, though). And well I'm a Queen fan so obviously I am not going to say, ah average, mediocre, so-so. But while it's true that all his pieces were not incredibly complicated - from Death on Two Legs (intro anyway) to Seven Seas of Rhye or Bo Rhap, and if you want to compare him to an accomplished pianist - well hell then I suppose he was (technically) not good at all. But I think the sheer fact that Freddie was such a genius in the true sense of the word (can you deny that?) added so much to his piano playing to raise it way above the ordinary. Anyone can *learn* to play the piano, but some just have a gift...and I agree wholeheartedly with what ernie said.

And then Scott_Mercury, well it's difficult to rank them like that...Freddie on par with Elton and Jerry Lee Lewis? That's a tough call. Technical-aspects is the only ground on which you can fairly compare them (in which case Freddie would lag behind badly) but there's far more to it than that of course.


Trots om 'n Suid-Afrikaner te wees!
XcessQueen user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 381 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 31 Mar 05, 08:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I don't give a **** about what Bohardy say.

Montserrat Caballe said to Freddie (on the day they've met for the first time):

"... I shall give it a world premiere in three days time at Covent Garden. And YOU shall play."

Would greatest opera diva risked to have someone who is not excellent piano player - to play on her concert???

Scott_Mercury user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 704 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 31 Mar 05, 09:15 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Moet,

You are right...
Freddie's playing itself is probably not there from a technical point of voice with Elton and Jerry Lee Lewis.

What's amazing is, is that somewhere along the line, Freddie as picked up a great grasp of music theory.

And the truth is....it may just be through trial and error, and by what he hears.

For example, McCartney and Lennon have both said... they thought it was hilarious when some music buff would tell them... "I loved how you combined the Dsus2 chord, with the diminished A chord, while playing the melody in E Harmonic Minor"....

McCartney used to say that they had no clue what they were doing, they would just piece chords together until it sounded good....then show Harrison what was going on, and he's arpeggiate a melody over it, or strum chords too.

______________The reason I ranked Freddie's ability so high, and I know Sebastian would agree... is that the complexity of Fred's songs made the other 3 in the band look like rank amatures.
And this is a fact.

"March of the Black Queen", "Bo Rhap", "Killer Queen"...etc could have NEVER BEEN WRITTEN by any of the other three.

Its way out of their realm of complex theory knowledge.
While Brian, knowing the chord changes, and what key the song is in can figure out his part....he would just be more likey to write a "Fat Bottom Girls" himself.

...I was just on a website the other day where someone said "Innuendo is my favorite song by Roger Taylor".

As I keep saying...Innuendo has to be Freddie's, because no one else in the band has the knowledge to compose a song with 30+ chords in it, and make it work.

Compare Innuendo to "Fun It"....does that sound like its written by the same person?


Having a smoking area in a restaurant is like having a pissing section in a swimming pool
XcessQueen user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 381 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 31 Mar 05, 09:29 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Scott_Mercury wrote:


someone said "Innuendo is my favorite song by Roger Taylor".

As I keep saying...Innuendo has to be Freddie's, because no one else in the band has the knowledge to compose a song with 30+ chords in it, and make it work.

Compare Innuendo to "Fun It"....does that sound like its written by the same person?


No, it doesn't sound.

But, from what I know - Innuendo is Roger's song.

If someone has a proof that I'm wrong, please write it.