Learn how to play Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen on the piano! Follow along with your teacher Dan in the best tutorial online.
Bohemian Rhapsody is one of the most highly acclaimed songs in the history of modern music. There is simply no overstating its significance, whether it’s the award winning vocal delivery of Freddie Mercury, the unusual arrangement that challenged conventional standards, the accompanying ‘promotional’ video that set the stage for music and video as a medium, or the mammoth studio production that managed to exceed the limitations of studio technology at the time. Bohemian Rhapsody is a song that will go down in history as one of the most important contributions to modern music as we know it.
Released in 1975 on Queen’s album A Night At The Opera, Bohemian Rhapsody was slated to fail. Industry gatekeepers said it would never be a hit, as it lacked a proper chorus and was too long to be played on the radio (at five minutes and fifty five seconds), and many of the bands musician pals said the same. But with some clever strategy, they convinced a UK radio DJ to play small snippets as teasers until many fans were clamoring to purchase the single… before it was even released! So by the time Bohemian Rhapsody did reach the shelves, there was widespread demand and it was an immediate success at home and abroad, contrary to the old school expectations of the industry leaders.
The original idea for Bohemian Rhapsody originated in the 60’s when Freddie Mercury was playing around with an idea called “The Cowboy Song” – and slowly but surely he began to come up with clever additions until finally, the band spent three weeks in the studio putting all the different sections together, laughing all the while as they tried adding new and ever more bizarre elements. It was recorded in three separate parts and featured more than 180 overdubs, which was unprecedented in the days of 24 track analog tape machines. This meant that vocal harmonies and guitar parts had to be bounced down to create sub-mixes, which often degraded the quality of the tape. This is why there are clear moments of vocal distortion throughout the recording. Furthermore, the piano used was the same one that Paul McCartney played on Hey Jude!
The song has surged in popularity numerous times since it’s release due to the unfortunate death of Freddie Mercury in 1991, a placement in Wayne’s World, and the release of the eponymous biopic Bohemian Rhapsody in 2018, practically guaranteeing that it will remain a hit for many more years to come. Bohemian Rhapsody is the most streamed song of the 20th century, and the only video from before 1990 to surpass one billion views on YouTube.
At HDpiano, we have two versions. This is Devon by the way, and I taught the simplified melody version, which condenses the entire arrangement down to something that can be played at the piano. While some sections are appropriate for beginners, others demand more technical facility. Alternatively, if you’re more of a purist, then you can learn with Dan in his lesson, which teaches the piano part exactly as it was played by Freddie Mercury on the recording. Both lessons reflect the full form of the song, from the a cappella intro to the two-versed ballad to the guitar solo followed by the epic opera, the triplet based guitar jam and the final outro. We gave this song the full HDpiano that it deserves and we hope you enjoy the lesson!