Queen was at the peak of their popularity as they entered the decade of the 80s. The Game was released in early 1980 and became their first US number one album. It also contained four hit singles, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” an Elvis like song, the somewhat disco sounding “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Play the Game”. A fourth song “Save Me” was another British hit.
The main riff to “Another One Bites The Dust” is instantly recognizable the world over, but it’s more of the bass guitar part that pops out at people. The guitar is in more of a supportive roll here. The important things to keep in mind when playing the riff from this song is punctuation and timing.
A note with a little dot underneath as in the example below is called a staccato note. Staccato means “cut short crisply, detached”.
There should also be silence in between notes. This is indicated by rests.
An 8th rest looks like this: . An 8th rest means you must “rest” for half a beat. In other words 1/8th of the measure, hence the name 8th rest. That means during the duration of the rest no sound should come from your instrument.
A 16th rest looks like this: . A 16th rest means you must “rest for 1/4 of a beat.
A dot added to a rest means that you hold the rest for an additional 1/2 of the total value of the rest. So for example, this dotted 8th rest: means you rest for half a beat (the value of the rest) plus 1/2 of that. Half of half a beat is a 16th, so you rest for an 8th and a 16th.
This is a half rest: (looks like a hat on a man’s head). It gets 2 beats or half a measure.
A whole rest looks like this: (hat off the man’s head). I’m sure you guessed it by now, but it means to rest for a whole measure (4 beats).
While the main riff to “Another One Bites The Dust” is quite easy to learn and master, the pre-chorus is a whole different animal. Not that it’s technically hard to play, but the timing needed to play the riff on cue may take a little work. It’s easy to play this one wrong if you’re not paying attention.
Here’s what it’s supposed to sound like:
Remember, I said that timing was everything. Below is the riff played incorrectly.
It almost sounds the same, but…
What went wrong? Well, in the first and 3rd measure, no “space” is given between the last two notes. The 8th rest before the last note in these measures is omitted. Listen to the correct way and then the incorrect way and compare the two. Can you hear the difference?