I tried to find some explanation for this based on watching this YouTube video

I found a similar question on here, but I'm not sure it addresses my specific situation.

If anyone here can elaborate that would be excellent, since I think it would be rather pointless to do this as it's easy to reach the F3 and G4 if you are not playing them together.

  • 3
    Yeah, but how good does it look?!? Freddie was more of a showman than PT Barnum.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 7:03

2 Answers 2


If anyone here can elaborate that would be excellent, since I think it would be rather pointless to do this as it's easy to reach the F3 and G4 if you are not playing them together.

It is octaves. You can not easily reach those octaves with the right hand. Doing it the way he does with cross-handed technique is just a simple way that makes sense.

You could play the lower notes of the octaves with the right hand, but you would still need to cross over with the left hand to play the upper notes of the octaves.

If you want to avoid cross-handed technique completely you would need to shift your right hand position one octave up and then back to reach the low F and and then one octave up again. That is ackward to say the least.

Doing it the way he does means that the right hand plays the accompaniment and sticks to that while the left hand crosses over and plays that little motive. Thus you can easily play the right hand without disturbance in the accompaniment and play the motive with the left hand with a clear seperate sound quality.

Anyway, play it the way that works for you.

  • Mozart's piano sonatas are full of this. One hand is noodling accompaniment, while the other occasionally crosses over to echo a melodic phrase as if it were, say, bassoon answering flute. Commented Jun 30, 2019 at 18:58

Lines and phrasing. Nothing more. Freddie approached this song as a singer also playing the piano, not a piano player playing both the melody and piano part.

Think orchestrally or as if you are singing. The RH plays the melody notes of A Bb Bb and, how the music is written, the final Bb is a whole note. Now sure, you can use the sustain pedal and sustain the Bb and it dies away or even just let it go as you play the octave notes with the same hand but, if you were singing or playing that melody on a wind instrument, you would be trapped there holding the Bb for four or eight beats. You couldn't stop (or lift your hand) to play the broken chord and octave notes because it would break your phrasing. I know, it doesn't matter to the ear of the listener but musically, linear wise, breath wise, you are breaking the line by switching up the hands. It has little to do with technique and more to do with what is going on inside your heart and soul.

So since the LH is already playing arpeggiated chords and has its own counter melody of those octave notes, it is best to musically cross the hands over to continue the lines each hand started. Each hand has its own line even though the right hand's note is a whole note.

To break the invisible line with your hands, sure, the average musician won't notice but, someone who is listening to the piece as if it were being played by individual instruments would immediately hear the disconnect even if you don't. There are a lot of things we think we get away with by using the sustain pedal but we don't. Not to real musicians with ears that hear.

Listen to a four part fugue played by four distinct wind instruments then listen to the same fugue played by a pianist. The instruments will proffer four distinct lines with their own phrasing as they flutter together like four butterflies doing a fugal mating dance in the air. Chances are the pianist is just playing a bunch of notes. The sustain pedal then becomes a crutch which just amalgamates "stuff" and creates additional multi timbrel'd notes that should not be there. I would compare it to putting on glasses that are not your own and everything looks blurry. Breaking the lines makes it aurally blurry. Again, the average person never notices this. They just hear the whole. Like looking at those Magic Eye books. Some people see billions of dots, others see the hidden image they create. Hey, a bunny . . .

Listen to this guy play Bach's Little Fugue in G Minor on the piano. It is nice. You can clearly hear the subject each time it enters. Bravo for him. The digital reverb is a, uhm, like, you know, a nice touch, shall we say.

Now listen to four distinct instruments playing their own lines. Pick one of the instruments and listen to how it weaves in and out of the whole. Listen how they answer one another, like Freddie's LH octave notes.

This is what we should strive for. Not to play a bunch of notes, be a slave to the notation, or mash it all together with the sustain pedal. Other than harps and guitars, no other instrument can do that.

Go find an organ and play Freddy's BR. Your RH will be forced to be anchored to the Bb, your foot would be stuck on a pedal tone Bb and that forces the LH to play those counter 6ths and 5ths. Just like Freddy originally played it on the piano.

What is wrong with Freddie? Iguessnoonetaughthimthathecouldjustsmooshallthosenotestogetherwiththesustainpedal.

This is why pianists should sing. It teaches them phrasing. Or, at least, dabble in a wind instrument or organ so they don't learn to just throw notes away or cheat.

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