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Over time I have become increasingly convinced that Kashmir is one of the great masterworks of Western Civilization.

Yes I am a proud Zeppelin fanboy given to flights of hyperbole.

Getting to know this great song is like peeling back the layers of an onion. One consistent thread for me with this song is the deft, subtle nature of the arrangement for strings and horns. The more I listen to it, the more maddening it is to precisely separate which instruments are weaving in and around the drums, bass, and guitar.

Being a big Beatles fan, I had an epiphany a few years ago when I realized that one of the crucial aspects of their creative hot streak between June 1967 and November 1968 was the marrying of rock music and instruments (oboe, clarinet, etc.) most commonly associated with orchestras. The epiphany came when I realized that someone (George Martin?) had to physically hand-write the scores that would then be played by other musicians. A bold blend of rock and classical instrumentation. But someone had to write the scores. If this individual was Martin (as I doubt any Beatle had the ability to write musical notation
at that time,
though I could be wrong), then his stature grows even larger to me as a presence with this band.

Which leads me to Kashmir. Searching the archives here for an answer to who wrote the sheet music to Kashmir, I came across this entry a few years back:

“12.) Regarding Kashmir and the ghost track of the orchestra parts. Has there been any information regarding the names of the session players for the left over ghost track that remains? Is the handwritten sheet music put together by JPJ that was dated November 10, 1976 been located since it’s sale? Any idea who Chris was who drew up that sheet music?”

I was unable to find an answer to this individual’s question. So, I wonder:

1) what is this “ghost track,” exactly?

2) was the sheet music actually written by Jones?

3) who sold the sheet music, and to whom?

4) who is Chris?

Hey Steve A. Jones, can you help a brother out?

Anyway, a great use of strings. Bonham and Plant always blow me away.

While on the topic of the instruments involved in the recording of this track, I wanted to pose a second question. Is it a mellotron that is heard in the left channel between 3:25 and 4:21? And also in the right channel from 6:43 to the end? To me, Jones’ parts here are crucial to the middle-eastern feel of the song.

While on the topic of the mellotron, I found this recently. It contains photos of Jones’ mellotrons:

I searched the archives and found that this page has not yet been posted or referred to.

Third and final question. Is the distortion on Bonham’s single-stroke snare roll at 8:07 the same synth that was used on his timpani/kettle drums on the 1977 tour?

If no one can help with the orchestral instrumentation, I might send Kashmir on disc to my uncle, who was Costa Rica’s symphony conductor in the seventies. I am sure he can sniff out what is buried in there.

Thanks for the help. I love Kashmir. One of my favorite songs by any band.

In The Light since 1972.

Trampled Under Foot. My life with Led Zeppelin.

Edited by petedelorean

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Jones wrote the "orchestral" part without a doubt, as for Bonham, he has a Phaser effect running through his drums microphones during all the song, and Jimmy used his Danelectro guitar on this track. It's more likely that JPJ used his melotron on some parts of this track, for the descending riff parts.

To anwser your last question, it's just a drum roll with phaser on it.

EDIT - I forgot to mention that everytime that they go into the descendent riff, Jimmy overdubbed a guitar doing the same.

Edited by magerogue

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I saw this on wikipedi:

"Bonham's drums featured a phasing effect (giving the bass drum its heavy, thundering "thump" sound) courtesy of an early Eventide phaser supplied by engineer Ron Nevison. [4] Plant stated that Bonham's drumming is the key to the song: "It was what he didn't do that made it work". [2] Sections of the song utilize a polymeter effect, with the drums and lyrics in quadruple meter while the melodic instruments play a triple meter rhythmic pattern"

Orchestral brass and strings with electric guitar and mellotron strings appear in the song. This is one of the few Led Zeppelin songs to use outside musicians. Session players were brought in for the string and horn sections. [3] According to Jones, "the secret of successful keyboard string parts is to play only the parts that a real string section would play. That is, one line for the First Violins, one line for Second Violins, one for Violas, one for Cellos, one for Basses. Some divided parts [two or more notes to a line] are allowed, but keep them to a minimum. Think melodically".

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashmir_(song)#_

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You already may know this but on 'It Might Get Loud', Page tells the Edge how the song originated. I've known how to play the song for ages but when Page explained how it's almost a circular pattern, I thought, 'holy shit, how come I didn't see this?'. I firmly believe that this is the greatest rock song of all time. There are amazing songs out there but this is incredible. I saw it quoted once, (I'll try to find it later) that this song represents the last dinosaur on Earth walking down the street. Pretty simplistic yet pretty powerful.

Cheers on an interesting topic.

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if you enjoy hearing a nice clean mix...

you will detect some development and musical risk taking in this one particularly Bonham and his fills. JPJ laid so far back he barely had a pulse yet perfectly aligned with Bonham. Magic.

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Being a big Beatles fan, I had an epiphany a few years ago when I realized that one of the crucial aspects of their creative hot streak between June 1967 and November 1968 was the marrying of rock music and instruments (oboe, clarinet, etc.) most commonly associated with orchestras. The epiphany came when I realized that someone (George Martin?) had to physically hand-write the scores that would then be played by other musicians. A bold blend of rock and classical instrumentation. But someone had to write the scores. If this individual was Martin (as I doubt any Beatle had the ability to write musical notation
at that time,
though I could be wrong), then his stature grows even larger to me as a presence with this band.

This is generally known as Baroque Pop.

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For Pete: Good topic and insights to what separated the Beatles from many others.

George Martin's approach to orchestration was crucial, and you can see how John Paul Jones learned from it as well by the way JPJ orchestrated the Rolling Stones' "She's Like a Rainbow".

They knew that for rock music, it was best to use only certain segments of the symphonic orchestra and to leave the syrupy strings behind for the most part. Woodwinds, brass, cellos, violas...those worked best. And all in moderation.

That is why the George Martin produced Beatles and the Led Zeppelin and Page/Plant orchestrations work better than the heavy-handed approach by Phil Spector's "Let It Be" Beatles sessions, Deep Purple, ELP, Metallica and others trying to meld rock and the symphony together. It just comes off as bogus pomposity.

For Dallas Knebs: Great link...a truly mind-boggling read. And it also made me appreciate the clear and readable design and format of this forum compared to others.

Thanks Sam.

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Thank you Strider and second the sentiment- Thanks Sam, such a world apart from the try hards

For Dallas Knebs: Great link...a truly mind-boggling read. And it also made me appreciate the clear and readable design and format of this forum compared to others.

Thanks Sam.

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You already may know this but on 'It Might Get Loud', Page tells the Edge how the song originated. I've known how to play the song for ages but when Page explained how it's almost a circular pattern, I thought, 'holy shit, how come I didn't see this?'. I firmly believe that this is the greatest rock song of all time. There are amazing songs out there but this is incredible. I saw it quoted once, (I'll try to find it later) that this song represents the last dinosaur on Earth walking down the street. Pretty simplistic yet pretty powerful.

Cheers on an interesting topic.

That scene was evidently excised from the theatrical release of It MIght Get Loud and so it does not appear in the movie if you catch it on cable/satellite television. I saw it as an "extra scene" on Youtube. It is a wonderful scene and I am not sure why they cut it. Definitely worth checking out. The Edge accurately described the drums for Kashmir as "ominous". I liked that. Jimmy makes playing look effortless, like all the great talents, it just comes naturally to him.

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after watching Celebration Day's Kashmir this afternoon... I focused on the orchestration that JPJ lends to this performance via the keyboards and foot pedals. The placement and timing and variations are brilliant.

George Martin's approach to orchestration was crucial, and you can see how John Paul Jones learned from it as well by the way JPJ orchestrated the Rolling Stones' "She's Like a Rainbow".

For Dallas Knebs: Great link...a truly mind-boggling read. And it also made me appreciate the clear and readable design and format of this forum compared to others.

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I came across this video on Vimeo the other day.

It's by Patrik Wallner, titled Visualtraveling - Myanmar.

The soundtrack used makes me think of "Kashmir".

Enjoy !

BTY, the 1977 version of "Kashmir" as I heard it live on May 22nd in Ft. Fort Worth, was one of the pinnacles of my Zep listening experiences.

Edited by The Rover

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Becoming increasingly obsessed with the answer to who wrote the score to the orchestration of Kashmir.

If anyone stumbles across this thread and knows the answer, please post!

Thanks.

Jonesy did it. He's done tons of orchestral writing. Check out the last couple of minutes of 'Snake Eyes' from 'Zooma' where he turns the blues into a Stravinsky-esque fugetta with a string orchestra. He's got a LOT of talent has Jones.

One of his gripes during the P&P era (other than not being invited and the fact it was called 'No Quarter') was that they nicked borrowed his orchestral arrangements for Kashmir and The Rain Song.

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Love topics like this. It brings me to a deeper understanding of the majesty of the Zep. It was what I was saying about the treatment of Zep as a "rock on dude" kind of band in another thread. They were so much more than that and deserved that level of regard.

The symphonic/chorale arrangement of Stairway brings home what a beautifully written song it is.

I prattle on about my Zep wannabe friend Ian Thornley and Big Wreck, but they did a show in Toronto in 2001with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra which short of the two Zep shows I saw in NYC '75 and '77 was the best show I have ever seen.

They opened with this. The intro melody is "By the Way" which in it's original arrangement is VERY Zep. The song is Undersold and even though it's a bit rough because it was the first song, the strings really augment the song to great effect.

Like I said, love these topics.

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Jonesy did it. He's done tons of orchestral writing. Check out the last couple of minutes of 'Snake Eyes' from 'Zooma' where he turns the blues into a Stravinsky-esque fugetta with a string orchestra. He's got a LOT of talent has Jones.

One of his gripes during the P&P era (other than not being invited and the fact it was called 'No Quarter') was that they nicked borrowed his orchestral arrangements for Kashmir and The Rain Song.

Thanks!

In The Light since 1972.

Trampled Under Foot. My life with Led Zeppelin.

http://petedelorean.tumblr.com/

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On 11/3/2012 at 6:27 PM, Dallas Knebs said:

 

 

near completed mix

Can you confirm where this came from? --- It does sound very much like the actual track (drum bass and one guitar) and it does indeed sound like this cycle continues through the early bridges (that feature brass and violins) underneath what we normally "hear" as the bridge... my only question is the tempos are different from the original (but the tuning isn't different) which would seem to not make sense unless this has been manipulated digitally to preserve the pitch.... otherwise this would have to be an alternate take?

If you've ever tried to play the bass part with the bridge section overlay it is very very hard to do --- and this answer the question to me why JPJ's bass only changes on some bridge parts and stays the same as the verses on others..... because the initial arrangement before brass and strings didn't have the bridge inserts/overlays....

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It's great to hear that stripped back epicness. They had such a killer foundation to work from and the good sense to keep it minimalist.

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Jones wrote all of the symphonic notation for the track and conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra for the recording of the track. Bonham uses an Eventide Phaser on his drums which were recorded in the same hall in Hedley Grange as WTLB with two mic's positioned above his kit. Jones played mellotron, bass, and an unnamed synthesizer as well on Kashmir. Page played the main riff on his #1 GLP & his Fender XII so the riff is actually doubled. Then in several sections he also uses his Danelectro as well and possibly even a Danelectro sitar but the sitar is unconfirmed.

Though Kashmir SOUNDS simple, it is actually extremely complex and a complete bitch to play live with even the best musicians mostly due to the different time signatures. The band utilizes, (once again) two different time signature simultaneously, 4/4 & 2/4 for drums and vocals and the guitar in 3/8 with the guitar synching up with the drums on the eight note only. That was bad enough but the song is broken down into four main sections each different (some subtle, some obvious) with complex changes just to loop back on itself. This is why the band would occasionally get lost in the song or changes get missed when played live.

Kashmir is quite a masterpiece. A typical prog rock song, which Kashmir surely is, is overtly complex and bloated but the boys take the complex and make it sound simple and accessible. Brilliant!

Edited by PeaceFrogYum

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On 9/11/2019 at 8:17 PM, PeaceFrogYum said:

Jones wrote all of the symphonic notation for the track and conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra for the recording of the track. Bonham uses an Eventide Phaser on his drums which were recorded in the same hall in Hedley Grange as WTLB with two mic's positioned above his kit. Jones played mellotron, bass, and an unnamed synthesizer as well on Kashmir. Page played the main riff on his #1 GLP & his Fender XII so the riff is actually doubled. Then in several sections he also uses his Danelectro as well and possibly even a Danelectro sitar but the sitar is unconfirmed.

Though Kashmir SOUNDS simple, it is actually extremely complex and a complete bitch to play live with even the best musicians mostly due to the different time signatures. The band utilizes, (once again) two different time signature simultaneously, 4/4 & 2/4 for drums and vocals and the guitar in 3/8 with the guitar synching up with the drums on the eight note only. That was bad enough but the song is broken down into four main sections each different (some subtle, some obvious) with complex changes just to loop back on itself. This is why the band would occasionally get lost in the song or changes get missed when played live.

Kashmir is quite a masterpiece. A typical prog rock song, which Kashmir surely is, is overtly complex and bloated but the boys take the complex and make it sound simple and accessible. Brilliant!

Thanks - I'm interested in where you got the info about the guitars used on the recording.... I've been listening pretty close trying to "hear" the Fender 12 on there - I have not picked it out of the mix yet but I'm deconstructing and rebuilding it now. I'm in the middle of recording a N4N recreation of the song --- here's some early sketches of me working out the orchestration

I beat mapped the drums from the original zeppelin tune to create my time grid then programmed my own drums in (but kept Bonzo's time drift). I've just been adding instruments and tweaking the sound trying to zero in on the mix and production secrets as I build the arrangement. Here's where I'm at now.... still a long way to go.

 

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Here's the arrangement leading into the breakdown at the first coda section.... still scratch tracks as we build the arrangement and tweak the time grid.

 

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