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 the body electric

Deconstructing Kashmir, Part Two

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(Note: I posted this to the main forum but got no answers regarding the sheet music and mellotron. Thought I might try here.)

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.

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