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rose62

Page's method of composition

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Has Page ever been asked in an interview about his technique for song writing?  I've begun tuning several of my guitars in open tuning and find it so much easier that way to come up with hooks for tunes.  I'm pretty sure that there are a number of Zep tunes played in open tuning, especially those featuring slide. But I wonder if he primarily wrote songs while using alternate tuning. 

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2 hours ago, JTM said:

DADGAD.

Which was invented by one of the players who Page lifted from the most: Davy Graham.

Besides the Stairway to Heaven intro being lifted from Graham’s rendition of “Cry Me a River”, Page took Graham’s playing and turned it into White Summer, Four Sticks, Over the Hills and Far Away, Kashmir...

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7 hours ago, pluribus said:

Which was invented by one of the players who Page lifted from the most: Davy Graham.

Besides the Stairway to Heaven intro being lifted from Graham’s rendition of “Cry Me a River”, Page took Graham’s playing and turned it into White Summer, Four Sticks, Over the Hills and Far Away, Kashmir...

Yes indeed, that's correct. Everybody borrows from somewhere else.

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Open tunings opened up so many doors for me. Especially Open G (KEITH!!!). I dare you not to have fun with it. I take the Low E string off and the chords just slam! 

From another thread here.....

 

Screen Shot 2020-06-29 at 6.46.07 AM.png

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Page also stole/borrowed greatly from Bert Jansch. Black Waterside anyone?

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Posted (edited)

Despite all this, by far the majority of Zep songs were written and played in Standard Tuning.
Your choice of tuning can greatly influence the overall sounds and textures of whatever it is you compose, but using a tuning on a guitar is not a method of composition, it's just the tool you use to express your musical ideas.
In the early days of Zep, Page was obviously listening to other music voraciously - early blues, the folkiier musicians of the time as well as current bands of the time - and a lot of what he listened to informed his musical ideas (and his choice of tunings).  His method of composition was pretty much like everyone else, ever:  Listen to the stuff going on around you, stick it in a big mixing pot, add the filter of your own taste and preferences and see what comes out the other end.  There's no 'trick' or magic(k) to it.  Except, perhaps, the application of your own musical character to make all of the things you have referenced distinctively your own.
He also had access to another great compositional tool - great collaborators who a) didn't necessarily listen to the same things he did (adding different influences can change the way you approach playing literally anything you hear), and very importantly b) came up with brilliant ideas of their own.  If you come up with an idea, and run it through that particular filter you often find your own idea gets enhanced by the application of other peoples ideas, and their interpretation of your original idea.  I'm sure I recall members of the band saying in interviews how much material came out of the improvised jams (and the way the band interacted in those jams), that happened when they were playing live - one of the best compositional tools there is!

Edited by woz70

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Yes, to the previous post.  The one with probably the most structured musical knowledge was John Paul Jones whom Page had worked with in recording sessions.  Jimmy may have recognized Jones' talents back then. The main asset that JPJ had in Zeppelin was his ability to take the sounds he heard from his  band mates and come up with an “arrangement”.

The reason that I state this is that many of Zeppelin's songs almost have a “Classical” feel to them which upon repeated listenings do take on a really symphonic feel.  Just as a well-rehearsed symphony orchestra would do, Zeppelin used the “light and shade” approach to their lengthy hits songs.  Page, himself, described his work into that phrase.
 

ADK-Zeppy

 

 

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Going again to JPJ, starting in the studio, Page could not have achieved what he did without JPJ. Each member totally indispensable, sure. But staring maybe 10-15 years ago, It really started to be known that stuff claimed by Page as his,

JPJ actually contributed far more than is known. After Zep, Page had two things disappear which really showed up in his solo career. Bonham is the first thing, Bonham laid down a huge bed for Page to play in. Page struggled with this pretty

much till the time until his by default retirement after the last Zep show in 07'. Then JPJ would fill in the blanks for many songs, and according  to many sources Page rarely walked into the studio with a completel composition.

Tunings are great creative tools, and I knew and played all the Zep tunes with tunings. The big problem is having to haul 

around 5-6 guitars because of the tunings. As far as composition, JIimmy said he talked or questioned many musicians

about their creative process. He found out there isn't any set way. And Jimmy has said the same......no real rules. And yes

Page mainly played an acoustic at home, often in alternate tunings.

Edited by Mithril46
Wrong spelling

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On 6/28/2020 at 9:11 PM, pluribus said:

Which was invented by one of the players who Page lifted from the most: Davy Graham.

Besides the Stairway to Heaven intro being lifted from Graham’s rendition of “Cry Me a River”, Page took Graham’s playing and turned it into White Summer, Four Sticks, Over the Hills and Far Away, Kashmir...

No wait.................that was Randy California!  :-)

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On 6/29/2020 at 6:49 AM, pageluvva said:

Open tunings opened up so many doors for me. Especially Open G (KEITH!!!). I dare you not to have fun with it. I take the Low E string off and the chords just slam! 

From another thread here.....

 

Screen Shot 2020-06-29 at 6.46.07 AM.png

+ Wonderful One

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On 6/28/2020 at 9:11 PM, pluribus said:

Besides the Stairway to Heaven intro being lifted from Graham’s rendition of “Cry Me a River”, Page took Graham’s playing and turned it into White Summer, Four Sticks, Over the Hills and Far Away, Kashmir...

Thanks for this insight.  I heard Bert Jansch's Black Waterside and it's definitely the original Black Mountain Side. One thing that I find curious about your comment is the inclusion of Four Sticks. I don't see how that fits. Could you expand on that some?

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11 hours ago, Christopher Lees said:

Thanks for this insight.  I heard Bert Jansch's Black Waterside and it's definitely the original Black Mountain Side. One thing that I find curious about your comment is the inclusion of Four Sticks. I don't see how that fits. Could you expand on that some?

 

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Well, Davy Graham also had a bit "dark" feeling for that one. Somehow it reminded me of some Cream-stuff too, or am I just imagining...?😗

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