PINK FLOYDSourish Ghosh, Amanda Peck, Tara Misra,Melanie Pha
INTRODUCTIONPink Floyd, has achieved international acclaimwith their progressive and psychedelic music.The group has been one of the mostinnovative groups both in concert and studio.Their music has almost taken on a classical,operatic quality, and has pushed boundariesof music to their outer limits. Moreover theyare one of the most commercially successfuland musically influential groups in the historyof popular music.
HISTORYIn 1964, Roger Waters, Richard Wright and Nick Mason formedSigma 6. They changed their band names, and in Autumn1966 they recruited two guitar players Bob Close and RogerSyd Barret. They eventually changed their name to The PinkFloyd Sound.Before long, they dropped the words "The" and Sound" andmade their first album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Theyrecorded this right down the hall from where The Beatles wererecording Sgt Peppers. So they got to know The Beatles verywell.
HISTORY CONTINUEDIn late 1967, David Gilmour was added as thefifth member of Pink Floyd. He was supposedto cover for Syd Barrett on stage.However Syd's acid addiction got the better ofhim, and Syd was institutionalized for drugabuse in 1974. The band continued onwithout Syd.
PINK FLOYD MUSIC BIOGRAPHYThe group landed a recording contract with EMI and madethe Top 20 with a brilliant debut single "Arnold Layne"Their 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon finally broke PinkFloyd as superstars in the United States where itreached number 1. The follow-up Wish You Were Herealso became number 1.
MUSICAL STYLE HISTORYAt first, Pink Floyd were much more conventional,concentrating on the rock and R&B.However they quickly began to experiment,stretching outsongs with wild instrumental freak-out passagesincorporating feedback, electronic screeches, andunusual eerie sounds created by loudamplification,reverb and such tricks as sliding ballbearings up and down guitar strings.
Other Musical Styles of the Time(60s)-Psychedelic Rock, Blues Rock, Folk Rockwere among the popular musical styles of the1960's-Later half included Progressive Rock andHeavy Rock-Popular groups include: The Beatles, RollingStones, The Animals, The Yardbirds, LedZeppelin, The Beach Boys
Musical Elements of 1960's-Rhythm and Blues continued to influence thestyle of Rock Music-Improvisation became more popular-Experimentation with classical music stylessuch as Baroque-Rock music had many different genres/stylesat this point
Other Musical Styles of the Time(70s)-Popular styles of rock included: ProgressiveRock, Hard Rock, Country Rock, Punk Rock,and Blues Rock-Popular groups included: Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Journey, Bob Dylan, Queen,Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac
Musical Elements of the 1970's-Many different groups of music now. R&B,country, pop, and rock seem to be separatecategories of music-Experimental music included electronic musicwith synthesizers or harmonicas-Rock music became a fusion of differentsounds (ie: southern rock combined rock,country, and blues music)
The Genre of Pink Floyd MusicProgressive RockWhat is Progressive Rock?-The combining of rock rhythm with elements of art music:instrumentation, extended song form, harmonysophistication, lyrical complexity, metric complexity,complex rhythms, and/or virtuosity.-For a group to be called "progressive rock" their music didnot need to possess all of these elements. Only somemeasure of incorporation of art music style into their rockmusic was needed for the label
Progressive Rock continued.-Experimentation and innovation of rockmusic into something moresophisticated than previous rock musicwere the goals of progressive rockgroups.-The result was an expansion of whatwas considered "rock" music, changesin how the audience appreciated rockmusic, and the development of furthermusical styles.-Instead of thinking of progressive rockmusic as an attempt at classicalmusic, consider it as "popular avantgarde"-With so many variables to use, thedescription "progressive rock" covered
Did Pink Floyd live up to the ProgressiveRock genre?YES!-Pink Floyd experimented with sounds, production, song form,length of songs, lyric content and complexity, instrumentation,musical style, and continued to change and develop their stylethroughout their career.-The band did not generally have the art music elements ofvirtuosity, or metric complexity (other than Money)
Musical Style of Pink Floyd:GeneralThe normal instrumentation of the band:keyboard (Wright), bassist (Waters), drummer (Mason),lead guitar (Barrett until 1968, then Gilmour), guitar(Gilmour pre 1968), and vocals (Barret on lead pre 1968,and after Gilmour and Waters were co-lead vocalists)Musical Style: creating a "quasi-instrumental fantasy"
The Elements of the Music-They experimented with unique instrumentation(examples: a Russian wolfhound as lead vocalist, organ,full orchestra, Zinovieff's VCS3 synth, the use of noisesfrom everyday life)-They used free form improvisation on all instruments, orjust during solos/extended instrumental periods in theirsongs-Loud noise freak-outs where there was a mixture ofsounds at once that often conflicted (Early period)
Elements of the music continued.-Languid, hypnotic and mellow song style(Later period)-Cosmic/space rock sound in the music andcontent in the lyrics-They experimented with electronic soundeffects-Pink Floyd usually used a 3/4 or 4/4 timesignature (or switching between those twometers) in their songs with few unique meterchanges (other than Money)
Elements of the music continued.-Sonic experimentation both in the manipulation oftheir instruments but also in production(examples: manipulated amplified sound, usedextensive producing techniques to make thesound seem like it was moving, or in concertused a machine to create a swirling soundeffect).
Style Changes throughout their CareerSyd Barrett as leader:-Barrett wrote songs thatwere influenced bypsychedelic rock, surfmusic, humor, literature,and British whimsy-First two albums, withBarretts involvement andwriting almost all of the firstalbum, are classified aspsychedelic rock or cosmicrock due to the spaceysounds and themes
Syd Barrett as leader continued.-Although termed "psychedelic rock" the songsin the albums ranged in style from avantgarde, to whimsical, to space themed.-The sounds were sometimes a cacophony ofnoise that was barely held together (musicalfreak outs)
Post-Barrett - Dark Side of the MoonGeneral song form (now the form was a littlemore standard than in Barrett's day):Introduction is unusual, instrumental andmystical/meditative. This is followed by theprincipal melody, or "song proper". After the"song proper" there is a long instrumentalsection that hits the climax and is broughtdown in the end with a reestablishment of the"song proper" in repetition, some theme of it,or variation on the theme
Post Barrett-Dark Side of the Moon-The lyrics were now mostly written by Waters. Pink Floyd"should be considered [a progressive rock group] on thebasis of its lyrics". The lyrics of Waters borrow themesfound in modern art: early twentieth century Britishromanticism, existentialism, and social/culturalpessimism - Deena Weinstein (Rock historian andSociologist)-unusual electronic timbres were still used as well as anunexpected combination of sounds
Dark Side of the Moon - break up-Waters's lyrics became even more pessimistic-Listening to the music did not take as muchcommitment or focus-The form became more standard-The unexpected combination of sounds wereless abrasive and less challenging to the ear-There was still experimentation but only a fewsongs fit Pink Floyd's earlier level ofexperimentation
Dark Side of the Moon- break up-The band hired a producer, BobEzrin, to guide them in making theirmusic more palatable for themasses-A similar trend of other progressiverock groups going moremainstream was followed, althoughPink Floyd did not conform to theextent of other groups-Some argue, that in the end, PinkFloyd went from innovatingpsychedelic rock to transforming itinto easy listening muzak foryuppies (a more extreme critique)
Pink Floyd Live Performance-Lavish stage shows-Artists were almost secondary to the visualexperience-Pink Floyd was one of the first bands with aset traveling light show with their tour.-They used psychedelic patterns on a largescreen (Mr. Screen), and used film clipsand slides.-Later the shows expanded and includedpyrotechnics, lasers, additional specialeffects, large balloons, and building a wall(the Wall)
MUSICAL ANALYSISComfortably NumbBeats: Duple SubdivisionTempo: ModeratePredominant Musical Texture: Homophonic Melody andAccompanimentSpecial Focus: David Gilmour's Guitar Solo in the song wasrated the 4th best guitar solo by Guitar World magazine
Comfortably Numb continued.Meter: 4/4 (Straight time)Instrumentation: drums, bass, electric guitar,orchestra (at least a strings section),electronic sound effects, wind chimesForm: Strophic: AAABCAABCverse verse verse chorus solo verse versechorus solo
Comfortably Numb in thecontext ofPink Floyd music-This song is clearly from Pink Floyd's later period. There areno musical freak out moments or sounds that clash. Theentire song is smooth, dreamlike and flowing which ridesover a hard hitting rock rhythmic structure.-The song, although it has some experimentation with theinstrumentation and electronic sound, is closer tomainstream rock than some of Pink Floyd's early work-The lyrics are darker and fit into Water's more pessimisticperiod.
Influences of Pink Floyd-Pink Floyd was influenced by popular groupssuch as: Jimi Hendrix, Byrds, Grateful Dead-Influenced by Rhythm and Blues genre-Influence in the band came from Syd, who wasthe primary songwriter, lead guitarist, andlead singer
Pink Floyd's Influence on OtherArtists-Pink Floyd influenced artists such as: DavidBowie, Genesis, Queen, Phish, Radiohead,Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, andYes-Pink Floyd's experimentation and musicianshipinfluenced both artists and the music industry
The Legacy of Pink Floyd-Pink Floyd is widely recognized as one of the greatest rockbands in history. They pushed the boundaries of rock musicin the progressive rock period of the late 1960s until the mid1970s, inspiring bands and opening the way for furtherelectronic experimentation.-Like other progressive rock groups at the time, at the end of the1970s Pink Floyd developed their musical style into one withless experimentation and more mainstream rock rhythm.They did not completely sacrifice their musicalexperimentation as their electronic and instrumentalexperimentation continued.-The Wall Live concert tour is current and worldwide. Even withonly Roger Waters in it, the music of Pink Floyd and showthey created are still relevant and sought after today.
References1) Pink Floyd Music (2013) Retrieved ) Pink Floyd Biography Retrieved 003463363) Comfortably Numb (2005) Retrieved fromhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comfortably Numb4) Biography of Pink Floyd bio, band history, career, evolution, music, Roger Waters,David Gilmour. (n.d.). Pink Floyd - Lyrics, songs, Biography, Discography, Interviews,Picture Gallery. Retrieved June 11, 2013, from http://pinkfloydweb.yaia.com/biography.html5) Johnson, J. (2004). twentieth century music, 1, pp 297-301 doi:10.1017/S14785722052301776) Hudson, K. (2002). Progressive rock reconsidered. New York: Routledge.7) Macan, E., & Reisch, G. A. (2007). Psychedelics of Alienation. Pink Floyd andphilosophy: careful with that axiom, Eugene! (pp. 106-119). Chicago: Open Court.
8) Scaruffi, Piero (1999). The History of Rock Music. Pink Floyd: biography,discography, reviews, links. Piero Scaruffi's knowledge base. Retrieved June 11, 2013,from http://www.scaruffi.com/vol2/pinkfloy.html9) Marsh, Dave (1989) "The Heart of Rock and Soul, The 1001 Greatest Singles EverMade".Popular music of the 1960's.Lex Jansen website. Retrieved June 11, 2013,from http://www.lexjansen.com/cgi-bin/marsh xml.php?fn 8710)Progressive Rock Music. Popular progressive rock musicans. All music website.Retrieved June 11, 2013 from 811)History of Rock in 1960s. Popular artists and genres of the 1960s. The peoplehistory.com. Retrieved June 11, 2013 from http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/60smusic.html12) Rock n' Roll Timeline 1970-1979. History of rock music in the 1970s.digitaldreamdoor.com Retrieved June 11,2013 from http://www.digitaldreamdoor.com/pages/best timeline-r3.html