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12 minutes 50 seconds
Artist website: http://www.ledzeppelin.com
What makes this video great and what can you learn from it?
- interesting mix of Rock and authentic Egyptian instruments
- even longer version of an already epic-length track
What can you learn from the article?
- what DADGAD tuning is about
- how a musical drone can tie a chord progression together
- how leaving space can add "weight" to what you play
- how polyrhythms between instruments create rhythmic tension
Takeaway: Kashmir is the definitive Led Zeppelin song. The addition of Egyptian instruments adds considerably to the "exotic" mood and feel of the song. Additionally, there's the use of musical drones, polyrhythms and DADGAD tuning.
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes 21 seconds
According to singer Robert Plant, Kashmir is the definitive Led Zeppelin song. Guitarist Jimmy Page also considers Kashmir as one of the band's best compositions.
They might be somewhat biased - but I agree with them. 😉
The song originally appeared on the 1975 "Physical Graffiti" album. And despite its epic length of more than 8 minutes Kashmir managed to get decent radio airplay.
Let's analyze a few of the key components of the song...
Tune both E-strings as well as the B-string down a whole step and you end up with a tuning that's commonly referred to as DADGAD.
Strum the open strings and you get a Dsus4 chord with a floating, open sound.
While the DADGAD tuning is mostly associated with Celtic music, it is also used in other styles as well.
I'm not talking about the flying kind of drones, but rather the musical technique where a note or chord is continuously sounded throughout most or all of a piece.
In the main guitar riff (graphic coming up in the next section) you'll see that the open D-string is played constantly in all the chords while the outer voices change. This common note ties the progression together.
Rhythmic Tension Between Guitars and Drums
The drums play the quintessential, most bare-bone Rock groove possible. Bass drum on 1 and 3. Snare on 2 and 4 and a constant 8th note hi-hat pattern. When you look at the guitar part, you can see that the rhythmic phrasing and structure of the guitar riff is actually in 3/4 time.
You get a displacement effect where the points of emphasis are shifting. Think of the drums as 3 measures of 4/4 time and the guitar as 4 measures of 3/4 time before they both hit beat 1 together again.
Have a look at the transcription of the main riff where I've indicated the guitar riff phrasing with the red lines.
This creates an interesting sense of tension and is a clever compositional technique.
Drummer Michael Lee obviously is not John Bonham, who had died in 1980. However, he did a good job in re-creating the original feel.
Notice how little he plays, yet how heavy it sounds. The less he plays, the more weight the stuff he does play takes on.
Also, there's more sonic room for all the other instruments.
There's plenty of exotic instruments with the addition of the Egyptian orchestra that accompanied Page & Plant on their tour. The authentic eastern instruments added considerably to the "exotic" feel and flair of the track.
What's Your Favorite Version of Kashmir?
Enjoy the stellar performance of one of Rock's greatest and most epic tracks of all time. Please let me know in the comments how you like this version of Kashmir.