Analysis Assignment- Stairway to Heaven

12 December 2017

Stairway to Heaven develops depth and emotion throughout the entire song, starting very simply and gradually delivering ore complexity and Intensity from 2:14 onwards. There Is a clear build up as the piece progresses with the addition of new Instruments (2:14), an Increase In tempo (6:44), and change in rhythm regularly from quavers in 4/4 time to semi-quavers (2:02). Although Led Zeppelin follow no particular genre of music, this spectacular piece begins as a significant contrast to their usual hard rock, blues rock, heavy metal style with an almost folk, acoustic introduction.The introduction holds one main folk riff that forms the theme of many variations to underpin the musically Ingenious entrants as the guitar solo begins at 5:55, bringing back Led Zeppelin’s usual heavy rock reputation. Within Victor Lopper’s variation of Stairway to Heaven, there is no evidence of development or emerging energy and emotion.

The arrangement does however change tempo many times from = 120 to -72, yet the changes fail to match the original song in the slightest and appear stilted, almost disjointed, as they seem separated at times by a number of awkward pauses (egg 2:30).Contrasting the entire structure of the original piece, this Lopez arrangement starts heavier, with very Instrument playing, and continues on lightly only from 0:17. A more upbeat heavier variation is introduced again at 1 and then the arrangement ends the same as the beginning from 2:30. These changes differ only very slightly and are unsuccessful in involving as much variety in the different parts as the original as it engages in the overuse of repetition. Although this is understood to be an arrangement, it fails to allow the different sections of the original piece to be properly determined.At one point It even Includes a feature trumpet part at 1 (see Figure ) that does not resemble any section of the original, Figure 1: Bars 33 – 36 of Stairway to Heaven arranged by Victor Lopez In the writing and arranging of this piece, Victor Lopez completely disregards the genre under which the original was written by turning this version into a big brass band song with no evidence of development or sensitivity to the original structure of Stairway to melody, or riff, on lead guitar. This riff repeats for the first two minutes then continues at 2:16 into a variation, swapping between this and strummed chords based around G/B, AMA and D).

The guitar solo at 5:55 begins with an A minor pentatonic scale then continues in A minor diatonic. The effect of having two melodies Mommy Page on guitar and Robert Plant with voice) creates a dynamic sound Ninth some clashes adding to the unique style of the song. Within the re-creation however, Victor Lopez makes no attempt at replicating the classic opening guitar melody which is the main and most iconic part of the song. This oversight alone, takes away from the original as this riff has become the trade mark and most well known part of the original Stairway to Heaven.The introduction starts with every instrument playing and an attempted take off of the chorus, contrasting the idea of one melody growing in Led Zeppelin’s version. The arranged variation begins in E flat major and modulates to D major. There is no clear melody evident at all throughout the piece, as the number of instruments playing at similar volumes, makes it hard to determine.

Ornamentation is also a key musical flourish in the original, that lacks in Victor Lopper’s version, as there is no guitar and therefore none of the brilliant guitar techniques mentioned above, to make the music come alive and become more than just notes on a page. He timbre or characteristic quality of sound displays a great difference when comparing the Jazz arrangement of Stairway to Heaven to the original. Jimmy Page manipulates his guitar as the main sound source with such brilliance, using a variety of methods such as pull offs, vibrato, hammer-ones, bends and slides (see Figure 2). Ere guitar is the central instrument and is held responsible for the individuality and lividness of the piece as it holds the majority of the melody, and in particular brings out the contrast during the bridge and solo (5:35).The entire piece depends on the guitar as it continues to play throughout the whole song and is accountable for the most complex part, portraying the creativity and ingeniousness of Stairway to Heaven. The use of the Maelstrom (an electronic keyboard controlling pre-recorded musical sounds) to imitate the flute, creates the darker more eerie mood and adds timbre contrast to the guitar melody. Throughout the song, to assist the development, instruments are added to the guitar at each section change, such as the Maelstrom flute (0:13), voice (0:53), bass guitar (2:14) and drums (4:18).

These imbrue changes during this piece, add to the musical complexity and impressiveness Ninth the way it begins very lightly and gets gradually darker throughout, until it ends ‘ere lightly at 7:45. Figure 2: Example pull off, vibrato, bend, hammer on and slide- Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven Victor Lopez’ arrangement includes too many instruments to portray the mood in Inch the original depicts. As it is written for darker sounding instruments such as tenor and alto saxophone, trumpet, trombone and bass, it takes away from the lighter sounding parts in the original, and so lacks contrast.This version hardly changes trumpets stop playing and the other instruments hold long notes as opposed to collectively playing the melody resulting in a lighter timbre. This section is the closest Lopez comes to conveying to the listener, the original mood and contrasts of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. There is no modification of instrumental playing evident as the manipulation of this piece lacks variety in notes or rhythm which leaves no room for individual variations of the notes or instrument playing. The original was written mainly for guitar and voice, resulting in the option for light or ark timbre.

This variation however consists of lower brass instruments inevitably leading to a consistent dark timbre, revealing this piece’s inability to live up to the original. “hen comparing the original to the arrangement by Lopez, it is apparent that the manipulation of certain musical elements such as the structure, melody and timbre results in this piece being an entirely ineffective and unsuccessful adaptation. Robert Plant once said “It’s sort of a feeling of power onstage. It’s really the ability to make people smile, or Just to turn them one way or another for that duration of time, ND for it to have some effect later on.

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