Sunday, March 13, 2005

"Going to California" by Led Zeppelin

The song "Going to California" is so simple, but it's simplicity makes it beautiful!
The introduction is very simple but recognizable. A guitar plays do-do(up octave)-sol-do(up)-do-do(up)-sol-do(up) for about six measures and then the mandolin comes in the seventh measure to set off the song. The mandolin plays a very simple mi-sol-fa-sol-mi-sol-re-sol-do-sol-re-sol-mi-sol to set up for the sung melody in the ninth measure. There are four verses in the song with the first and fourth having the same melody. Also, the third verse is made up of two phrases while the other verses can be separated into three phrases. After the little mandolin introduction the verse begins, "Spent-my-days-with-a-wo-man-un-kind" which is fa-fa-mi-mi-mi-re-re-re-do. The rest of this phrase is "smoked-my-stuff-and-drank-all-my-wi-ine" and in solfege it could be fa-fa-mi-mi-re-sol-do-re-mi. The two previous phrases are used for the rest of this verse and for the fourth verse. The song is in D major and it sounds like the verse begins with the V chord and might go to I briefly. Mostly the same chords are used through out the song. The second verse is slightly different though. The melody starts on fa, like the other verse, but goes up the triad instead, possibly fa-fa-la-la-la-la-do-do-la, which looks like a four chord, but the accompanying parts do not seem to change. The third verse is interesting because he sings up an octave and definitely uses the minor i, instead of major I. The last verse is the same as the first and the parts at the end slowly fade before the ahs which sound like a chorus of voices also fade out. The instruments throughout the song play their same part over and over again, like the first guitar which does do-do-do-do-do and changes up a little depending on the chords. The mandolin also repeats the same part a lot.
The song makes use of two guitars, a mandolin, and Robert Plant's but no percussion. Led Zeppelin began to play this song at an acoustic set somewhere or another. Originally it was called "Guide to California" but was changed to "Going to California" which makes more sense than first title. Plant's voice is one aspect of the song that makes it so comforting along with the repetitive nature of the song. It's not repetitive in a bad way though, only in a soft and soothing way, a nice lullaby or something. The songs variations of simple chords is very pretty and the simple melody is equally pleasing to the ear.

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