Syd Barret, Roger Waters & David Gilmour are born in Cambridge, England between 1943-46
They all start messing around with music at a young age before moving to London to pursue college degrees.
In college, Waters meets two young men who would join the Pink Floyd ranks when the time came, Richard Wright (1943-) & Nick Mason (1944-)
Nick mason Richard Wright
Waters, Mason & Wright start up a band mostly just playing Rhythm and Blues.
Barrett joins up with them after a few weeks of being in town
Barrett Names the band “Pink Floyd” after two Carolina Bluesmen
Pink Anderson (1900-1974) and Floyd Council (1911-1976)
After a few other members drop out of the band and studying becomes
more of a priority, Pink Floyd starts to go by the way side…
In the early months of 1966 Pink Floyd reformed and actually started to
show some promise.
At times though they would see music halls literally clear once they
Started to play.
Roger Waters knew that it was their stage presence that needed improvement
since they had already gotten down the recording side of things.
In 1967 Syd Barrett’s Mental Health took a turn for the worse…
Dispite the recent success of some of Pink Floyd’s singles on the radio
and even television performances Syd began to buckle under the pressure.
Syd turns to LSD to escape the everyday stresses and then in turn he begins
to lose all confidence of the band and the audiences…
On Pink Floyd’s first American tour Syd completely goes mad and doesn’t
know where he is.
Top, left to right: Nick Mason, Syd Barrett, Roger Waters & Richard Wright. Bottom: David Gilmour
In 1968 David Gilmour is brought in to
pick-up where Syd is dropping
The day shortly comes when Syd is no
longer picked up for gigs
Pink Floyd is now made up of Roger Waters,
David Gilmour, Nick Mason & Richard Wright
This will be the band’s solid line-up until
With Syd Gone there came a new freedom and exploration to the
In the next few years Pink Floyd would evolve into a space like
music quality, as it has been described
They would spend hours
jamming in the studio
seeking out new sounds
Their fame continued to grow
with extensive performances,
touring, recordings and even
from a movie soundtrack.
After a band meeting in 1971 the band
had decided to do something new
The collected efforts would develop
“ The Dark Side of the Moon”
The Dark Side of the Moon would go on to be
listed in the billboard top 200 for 571 weeks,
the longest to date of any album
On the Run
The Great Gig in the Sky
The main staple of this song came from basically just jamming
E-minor and A.
They stuck to a float like feeling of the song and Roger mixed in the
lyrics right in to that same feel
The lyrics convey a “live as you care” attitude and Roger felt surprised
later that he got away with it
They had been playing an unkempt version of the song live for just
under a year before it was ever recorded, refined and placed on the
This is an instrumental piece between the songs Breath & Time on the
The band had been doing a short jam session live of a similar piece
that they were referring to as “On The Run” at the time
The band in a whole had often felt dissatisfied with it
The band had a synthesizer in the studio with a built in keyboard and
They plugged in a sequence of notes, sped it up, added a few more
sound effects and the track was complete
The Great Gig in the Sky is the second instrumental piece on the
Richard Wright wrote a beautiful piano piece for the track
They brought in a female vocalist to improv vocals over the track
Clare Torre was asked to go into the studio, to think about death
and horror, and just sing whatever she felt
When she came back in from the studio she was embarrassed,
however everyone else thought it was just marvelous and brilliant
… It was about defending the notion of being different,” stated Roger.
Some lyrics came from the idea of a man being insane to play and destroy
a beautiful piece of lawn when it has already been dubbed untouchable
Roger had written it on an acoustic guitar as a little folk type number
before it was turned into the electric version for the album
This song is in 2/4 time.
0:00-1:13 heartbeats, motors, people talking, office equipment noises, laughter, etc.
1:13 Intro: The intro begins with a mellow 2/4 rhythm. There is a simple but fairly unpredictable drum beat with a generous picking on a sustained guitar. There is a small range melody being played at this point on the bass guitar just flowing along with the rest of the groove.
1:29 A slide guitar starts at a low pitch and gradually slides to a relatively high pitch in about 3 measures.
2:13 the music slightly changes here, it almost seems to change to 4/4 time (but I could be wrong) as we get a short verse intro
2:29 Verse 1: The music goes back to basically all that was happening from 1:13-2:13 except now we have vocals. The Melody on the verse has a small note range and is executed at a mid range pitch and volume. The intervals in the Melody are definitely conjunct.
2:58 Chorus: The music as well as the vocals at this point gives the illusion of slowing down and drooping. If fact the melody does descend at this point until it goes into the second verse.
3:14 Verse 2: follows right along with verse 1, only difference are the lyrics.
3:43 Chorus 2: matches chorus 1 just about the same.
3:58 The song has no outro and it just goes right in to the next song. Which we will look at now called “On the Run.”
This song is in 2/4 time.
0:01 This song starts off with a swift repetitive tapping on the hit-hat at what I would guess is a 16 th note a measure and cut time pace.
0:14 We start hearing a looped sequence of notes, that has been sped up, slowly increasing in volume.
0:33-1:11 I will call this section Verse 1 since it will repeat again later. There are various sounds taking place at different times, they are: someone running, a woman talking over a PA, a propeller ran airplane flying by, etc.
1:11 There is a second sequenced pattern that swiftly gets louder in volume and then back out again.
1:20 – 1:59 Verse 2: Random sounds played just like what I called the first verse.
3:05 The outro of this song is the sound of an exploding plane.
This song is in 4/4 time.
0:00-0:17 Intro: The intro to this song is played on a piano. Mostly just chords being played with a few pick up notes in-between.
0:18 There is a slide guitar here starting in a medium range playing an inverted arch type accompaniment going back up at 0:22. Then repeated at 0:28-0:35 and repeated a few more time leading up to the verse.
1:00 Theme intro: Here enters the drums and piano basically just to play a few pick-up beats into the verse.
This song is really hard for me to know what to call each movement because this piece of music is set as an improv.
1:08 Enter Vocals. There are no lyrics. It is just a vocal solo improved over the music and I shall do my best to describe what happens in the music and in the vocals.
1:08-2:21 The accompaniment stays relatively the same during this portion while the vocals leave hardly any gaps from one to the next. Her vocal range is very wide and disjunct. The volume to her voice goes up and down while the accompaniment stays the same.
2:21 The accompaniment mirrors that of the Intro to the song at this point. The vocals are less pronounced and more conjunct with a more narrow range in her melody.
2:47 The female vocalist begins to sing more conjunct as her range begins to slowly increase and she starts to tease the listener by quickly leading into a crescendo and then pulls back into a decrescendo. She also starts to take her range to the height of her ability being that she sounds to be an Alto.
4:10-4:45 The music and vocalist begin to fade slowly out while she continues to sing high conjunct pitches.
This song is in 4/4 time.
0:00-0:15 Intro: There is a simple rhythmatic hi-hat being played with a picked guitar accompaniment with slight sustain.
0:16 Verse 1: Narrow melody range being sang. The second half of the Verse rises up to the harmony and keeps a narrow range there before slowly descending back to where it was at the start of the verse.
0:44 Verse 2: Just a repeat of the first verse but with different lyrics and same concept.
1:13 Chorus 1: The chorus rises in pitch but stays fairly similar to that of the verse except there is more going on. The drummer gets a little more technical and we get some back-up singers singing the harmony.
1:48 Verse 3: Same as Verses 1 & 2
2:31 Chorus 2: Same as Chorus 2, but different lyrics and more back-up singers.
3:07 Outro: Follows the same pattern and melody of the intro but we have an electric sounding synthesizer playing the harmonic chords of each measure at the beginning of each measure. Repeated until the song ends at 3:51.
Harris, John. The Dark Side of the Moon - The Making of the Pink Floyd Masterpiece. Da Capo Press, 2005.
Povey, Glenn. Echoes - The Complete History of Pink Floyd. Chicago: Mind Head Publishing, 2006, 2008, 2010.
The Dark Side of the Moon. Dir. Mathew Longfellow. Perf. Eagle Rock Entertainment Ltd. 2003.