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Echoes: One Piano, One Signature Sound

Maybe known for the innovations on psychedelic rock in the mid 60’s, maybe known for the epic, spatial, refreshing sound of progressive rock in the 70’s, maybe known for Roger Water’s profound and reflexive lyrics, one thing is for certain: Pink Floyd is one of the most recognizable and reputed bands from the second half of the 20th century, having major selling records over the years, such as The Wall (1979), Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977), and holding position number 3 on the best-selling records of all time with its definitive album Dark Side of The Moon released in 1973.

Dark Side of The Moon (1973)

We could hear a glimpse on what would become Pink Floyd’s signature sound in Dark Side of The Moon, in their previous work released in 1971, Meddle.

After losing founding one of its founding members, Syd Barret, becoming incapable of working with the band due to drug abuse issues, the remaining members David Gilmour (guitars), Roger Waters (bass), Richard Wright (keyboards), and Nick Mason (drums), slowly began to drift apart from the psychedelic sound that previously defined the band, and started gravitating towards a more experimental, progressive sound, releasing albums such as

And the album that would define their character as a group, and the talent to finding experimental ways to create new immersive sounds, would be their following work released

in 1971: Meddle.

Meddle (1971)

Meddles’s side A consist of 5 songs: One of These Days, A Pillow of Winds, Fearless, San Tropez, and Seamus.

With the B-side of the album containing one sole song, the epic, 23 minute long, the immersive journey: Echoes.

Echoes, experimentally wise, is a vast source of exploration, inspiration, and study, but the first sign of pure experimentation in this song, can be found in its first note. The piano note played at the beginning of the song, and at the end of the ambient section, is an unusual sound for a piano of listened carefully, this is because a remarkably interesting piece of hardware was being used to achieve that sound: the Leslie Speaker amplifier.

Leslei Speaker

By having a rotating baffle chamber attached in front of its speaker, the Leslie Speaker creates a unique chorus sound mixed with a type of tremolo. The sound heard in the characteristic piano note in Echoes, is the signal of a grand piano running through a Leslie Speaker, a demonstration of this experiment working can be found here.

This would be one of the many groundbreaking experimentations Pink Floyd would develop across the years, with songs and records remaining fresh and innovative to this day.

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