A Farewell to Kings

Background and Commentary

“The title is adapted from Ernest Hemingway’s novel A Farewell to Arms. Longing for a new Renaissance era [which focused on our place in the cosmos], this revolution is more down to earth, the new world envisioned in ‘2112,’ a timeless realm. As in ‘2112,’ the wise are again resented, and the sacred ‘Halls of Truth’ are the churches, courthouses, and schools. The hypocrites are teachers, lawyers, and clergy.”—Robert Telleria, Merely Players

The piece “establishes a dual temporal plane, inviting the listener to ‘turn the pages of history,’ not to view a mythical past of heroic kings but a moment when courtly heroism was crumbling . . . . The appeal of the song, taking us back to the first line about history, is to rediscover a lost capacity to distinguish between right and wrong and to bridge ‘minds that make us strong’ with a belief that thoughts and feelings can be severed only at a great cost.”—Paul Hegarty and Martin Halliwell, Beyond and Before

The piece “opens on a meditative note as Alex plays a short classical guitar introduction. Birds at Rockfield [the studio in rural Wales where they recorded the album] can be heard whistling in the background as Neil joins in with chimes, triangle, and other percussion. Geddy plays a meditative synthesizer pattern. The band then pause for a moment before the traditional power attack. As Geddy wonders what future generations will think of us, the band plays with anger.

“The subject then turns to the problems of today. Then comes an instrumental break that shows the band as hard-hitting as ever, but a little leaner and with a more focused idea of where they are going [than on previous albums]. The metallic rock of the earlier albums remain, but the arrangement and the sound are fuller. Geddy outs in a great performance. He seems to be [genuinely] angry that the ‘hypocrites are slandering the sacred halls of truth.'”—Bill Banasiewicz, Rush Visions

“‘The acoustic was recorded outdoors and all of the woodblock and percussion sounds that Neil used were recorded outdoors at the same time. You can here them echoing off the other buildings, and you can hear the birds tweeting.'”—Geddy in Contents Under Pressure

“How did we start with Locke, Rousseau, Jefferson, and Madison and end up like this, [with weak leaders and their cynical advisors]? We, too, it seems, have been following the path of least resistance. We let the kings get away with murder, perhaps because of our own cynicism or our self-absorption. Or perhaps because we have let our sensibilities atrophy. Whose are the withered hearts, but ours? We have forgotten how to feel what’s right and wrong and must now try, in the eleventh hour, to relearn it before it’s too late.”—Carol Selby Price and Robert Price, Mystic Rhythms

The album cover image of the marionette puppet dressed as a king, with the urban wasteland behind him, illustrates the song. The cape thrown over one side of the throne shields the figure from the wasteland, but the king has lost his sovereignty. Inside the album, the three band members are photographed in a stately house. “The heaviness of the furniture contrasts with the bright light streaming through the half-open French window . . . . The tensions embedded in the lyrics are subtly introduced through the lighting, where darkness and light meet at a strong vertical line that cuts downward between the three band members.”—Paul Hegarty and Martin Halliwell, Beyond and Before

Lyrics

When they turn the pages of history
When these days have passed long ago
Will they read of us with sadness
For the seeds that we let grow?
We turned our gaze
From the castles in the distance
Eyes cast down
On the path of least resistance

Cities full of hatred, fear and lies
Withered hearts and cruel, tormented eyes
Scheming demons dressed in kingly guise
Beating down the multitude and
Scoffing at the wise

The hypocrites are slandering
The sacred Halls of Truth
Ancient nobles showering
Their bitterness on youth
Can’t we find the minds that made us strong?
Can’t we learn to feel what’s right
And what’s wrong?
What’s wrong?

Cities full of hatred, fear and lies
Withered hearts and cruel, tormented eyes
Scheming demons dressed in kingly guise
Beating down the multitude and
Scoffing at the wise
Can’t we raise our eyes and make a start?
Can’t we find the minds to lead us
Closer to the heart?

Tablature

By Jimmy Pena (jimmy@walrus.com)

Excerpted from Fretplay.

This constitutes about 90 percent of the song. I re-worked the
introduction, but it is still almost the same as the original by David
Sandberg. The entire middle section of the song is missing in this tab. It was just too difficult for me to transcribe. Additional credit goes to Chuck Bruce for figuring out Riff 1 and Dave Toussaint for various riffs. The intro
is in the key of D, then switches to A. It ends in D after the last set of
lyrics.

| = not a standard bar line; just used to separate music
~ = vibrato or held note
h = hammer on
p = pull off
s = slide
b = bend string up to indicated pitch/fret
r = release bend to indicated string/fret
/ = slide up from infinity
\ = slide down into infinity
o \_
o / repeat sign (always look for these!)

[Intro] – Fingerpicked on a nylon stringed acoustic guitar

Bm A5 D E/G# G F#
e:———————————–0——-0—-3—–3—2———|
B:-3———–7———————————-3———–2——-|
G:—–4—2—7—————–4-4—4————4————-3—|
D:—4—–2—7————————————–5———4—–|
A:-2—–4-0—5-4-5-4-7-5——————————————–|
E:————————-7-0-4———-0—-0–3———2———|
Bm A5 D E/G# G F#
e:———————————–0——-0—-3—–3—2———–|
B:-3—3——-7—7—————0————–3———–2———|
G:———2—7—7————-4—–4————4————-3—–|
D:-4—4—2—7—7———————————-5———4——-|
A:-2—2-4-0—5—5-4-7-5———————————————-|
E:————————-7-0-4———-0—-0–3———2———–|
Bm A5 D E/G#
e:———————————–0——–0———————–|
B:-3—3——-7—7—————0———————————-|
G:———2—7—7————-4—–4——————————|
D:-4—4—2—7—7————————————————–|
A:-2—2-4-0———4-7-5——————————————–|
E:————————-7-0-4———-0——0——————–|

D/F# Em/G D/A F#m/A A/E
e:———————5———–5———————————-|
B:-3—3-5—5-7—7—5———5————————————|
G:—2—4-4—7—6—6——-6————————————–|
D:———————7—–7—————————————-|
A:———————7———————————————-|
E:-2—–3—–5—5————————————————–|

(keyboard and xylophone?/glockenspiel?/chimes? enter)

Em Bm C G F#
e:——-0——————2—————-0—–3—-3—3—-2——–|
B:-0——-0—0—–3——–3—3—-1——-1——————–2—–|
G:—–0—–0————4—–4——0—0—–0—0—-4—4———3-|
D:—2———–2—4–4———–4—-2—————————-4—|
A:-2————-2—2————–2–3————-3——————–|
E:——————————————————3——–2——–|
Em Bm C G F#
e:-0—–0-0—————-2—————-0———-3—–3—2——-|
B:————-0—–3——–3—3—-1——-1—1———————-|
G:—–0—–0————4—–4——0—0—–0——–4—————|
D:—2———–2—4–4———–4—-2———–2——5————-|
A:-2—————–2—————–3———————————-|
E:——————————————————3———2——-|
Bm A5 D E/G# G F#
e:———————————–0————–3—–3–2——–|
B:-3–3——–7——————-0—————————2——|
G:———2—7—————–4—–4—-4———4————3–|
D:-4–4—-2—7—————————————-5——–4—-|
A:-2–2–4-0——-5-4-7-5——————————————–|
E:————————-7-0-4———-0—-0—-3——–2——–|
Bm A5 D
e:———————————–0——————————–|
B:-3–3——–7——————-0———————————-|
G:———2—7—————–4—–4——4———————–|
D:-4–4—-2—7——————————————————|
A:-2–2–4-0——-5-4-7-5——————————————–|
E:————————-7-0-4———-0——0——————–|

D/F# Em/G D/A F#m/A A/E
e:——————-|——————-|———————5——|
B:-3—3-5—5-7—7-|-3—3-5—5-7—7-|-3—3-5—5-7—7—5——|
G:-2-2—4-4—7—6-|-2-2—4-4—7—6-|-2-2—4-4—7—6—6——|
D:——————-|——————-|———————7——|
A:——————-|——————-|———————7——|
E:-2—–3—–5—5-|-2—–3—–5—5-|-2—–3—–5—5———-|

For complete tab, go to Fretplay.

Tutorials

“A Farewell to Kings” guitar cover (intro)

“A Farewell to Kings” bass cover

“A Farewell to Kings” drum cover (starts at 1:23)

Back to Rush Vault

Advertisements

~ by rvkeeper on February 3, 2011.

 
%d bloggers like this: