Close to the Edge (18:38)

Cover of Keys to Ascension 2

From Keys to Ascension 2 and 29 other releases

Part Start Time Length
The Solid Time Of Change 0:00 6:04
Total Mass Retain 6:04 1:55
I Get Up, I Get Down 7:59 6:14
Seasons Of Man 14:13 4:30

I. The Solid Time of Change
The progressive nature of the piece is revealed immediately as the song fades in with the sounds of running water, wind chimes, and birds chirping; a layering of sounds derived primarily from “environmental tapes” collected by lead vocalist Jon Anderson. These nature sounds move through a crescendo and into a somewhat menacing guitar solo, the backdrop for which is a cacophonous musical passage that serves as a replacement for the natural cacophony that preceded it. The guitar solo is punctuated by a series of sudden vocables. Again, a crescendo signals a transformation, this time into a more down to earth melody. Like a classical composition, this melodic passage is the establishment of a theme that will go through many variations throughout the life of the song.

About four minutes into the piece, the lyrics are introduced, along with a chorus that remains throughout the song. Like the previously established melody, this chorus will be developed in many different ways, which will include changes to the lyrical content, as well as changes in time and key signatures, tempo, and harmony:

Close to the edge, round by the corner…
Not right away, not right away
Close to the edge, down by a river…
Not right away, not right away

II. Total Mass Retain


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  • Hadron24

    An interesting read: By the way, best song forever.

    16 Jul 8:39pm Reply
  • petross85

    The pinnacle. The greatest music ever recorded in my opinion

    14 Jun 12:55pm Reply
  • venicechance

    A stunning piece of music.

    4 Jun 8:18pm Reply
  • pingywings

    the first time i heard this song was an important musical experience for me. i just kind of had to stop everything i was doing when the pipe organ solo came in, i was like "holy shit this is something"

    21 May 1:43pm Reply
  • radio_face


    9 May 11:59am Reply
  • nicolasbj


    28 Mar 9:08pm Reply
  • pharmman52

    pure genius

    22 Mar 12:30am Reply
  • brenta100

    I still remember my first time hearing this. I was in high school, around 1981 or 82. After already being familiar with Yes' hits and Asia, I wanted to explore more of their earlier stuff. I borrowed my cousin's "Yessongs" album and played the whole thing through in one go. After "Close to the Edge", my mind was blown. Still one of my all-time favorite bands.

    10 Dec 2013 Reply
  • bloodmaw

    the I Get Up, I Get Down section is so fucking beautiful

    1 Dec 2013 Reply
  • Philbitar

    A Progtastic Classic!!!!!!! Church organ section is to die for

    20 Nov 2013 Reply
  • CleanSpoon

    oh.. peaceful, running water and birds..mmm....HOLY FUCK. o_0

    11 Nov 2013 Reply
  • J3_R

    aaaaaaaaaah ah ah aah

    14 Aug 2013 Reply
  • rorberyllium

    I love the Symphoic Live version. It's so slow.

    6 Aug 2013 Reply
  • czarli_money

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa da da

    26 Jul 2013 Reply
  • Abomination317

    far from my favourite, but an absolute essential epic

    17 Jul 2013 Reply
  • ParisFenix


    7 Jul 2013 Reply
  • scrotius

    This song epitomises prog rock for me, really rewards repeat listening, first couple of times I thought "what's all the fuss about", then the 3rd or 4th time.... oh! friggin awesome, cant stop listening to it now

    15 Jun 2013 Reply
  • ffg

    The best thing they ever did.

    4 Jun 2013 Reply
  • Mechayoshi


    4 Jun 2013 Reply
  • hartmut2012


    14 May 2013 Reply
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