How Dissonance and Anticipation Add Complexity to Led Zeppelin’s Viking Anthem ‘The Immigrant Song’

12Tone, the wonderfully fast-talking, quick-doodling music theorist, offers a surprisingly lengthy analysis of the 2 1/2 minute Led Zeppelin Viking-themed anthem “The Immigrant Song”. He particularly notes how the relatively simple, rhythmic riff is made much more complex with the strategic use of dissonance, downbeat rhythms, gallops, a walking bassline and a device called anticipation, which bassist John Paul Jones applies at the end of the second bar by playing a C instead of a B. 12Tone wonders why this was done, but doesn’t really get a satisfactory answer to his query.

…there’s one thing in there that I really want to draw some attention to. At the end of the second
bar when he’s walking up the B major scale for the second time he actually overshoots the high B and plays a C… I can assure you he’s playing a C but I can’t tell you is why I know it’s not a mistake…