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For the figure of Greek mythology, see Sisyphus.
Song by Pink Floyd from the album Ummagumma
Published Lupus Music Ltd
Released 25 October 1969 (UK)
10 November 1969 (US)
Recorded March 17 1969
Genre Progressive rock, avant-garde, 20th century classical music
Length 12:59 (LP)
13:28 (CD)
Label Harvest Records
Writer Richard Wright
Producer Norman Smith
Ummagumma track listing

"Sysyphus" is an avant-garde, instrumental four part suite written and performed by rock band Pink Floyd's keyboardist Richard Wright.[1] The song is featured on his portion of the studio half of Ummagumma (and is the song that opens the studio album).[2]

Richard Wright's instrumental was named after a character in Greek mythology, usually spelled "Sisyphus".[3]


Part one consists of an overture featuring timpani and Mellotron chords resembling an orchestra. This segues into a piano solo that dissolves into a raucous, dissonant performance. Part two features a piano having its strings plucked and strummed alongside percussion and tape effects of sped-up voices. Brief moments of musical calm appear in part three; this section features a soft keyboard and organ piece with birds chirping. This lull is immediately followed by part four; a sudden thunderous orchestral crescendo, then the theme of part one reprises at the end.

On compact disc, part one was split into two halves, labeled "Part I" and "Part II". Consequently, the original part two became "Part III", while parts three and four became "Part IV".



  1. ^ Manning, Toby (2006). "The Albums". The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd (1st ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 161. ISBN 1-84353-575-0. 
  2. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2004). The Great Rock Discography (7th ed.). Edinburgh: Canongate Books. p. 1177. ISBN 1-84195-551-5. 
  3. ^ Mabbett, Andy (1995). The Complete Guide to the Music of Pink Floyd. London: Omnibus Press. p. 27. ISBN 0-7119-4301-X.