The recording of '"Cymbaline" on the album is different from the one in the film (the latter version is heard on a record player in a bedroom). The vocals are a different take, the studio version being sung by David Gilmour, and the film version by Roger Waters. The lyrics are also different in one place. One notable feature of the lyrics is the question posed at the end of the first verse, "Will the final couplet rhyme". Not coincidentally, the final couplet in the song is the only one that does not rhyme.
The song features a sparse arrangement of nylon string guitar, bass, piano, drumset, bongos, and Farfisa organ entering when Gilmour does a scat solo. Pink Floyd played "Cymbaline" from early 1969 until their last show of 1971, and it was the longest-surviving More piece in the band's live shows. It was dropped from their act along with "Fat Old Sun" and "The Embryo" when they began performing early versions of The Dark Side of the Moon.
When the band performed the song live, they made the following changes to the song:
The pace of the song was slower and more deliberate, creating an even more sombre atmosphere than the studio version.
Rick Wright almost always used Farfisa organ in place of piano (the exception being their performance at KQED studios in San Francisco on April 29, 1970, in which the studio had a piano for Wright to utilize).
David Gilmour played electric guitar and performed a guitar solo over where the scat solo occurred in the song.
In the spring of 1970, the key of the fadeout section was changed from E-minor to B-minor. During this section, Roger Waters would bang a gong instead of bongos as the music faded away. After the B-minor section, the band presented a selection of sound effects such as footsteps and creaking doors, courtesy of the Azimuth Co-ordinator they employed on stage. The effects represented the "nightmare", which would conclude with the sound of a loud explosion. Thanks to the panning sounds created by the Azimuth Co-ordinator, the sounds would surround the audience and the footsteps would move from left to right through the back of the venue. However, this move often proved futile, as the sound effects frequently garnered responses of laughter instead of the intended fear. On one live recording (ROIO) an audience member went as far as to sarcastically yell "I'm scared!" Nevertheless, the footsteps segment was usually greeted with considerable applause when the band resumed playing.
By mid-1969/early 1970, the band would follow the instrumental and/or sound effects section with a repeat of the third verse ("The lines converging where you stand...").