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A Beginner's Guide to Proto-Prog

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earlyprog View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 21 2009 at 08:53
Introductory Remarks
This is a work in progress appearing extremely sketchy/premature at this stage.
 
Purpose
Establish the time-dependency (history / development) of prog i.e. the relationship of R&B/pop/rock with the variables jazz, classical, space music and psyche over time. The first prog genres reach a stable stage circa 1970. Thus, the development of prog up to 1970 is established. The subgenres of prog studied include symphonic prog, space rock, heavy prog, Canterbury...
 
Problem formulation: prog rock genres = f {rock AND (jazz OR R&B OR classical OR psyche OR...)}.
 
Establishment of a system of (qualitative) governing relations i.e. relations that govern the formulation of a prog rock genre
  • relationship between R&B/pop/rock and jazz (time-dependent)
    • where jazz = f(brass instruments, horns)
  • relationship between R&B/pop/rock and classical music (time-dependt)
    • where classical = f(string and woodwind instruments)
  • relationship between R&B/pop/rock and psyche (time-dependency)
    • where UK psyche = f(spontaneity, silly lyrics, drugs, philosophy...? independent of instrumentation?)
    • where US psyche = f(folk)
  • relationship between R&B/pop/rock and space music
  • relationship bteween R&B/pop/rock and other genres (vaudeville, ska, reggae...)
Heuristic / phenomenological solving of the system of qualitative relations.
 
Approach
  1. Establishing a playlist of proto-prog tracks
  2. CD review of pre 1970 albums listed in PA
  3. Establishing a method to analyse the relevant music
  4. heuristic (phenomenological) solving of qualitative relations
Analytic Tool
Classification (prog/texture/density achieved by means of "instrumentation")
  • Guitar oriented
    • The Shadows, The Ventures --> rock...
    • Heavy prog / riff based (Who, Hendrix, Andromeda, Led Zeppelin, The Move)
    • RIO/Avant (Captain Beefheart)
    • US Psyche (Jefferson Airplane)
    • UK Psyche (The Move, Who)
  • Keyboard oriented
    • Symphonic (Nice, Arthur Brown)
    • RIO/Avant (The United States Of America)
    • Space pre-Rock (Joe Meek - clavioline; The Tornados)
  • Brass oriented (Miles Davis, Stan Kenton, Sun Ra)
  • Violin oriented (It's A Beautiful Day, High Tide)
  • Orchestra/strings oriented (Nirvana, Moody Blues, Beatles, Doors, Nice, Deep Purple, Yes)
  • Eclectic (guitar, brass/strings/woodwind/mellotron)
    • RIO/Avant (Zappa, Fifty Foot Hose)
    • UK Psyche (Kaleidoscope)
    • US Psyche (The Collectors)
    • Eclectic (Spirit, Pretty Things, East Of Eden, King Crimson, Family)
    • Heavy prog (Jethro Tull, High Tide)
  • Keyboard/guitar oriented
    • The Tornados -->
    • US Psyche (Doors, Iron Butterfly)
    • Heavy Prog / riff based (Deep Purple, Vanilla Fudge, Touch, The Gods)
    • Symphonic (Procol Harum, Renaissance, Yes)
  • Mixed/balanced (Pink Floyd, Soft Machine? The Gods, Second Hand)
  • Eclectic (keyboard, brass/strings/woodwind) (Ertegun, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Sun Ra, Soft Machine, Traffic, HP Lovecraft, USA, Sweet**ter, Collectors, Elmer Gantry)
  • Electronic (Messiaen, Cage, Loius & Bebe Barron, Edgard Varese, Ussachevsky, Dockstader, Joe Meek, The Tornados, The Ventures)

Classification by means of style
  • Jazz (Sun Ra --> Space Rock)
  • R&B (Ertegun/Ray Charles, Booker T. & The MG's, The Animals ---(+folk)--> Jefferson Airplane (Doors)/US Psyche --> Pink Floyd/Space Rock)
  • Folk (The Byrds --(+R&B)--> US Psyche; Prog folk: Shadows)
  • Classical (Elvis, Beatles)
  • Electronic (Messiaen, Cage, Louis & Bebe Barron, Varese, Ussachevsky, Dockstader, Joe Meek, The Tornados, The Ventures, Pink Floyd)
  • Rock (The Shadows -->...)
Quantification
  • record sales
  • chart positions

Technology

Resources
  • People
  • Equipment (instruments, processing equipment,recording equipment)
  • "Materials" (ingredients/components: genre, rhythm, length etc)
    • jazz
    • electronic music
    • space music
    • avangarde
    • rock
Processes & Knowledge (of how to combine / composition of the resources into a musical piece)
  • Composing
  • playing  (skills, virtuosity)
  • recording
  • live, concerts
  • (creativity, skills)
Organization (of resources and processes into a musical product)
  • when, what
  • guitar led, keyboard driven
  • e.g. eclectic mix of resources and proceses
Musical product
  • novel, innovative mix of resources, processes and organization
Recording studios
  • Abbey Road
  • ...
Producers
  • Joe Meek
  • George Martin
  • Chris Blackwell
  • Teo Macero
  • Norman Smith (Sgt. Pepper, Piper, Sorrow)
Instruments (introduced in R&B/rock/...)

  • Les Paul
  • Theremin
  • Moog (Beaver & Krause, George Harrison)
  • the harpsichord (Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, Hendrix)
  • 12-string (Harrison, McGuinn)
  • sitar
  • mellotron (Graham Bond Organisation, Beatles, Moody Blues, Rolling Stones, Zombies, Pretty Things, King Crimson, Simon Dupree)
  • orchestra (Bealtes, Nirvana, Moody Blues)
  • woodwind
  • brass
  • strings
  • synthesizer (Beaver & Krause)
  • organ
Skills (virtuosity)
  • brass (Miles Davis...)
  • keyboard (Dave Brubeck, Rod Argent, Emerson...)
  • guitar (Roger McGuinn --> Howe (e.g. Tomorrow's cover of Byrds' "Why"), Kantner/Kaukonen, Hendrix)
  • bass (McCartney, Entwistle, Squire)
  • strings
  • woodwind (Ian Anderson)
  • drums (Wyatt)
Processes
Genres, styles
  • raga (Seventh Sons, Kinks, Yardbirds, Beatles)
  • US psyche (Animals, Byrds, Jefferson Airplane)
  • UK psyche (Yardbirds, Kevin Ayers/Soft Machine, Syd Barrett/Pink Floyd, Tomorrow, Zappa, Pretty Things, Family)
  • space rock (The Who, Pink Floyd)
  • folk (Byrds, Jefferson Airplane)
  • jazz (Soft Machine, Spirit, Nirvana, Nice)
  • classical (Beatles, Nice): proto symphonic prog
  • R&B, rock (Deep Purple, The Gods): proto heavy prog
  • other (ska, reggae, vaudeville...)
Market (e.g. culture).

Record labels

 
Clubs
  • London
    • Speakeasy 
    • Roundhouse
    • UFO
    • Middle Earth
    • Marquee Club
  • San Francisco
    • The Matrix ('65-'72)
  • please add!

Concert venues, festivals

  • Fillmore West
  • Fillmore East
  • The Newport Folk And Jazz Festival
  • Tanglewood
  • please add!
Charts
  • Billboard 200 albums
  • Billboard 100 singles
  • Record Mirror ’56-’58; Melody Maker ’58-’60; Record Retailer ’60-’72
Societal changes
  • drugs
  • philosophy
  • summer of love
  • British Invasion (Beatles 1964)
 
The Development of Proto-Prog (introduction(background)

Prog was initiated as a cultural phenomenon. It was expressed in music, first (circa 1964) via segments of songs (Animals, Beatles, Yardbirds, Who, Beach Boys), then (circa 1966) entire songs (Soft Machine, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Doors) and finally (1968) via entire albums (possibly, Ars longa vita Brevis, East Of Eden 'Mercator Projected', Vanilla Fudge 'Renaissance', The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, HP Lovecraft II, Touch, Soft Machine).

 

But it seems that prog rock as an album concept was introduced on ItCotCK.

 

On the live scene, possibly Soft Machine and Pink Floyd were playing entire gigs of 'prog' in 1966.

 
The variables of prog (jazz, R&B, folk, rock, psyche) are chosen by establishing links with proto-prog bands. For instance,
  • jazz: Canterbury (Soft Machine)
  • R&B:space rock?
  • US psyche
In 1966-1968 most (all?) proto-prog bands experimented with a mix of rock, jazz, psyche, raga, space rock. This suggests that prog = f(rock,psyche, space rock, jazz, raga).
 
By definition, a prog genre is fully developed when the first album containing (nearly) 100% music in the genre was released. This applies to most of the first wave of prog genres around 1970. Therefore, the present study covers the development of prog up to circa 1970.
 
 
Year                                                                         Number of prog songs/albums                                                        Length
                                               Partial prog songs                                                     Full prog songs   Full prog albums    (min)
         Total/Classical/Jazz/Space oriented/Raga/US psyche/UK psyche/Space Rock                                                     
30's       1
40's       3
'53         1
'56         1
'58         1
'59         4
50's       7
'60         0
'61         4
'62         3
'63         7
'64        20
'65        40
'66        47
'67      132
'68
'69                                                                                                                                                                                      
 
Part 1: Pre-1960
 
 
Part 2: The instrumental years: 1960-1963
Pre British Invasion: Jazz, space music, avant, R&B and early rock
 
This period laid the foundation for the development of space rock (Joe Meek 1960), avant prog (Sun Ra 1962; Sun Ra 1963) and jazz inspired prog (Soft Machine 1963a; 1963b). Also notable for the emergence of the("Emerson like") piano (Stan Kenton 1960), the organ (Booker T & The MG's 1962; 1963a; 1963b) and the clavioline (Joe Meek 1960; The Tornados 1962a-b; 1963a-c) as a lead instrument since the non-use of singing left more room for the instruments. Moreover, genre mixing emerged (Elvis Presley 1960; Stan Kenton 1960b).
 
The space music of Joe Meek had a clear relationship with the early electronic music (Ussachevsky 1960).
 
At the same time The Shadows contributed to the development of rock (Shadows 1960b) with bass solo (Shadows 1960c) and bolero (Shadows 1960e). Andy Latimer of Camel seems influenced by Hank Marvin's guitar.
 
Soft Machine influenced by Sun Ra?
 
Booker T & The MG's: new sound ahead of it's time.
 
Use of instruments: introduction of clavioline (Joe Meek, The Tornados), bas solo ("Nivram")
 
From Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck and Sun Ra over the Shadows, the Tornados, the Ventures and Booker T, & the MG's to proto-Soft Machine and Beatles ("Not A Second Time").
 
Other: soundtracks, classical ingredients (Elvis)...
 
Characteristics (mixing styles, instrumentation, song length etc)
  • instrumental (except Ray Charles)
  • 6-11 minutes: jazz
  • 3 minutes: R&B
  • organ, electric guitar, (brass, vocals): R&B
Mix, result: Jazz (brass, long tracks) + R&B (organ, guitar)  = Soft Machine.
 
Other (non-jazz) route: x + y = Beatles ("Not A Second Time").
 
Part 3: Beatles give progressive music a voice: 1964-1966 Raga, psyche, space rock
Including birth of rock (Revolver, Cream).
 
Not A Second Time (Beatles 1963a) signalled a different approach to the development of prog.
 
Influences from R&B (Animals, Hancock), folk (Dylan, Byrds, Beatles), raga (Seventh Sons, Yardbirds, Kinks, Beatles).
 
Development of psych (Animals/R&B, Byrds, Jefferson Airplane).
 
Development on instrumental front: introduction of harmonium (Beatles "We an work it out", "The Word"), acoustic (Beatles "You've got to hide your love away" (12-string acoustic), "Yesterday", "We can work it out", "Girl"; Dylan "Suterranean Homesick Blues"), Twelve-string guitar (A Hard Day's Night, Things We said Today, Hide your Love Away, Ticket to Ride, If I Needed Someone; Leadbelly; the Byrds), organ (Animals)
 
Partial prog songs
  • .........
 
Part 4: 1967 Proto-prog: classical, jazz
Full prog songs
  • ........
 
Part 5: 1968-69 Prog
Full prog albums (incomplete)
  • Fifty Foot Hose 'Cauldron' '68
  • Chrysalis 'Definition' '68
  • Clouds 'Scrapbook' '68
  • The Nice 'Ars Longa Vita Brevis'? (?/Nov '68)
  • East Of Eden 'Mercator Projected' (Dec '68/Feb '69)
  • King Crimson itCotCK (June-Aug/Oct '69)
  • East Of Eden 'Snafu' (June-Sept '69/Feb '70)
  • Renaissance 'Renaissance' (?/Dec '69)
  • Deep Purple 'Concerto For Group And Orchestra' (Sept/Nov '69)
  • The Nice 'Five Bridges' (Oct '69/June '70)
  • White Noise 'An Electric Storm' '69
  • Family 'A Song For Me' (? '69/Jan '70)
  • Jethro Tull 'Benefit' (Dec '69/April '70)

References

Playlists of proto-prog:

  1. 1968:
  2. 1969:

 

CD reviews:

  1. Miles Davis Milestones 1958 (done!)
  2. Miles Davis Kind Of Blue 1959 (done!)
  3. Soft Machine Man In A Deaf Corner: Anthology 1963-1970 (done!)
  4. Beatles With The Beatles 1963 (next!)
  5. Beatles Past Masters Vol. 2
  6. Beatles A Hard Day's Night 1964
  7. Herbie Hancock Empyrean Isles 1964
  8. The Moody Blues The Magnificient Moodies 1964
  9. Gentle Giant Scraping The Barrel 1964 -
  10. The Who My Generation 1965
  11. Beatles Rubber Soul 1965
  12. Jefferson Airplane Jefferson Airplane Takes Off 1965


Edited by earlyprog - March 04 2011 at 10:48
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Alberto Muñoz View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Alberto Muñoz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 21 2009 at 10:10
Good effort i think that you have to cover the entire Vertigo swirl label and the Dandelion label.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Alberto Muñoz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 21 2009 at 10:12
here's a link that will serve your effort:
 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote earlyprog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 22 2009 at 04:29

Feel free to list clubs, concert venues and labels that were important in the development of proto-prog.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Atavachron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 22 2009 at 05:03
excellent, looks like you're on the right track.. also perhaps lesser artists as Beaver & Krause who did some early pioneering with synth
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaver_&_Krause
 
..and works as Time Beat by George Martin (1962); http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Beat



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Alberto Muñoz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 22 2009 at 13:00
Here's the dandelion history:
 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sealchan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 22 2009 at 17:22

Will you be defining (or sketching a definition) for prog and explaining how proto-prog relates to that definition?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote earlyprog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 24 2009 at 07:26

Sealchan, the study will be based on an assumed relationship for prog that describes the mixing of R&B/pop/rock with jazz, space music and psyche.

Proto-prog is an inmature stage of prog, its maturity indicated by its time-dependency or development over time until full-blown prog albums circa 1969-1970.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote earlyprog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 25 2009 at 05:28
Interestingly, in the years 1960-1965 the number of proto prog songs nearly doubled each year but the rate of increase appears to reduce after that..
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Certif1ed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 03 2009 at 01:32
I would definitely add the Matrix to the US clubs (home of Jefferson Airplane et al), and the Newport Folk and Jazz festivals. Newport 1965 is, I believe, the point at which prog really got kicked off, with Dylan proving that electric rock music could be just as "serious" and viable as the hallowed jazz and folk idioms. Dylan was, of course, a major mover in 1965 (not to mention other years, but in '65, he met up with the Byrds and the Beatles, and both changed dramatically stylistically, and the rest is history).
 
In 1962, Alan Watts released the first psychedelic release that I'm aware of, called "This Is It" (later parodied on "A Child's Garden of Grass - A Pre-Legalisation Comedy" in 1970). This contains psychedelic music as well as a lot of spoken philosophical stuff, so is of great interest,
 
Before Miles and Coltrane, there was the great pianist Lennie Tristano, whose modern jazz approach is not credited often enough - despite the fact he taught the likes of Joe Satriani and Bill Evans.
 
Before Lennie, was the jazz arranger, Stan Kenton, who is the first I know of to come up with the phrase "Progressive" in relation to music. He released an album in 1947 called "A Presentation of Progressive Jazz".
 
The first concept album I know of is Frank Sinatra's "The Wee Small Hours", in 1957. Having heard it, the stunning arrangements by Nelson Riddle are pretty progressive, IMO.
 
One important aspect is the integration of classical music - and you might be surprised at how early in rock's formative years this happened. Elvis Presley's song "Muss I Den" (Wooden Heart) incorporates a piece of classical music, for example.
 
In jazz, the pianist Jaques Loussier famously incorporated Bach with jazz - and I'd suspect he was influenced by Tristano's complex counterpoint. I haven't explored the jazz/classical integration history fully - but Loussier would be a good start. He must have been an influence on at least some of the early prog musicians.
The important thing is not to stop questioning.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote earlyprog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 09 2009 at 06:29

Most recent addition: an incomplete list of the first 'full' prog albums.

  • The Nice 'Ars Longa Vita Brevis'? (?/Nov '68)
  • East Of Eden 'Mercator Projected' (Dec '68/Feb '69)
  • King Crimson itCotCK (June-Aug/Oct '69)
  • East Of Eden 'Snafu' (June-Sept '69/Feb '70)
  • Renaissance 'Renaissance' (?/Dec '69)
  • Deep Purple 'Concerto For Group And Orchestra' (Sept/Nov '69)
  • The Nice 'Five Bridges' (Oct '69/June '70)


Edited by earlyprog - June 09 2009 at 06:38
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Certif1ed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 09 2009 at 15:57
Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

The Nice 'Ars Longa Vita Brevis'? (?/Nov '68)

I finally tracked down a vinyl First Pressing of this, and I must concur - it's a bona fide full Prog album, and it beats ITCoTCK, time-wise.
 
Another couple of reasonable contenders are
 
Chrysalis "Definition" (although many might argue this as a proggish psyche folk album - and who am I to disagree?) - 1968
 
Clouds "Scrapbook" - 1968 (Now in the archives! You can hear some tracks from this album (and others) and make your own mind up, now that Tony has added the streaming mp3s).
 
White Noise "An Electric Storm" - 1969
 
Fifty Foot Hose - Cauldron - 1968. Definitely not your average US psyche.
 
 
To the record labels list, you'll want to add Manticore, Neon, Charisma, Chrysalis (Island), Virgin and german label Brain.
 
Admittedly, neither Chrysalis nor Virgin remained "pure" prog...
 
There's probably loads I've forgotten - these are just off the top of my head.
 
 
As far as instruments go, I think that the Graham Bond Organisation were first to use the Mellotron - and they certainly had a proggy sound, especially later on albums like We Put Our Magick on You (1971 - Vertigo) - nice link to the R&B scene.


Edited by Certif1ed - June 09 2009 at 16:08
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rocktopus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 09 2009 at 16:31
Lee Hazelwood's highly reccomended Trouble is a Lonesome Town from 1963 is a selfpenned concept/storytelleralbum about a town (Trouble) and all its citizens (loosely based on his childhood memories). 

Its the first real conceptalbum I know of  with a storyline in the SF Sorrow / The Wall / Lamb Lies Down... (or Sinatras stunning Watertown)-vein, and not a collection of songs or ballads in a similar mood, like Wee Small Hours'.  Imo its one of the best conceptalbums ever made  too.
Over land and under ashes
In the sunlight, see - it flashes
Find a fly and eat his eye
But don't believe in me
Don't believe in me
Don't believe in me
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Certif1ed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 10 2009 at 03:22
Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

 
Problem formulation: prog rock genres = f {rock AND (jazz OR R&B OR classical OR psyche OR...)}.
 
Establishment of a system of (qualitative) governing relations i.e. relations that govern the formulation of a prog rock genre
 
(...)

Establishing a method to analyse the relevant music

 
Back to basics:
 
1. Melody. Characteristics - long flowing phrases as opposed to short repetitive phrases. Wild leaps, awkward intervals, techniques that show some mastery of the instrument (including voice!). Multiple simultaneous melody lines or even counterpoint.
 
2. Harmony. Characteristics - breaking away from standard progressions, e.g. I-IV-V, I-VI-IV-V or predictable diatonic variants, and more usage of jazz flavoured chords, integrating 6ths, minor 7ths, 9ths or other interval to build chord texture. Multiple simultaneous melody lines or even counterpoint.
 
3. Rhythm. Characteristics - could be time signatures other than 2 or 4/4, or, more frequently, unusual ways of using 4/4 so that the time signature becomes harder to identify, frequent breaks from steady rhythms rather than a continual beat, tempo changes, cross-rhythms between various instrumental parts.
 
4. Timbre - pretty much covered already, although also consider how the combined instrumental and musical textures go together to make proggy sounds - the technique of layering was quite often used. Not to be forgotten is vocal textures, e.g. Ian Anderson's simultaneous vocalisations over his flute playing and Peter Hammill's famous sounds.
 
5. Form - the best analytical POV, IMO. Characteristics - non standard song structure (A-B-A-B-C-A-B). The more complex the structure, and the better you feel it works to deliver a natural sounding piece of music, the greater chance that you are listening to a great piece of Prog that will only improve with further listening.
 
 
Originally posted by earlyprog earlyprog wrote:

Quantification
  • record sales
  • chart positions

Not sure that this is a good way to measure prog - successful prog is not the same as good prog.

Clubs
 
 
Scenes 
There was a Heavy/Space Prog/Rock scene in the Ladbroke Grove area of London which spawned bands such as The Pretty Things, Tomorrow, Sam Gopal, The Deviants, The Pink Fairies, Twink, Hawkwind, Motorhead and a number of others - it's well worth noting and exploring as the birthplace of Space Rock, although it's neither a Club nor a venue.
 
Check out particularly Sam Gopal's "Escalator" (1968) and Twink's "Think Pink" (1969) - and prepare to have your mind blown!
 
If you can handle punk (the attitude, not the "style"), check out The Deviants - but be prepared to have your mind blown for completely the wrong reasons if punk repels you!
 
Another album worth checking out, even though it's a bit late, is Glastonbury Fayre (1971), the famous triple album that was limited to 5000 pressings and was released in a HUGE gatefold sleeve packed with goodies including a DIY pyramid. It features the Fairies, Gong and a number of other great early Prog/Rock/Underground acts.
 
Most of it was't actually recorded at Glastonbury however... LOL


Edited by Certif1ed - June 10 2009 at 03:27
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote earlyprog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 10 2009 at 03:53

Sooner or later timbre, rhythm, harmony, form and melody would be mentioned as tools to analyse the music.

I left it out initially as I have no prior theoretical knowledge on these parameters (one of the reasons why I chose to prepare a beginner's guide).
 
On the other hand, I also saw this blog as a great opportunity for me to get acquainted with the parameters, especially during the accompanying album reviews.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Garion81 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 09 2009 at 14:28
San Francisco's concert scene started at the Avalon Ballroom before the Fillmore and later Winterland for more popular artists. You might find someway to list promoters like the Family Dog and Bill Graham productions for the concerts that went on.  I also see you have Zappa listed in British Psyche and where is Touch?  John Anderson and Kerry Livgren list that album as a major influence in their writing.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 22 2009 at 09:47
Hi,
 
I'm not sure there is an "easy" reply to this. I myself am working on a book on this stuff but am not going to go to the academic extent that you have demonstrated thie work.
 
However, I find one fault in it ... and I think that it is a drastic fault, that will have an immense influence in the way you do this and possibly improve your analysis to a better degree.
 
!st and foremost is film, and it's use of music ... there is very little music in ALL of film that is as experimental and different than the work of Bernard Herrman ... from the odd combinations of instruments that he used for many Alfred Hitchcock films to his own compositions and eventually soundtracks for fantasy films, which are by far and away some of the most powerful and expressive film scores ever done.
 
Along with film, comes something that does not have "direct" influence in music but is the grandfather of rock music ... in attitude!
 
And it probably starts in the late 40's and 50's and with the advent of the Elia Kazan, the NY theater scene and the London theater scene that went on to create "the angry young men" ... of which Harold Pinter, Joe Orton and many others came out of. In America the Kazan influence extended to bringing Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams and later Edward Albee to the mix.
 
It might not be obvious, but Elvis was a veritable musical impersonation of Marlon Brando ,,, and you must see this connection and how American media was actually afraid of even allowing him shown on TV from his waist down ... and how american TV still to this day disrespects and trashes the value of all this theater and creativity in favor of a star system that protects their profits and bottom lines ... another story!)
 
Towards the 60's the major events are VietNam and television ... and these made the world "visible" ... and as such, the Beatles took on the visual side of themselves only to find fame and fortune that far exceeded their expectations or hopes ... but also added a lot more ... musical influences were now becoming international instead of just local. And this is important!
 
Other important movements would be the Kurt Weill and Bertold Brecht camp, that although not quite visible in rock music per se, it can be seen in the Velvet Underground, Talking Heads and a hand full of bands that tend to be somewhat more literary than most rock/pop music ... which has very little literary and artistic value in general. A lot of today's "prog" or "metal" music is just that ... extended pop music. Because someone likes a book, does not art make!
 
Paris has one of the most experimental and weird music and art scenes. You can do weird stuff and experiments in there. The likes of Heldon/Pinhas and that family are but an extension of that school, that almost fits the "avant-garde" mode of the arts than it does a "prog" discussion. Jacques Brel fits into this area and below with the German scene as well.
 
Germany in the early 60's had a very vibrant theater and film scene. One such example was Peter Handke, whose word plays were a word'y living theater (after Julian Beck !!!) ... and the Living Theater itself had a major influence in the performance art, much of which was undertaken by many musicians ... this was an influence to Damo Suzuki and his style that went on to flavor Can. It is also visible in the "acting style" that came out of the Amon Duul camp ... whose commune, according to Peter Michael Hamel's book had actually been led and run by an american actor in the first place ... so it was no surprise to find acting exercises being mixed up with music experimentation. It also becomes a very important element in the early Ash Ra Tempel material and then Cosmic Couriers with its theatrical style and floating voices and comments. That was not "lyrics" ... it was "live theater" or "live performance", not just singing!  And this is a perfect and best example of how you can mix disciplines and make them improve each other ... it's just sad that theater itself has not improved and has fallen behind many of these arts.
 
This is not something that is usally thought of and is one of the most important pick ups of the music in the 60's ... it's getting away from "singing" into more performance oriented styles of saying things that could be considered catered to a movie or story ... other than operas, most music was NOT a "story" or a "symphony" ... and to me, the likes of Topographic Oceans, Tommy, Passion Play, Echoes, Atom Heart Mother ... and such were the first rock "symphonies" and they deserve that credit!
 
And there is a lot more that I am missing, and I can only reference my own experience ... one still needs to evaluate The Doors ... and the fact that they are all film majors ... and it is quite obvious to me how influenced by the likes of Bunuel/Dali, the writing of Jim Morrison is and how he uses the film imagery in the music ... he does the same thing a really good cinematographer will do ... make you remember the moment! ... and for music history purposes, specially what we want to call "progressive" ... this is massive, and one of the greatest influences out there ... not the only one. Others included Burroughs (Naked Lunch/NY/Warhol/Bowie/Reed) and how words were being thrown up in the air and then written as they fell as lyrics, which Bowie, Talking Heads and many other bands embraced on the spot.
 
All in all, there is no "progressive" music ... it is all a continual development of music ... the main difference that you are not mentioning is that radio/vinyl/tv changed what music WAS ... we never gave popular music and jazz and any other more popular idioms any credit and these were never considered "music" ... and all of a sudden ... guess what ... that line as to what is music and is not music is so blurred that many modern composers are all of a sudden really weak and just academic exercises compared to many rock musicians, jazz artists and other musicians out there ... and if you ask me ... that needed to happen ... it is progress ... in that more music can now be evaluated ... but it will require that the music concepts and thinking also change.... you can not rate the music of today with the "tools" of the past ... music has changed forever! 
 
So, in essense, the history of "progressive music" is the history of the ultimate, and final, acceptance and combination of any and all popular music idioms into the history of music ... and as such a viable and important theme.  However, most academia will not recognize progression in music ... specially stuff that comes off popular idioms.
  
And it is your turn and mine to make sure that people understand that.
 
I would re-write what you did with a more quotidian value ... but if you are around people that think that Mozart is music and the rest is not ... you are in the wrong place and need to go to school in Berkeley, where this study would make sense!


Edited by moshkito - July 22 2009 at 11:45
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 22 2009 at 11:38
Hi,
 
More on your dissertation ....
 
Guitar oriented  --
 
I would remove this ... I do not think that this is as important as the music itself ... a different chapter should be made. The "electric" guitar is the violin of the 20th century ... plain and simple. There is nothing a violin can do that the guitar can not and vice versa ...
 
There are elements in electric guitar that don't even fit jazz ... listen to Terje Rypdal/David Darling (EOS -- skip the first cut) and you will find the best chamber music you have ever heard ... !!!
 
The breaking down into various idioms is almost ... not as important if you study the performance aspect.
 
Also not listed (haven't seen it yet) is the discussion about Woodstock and the most important symbol of this generation that was wasted ... one man trying to lift us out of all this trash and sh*t ... and we can not even see it and admire the inteligence the beauty and the love and the effort ... that it took to make it stand out ... and even the folks associated with it do not understand it and in the redo to come, it is still not mentioned. I have mentioned this to Mr. Scorcese, who was a cameraman in that film ... and told him just that and he has never replied ... I think he knows ... and I like to think to myself ... it's our secret. But that event needs to be magnified so the music can gain some more respect, instead of the continual rap by many Jimi fans that still think that's not blues or any other crap that he was forced to play!
 
Keyboard oriented
 
I don't think that a keyboard or a player doing a version of Griegg or Mussorgsky, is any more of a musician than one that never had any classical training whatsoever. To be fair, and honest I really think this is one of the worst definitions and things ever said about music and an insult.
 
 
Brass oriented
 
I would consider 2 schools of brass ... the jazz side and the soul/blues side. Both of which were progressive in their way. I would say that Miles Davis wrote the book on the jazz side, but he was doing something that most classically trained people can not do ... improvise as he felt like it, and he was not classically trained.
 
 
Violin oriented (It's A Beautiful Day, High Tide)
Orchestra/strings oriented (Nirvana, Moody Blues, Beatles, Doors, Nice, Deep Purple, Yes)
 
These are, for the most part, musicians that were influenced by classical music and wanted to use that inspiration within the rock context.  What's so big about a teacher and school telling you about Beethoven and Mozart that you would not want to do with your guitar just for fun, and in some cases ... more than just fun?
 
Give the public and regular people some credit plz ...
 
 
 
Quantification
I think this would have to be put in perspective ... otherwise the majority of "prog" will never be here or discussed! But again, they are also less known than a lot of other musicians, and to me, this is the biggest thing about "prog"
 
As an example, around my roomie when he was playing Golden Earring at that time, the other dj nosed in and said "it's not rock'n'roll" ... to which my roomie immediately said ... "who cares! It's great music!"
 
You need to take the same stand!
 
And this is what you have to do ... you can not elevate prog because of a guitarist ... or a keyboard or Keith Emerson, or some other idiocy. But you can elevate a lot of music and redefine the concepts of "music" including the addition and advent of popular music into the definitions ... of which those we consider prog are a lot more aligned with the history of the arts and it's development than anything else ...
 

Technology

Recording studios
 
Definitly, although I think that the advent of tape improvements (from an inch to 2 and then 3 and more) for recording was the one thing that allowed a lot more to be done ... and have the fidelity to be able to showcase it.
 
Producers
Not always as important although it's hard not to consider George Martin, but he added a lot of musical knowledge and history to the Beatles and helped the music seem larger than just a couple of pop songs. There are other more important producers out there that added much more important elements to the development of music, and one should even consider Motown in the history.
 
 
Instruments (introduced in R&B/rock/...)
I would consider the Theremin important only in that it helped define a lot of synthesizers. However it was not, and still isn't, quite accepted as a classic instrument, and/or a part of an orchestra. Moog is a no brainer, and B&K is a great story. George was playing with the toys after he met these guys. Nothing major there. Sadly enough, the free form stuff that John did with Yoko would be more progressive and appropriate here were it not for the hate people have for Yoko. Which is not fair to John himself!
 
All other instruments were used and are quite conventional in their use in most work.
 
Skills (virtuosity)
The point of view here, should be "individuality" ... not skill. Skill is not exactly a measurable qantitative anything ... and should be dropped. But the individuality added to many compositions by each and every one of these people made the work they did quite historic and helped put music on the map ... again, the popular movement is blowing out the "classical" and creating more experimental and new pieces than the modernistic period ever did.
 
I would consider Miles, Jimi, Ian Anderson is a maybe ... and he could blow Rampal into the next country ... (as Herbie Flowers did!) ... but a point must be made clear that the rigid'ness of classical music concepts make it impossible for any virtuosi to flourish and grow ... and the pop/rock/jazz elements have embraced that spirit, which most academic and classic environments reject. And this is the single greatest factor in ALL of our discussion and music development!
 
Genres, styles
Raga .. needs to be developed more as there are many european bands that blatantly took this concept to heart, and you should discuss Agitation Free as an example. If you do not know/understand what a raga is and what it is designed to do, then any music that employs this concept is wasted. In general a lot of long cuts and improvisations have a lot more to thank a raga for than anything else, the musical elements (sonata, etc etc ) notwithstanding, as they can be a meeting point at any time in the music itself to help the musicians come together in the end, for example.
 
US psyche ... definitly more radio oriented.
UK psyche ... more composition oriented
French/German psyche ... more complete exploration oriented
Italian psyche ... almost exclusively influenced by classical music
 
Folk ... there really should be a section that helps define folk better. The english scene in folk in its variations and combinations is far more progressive and experimental than we give them credit for.
 
Record labels
You have got to have the ECM label here ... there is no one more progressive and experimental than the close the door in the room and play mentality of that group ... it's exclusion is a perfect example of how we lavel things and do not credit "musicians" for their work.
 
One other mention ... you do not have the 3 greatest composers of your time and mine ...
 
Vangelis, Mike Oldfield and Klaus Schulze ... end of story!
 
 
Clubs
Not as important today as it might have been 50 years ago ... but worth of mentioning that they created scenes related to their areas and arts. But Fillmore was not removed from the hippie scene and neither was the UFO removed from the London scene ... they were an extension of the scene! Discuss that plz.
 
 
 
Charts
I would not discuss charts ... they are about "top of the pops" not music and never have been ... but they are important in helping the demise of classical music and the rise of popular music ... albeit  not the standards, in lieu of the fame content!
 
 
Societal changes
I would discuss these as a part of the world scene and changes. Drugs in SF were a completely different story than they were in France, or London!
 
 
 
Year                                                                         Number of prog songs/albums                                                        Length
 
This should be done only as a reference to see changes in history of music ... otherwise not really important, albeit I do not think some things would have been done without A or B ...
 
Thx


Edited by moshkito - July 22 2009 at 12:16
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lodij van der Graaf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 22 2009 at 12:50
You even study it! Clap

You know, it's quite mesmerizing to -almost- everyone to see this thread... A post could be a set of paragraphs. My first impression about this is: Geez, the heck! :close the window:
But, when I try to look it once again, I found interesting things. Thanks for everyone above!
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like Chastity,
like Lucifer,
like mine!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 22 2009 at 13:31
HI,
 
Born in Portugal, went to Brazil and then came to America ... when it comes to music, there is not a whole lot of variation that bothers me, be it cultural, weird or just plain plutonean!
 
But in travelling and reading different periodicals than the no-news American news, it something that one remembers and can take with their life. In America this is hard, specially  when the media is also controlled/owned by the same people making the money in the blockbusters.
 
As such, the chance that something will be discussed, or shown on TV or appearing on radio are not very good. For the most part, the history of american arts is in a horrible sad state because of the business interests.
 
The 20th century is trying to change this and the internet is also helping massively, not to mention the rest of the world ... but the old world is still alive ... look at folks in this board ... treating 9 out of 10 threads based on their favorites and what they know ... and getting them to listen to something they don't know ... not gonna happen ... otherwise you would get a nice comment like ... I listened to this album yesterday and thought this and that ... but you only get ... hated it. You know why? 2 minutes of it off iTunes or a quick sample and it did not trigger their ear.
 
Simplistic notion ... but if we are going to elevate music, that notion has to change some.
 
There are some really nice and intelligent folks here that know their stuff ... and are studying this stuff. Hopefully they can help make a difference, but calling it "prog" something that the very instruments that we consider prog deny ... is what is bizarre to me!
 
It's not even about the music and the day and space anymore ... it's about my idea of what "prog" is supposed to be?
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