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Topic ClosedThere's no such thing as prog

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BrufordFreak View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 22 2015 at 20:01
This week I read through an old discussion thread on ProgArchives that was started by "TheGazzardian" back on April 2, 2010 that was entitled, "There is no such thing as prog." I was also researching multiple posts and discussions about the 'official' and personal definitions of "prog" or "progressive rock." Also, I'd been thinking about my own recent post on what elements of rock'n'roll should or are required/expected within the prog rock world. This got me started trying to actually make the Venn diagram of prog that I'd been talking about for a while.


A Venn Diagram


First, I put a big circle on a piece of paper with the word "progressive rock" inside. Then I put a circle next to that one in a way that about 30-40% overlapped (or intersected) with the "prog" sphere and labeled it "Rock'n'Roll." Next to this I drew another circle overlapping the same 30-40% with the "prog" circle, named it "Jazz" but realized that this one also needed to overlap with the "Rock'n'Roll" circle. Then I put another circle on the other side of the "Rock" circle, intersecting with both the "Prog" one and the "Rock'n'Roll" one, and labelled it "Classical." But then realized that it needed to also intersect with the "Jazz" circle. The same goes for the "Folk/Traditional" and "World" music circles that I proceeded to try to add:  How was I to get them all to appropriately intersect with one another?

 



Prog?



     Then I realized something more crucial:  The tiny little nucleus of the "Prog" circle that is alone, an entity unto itself, that is, supposedly, untouched by the influences of other musics, DOES NOT EXIST!! It finally dawned on me how right TheGazzardian was:  Prog, as a singular, independent, isolated, self-creating, self-defining entity does not existThere is no Prog without any or all of the other music genres!


                                                                      Folk/Traditional

                                                         World (green)                                                         Classical (pink)

Jazz                                  Rock'n'Roll

                                

Prog!

(Prog can occur at the intersection of any two or more of the five musical genres cited.)


     Progressive Rock is an offspring, an amalgamation, a synthesis, a b*****d or a love child (depending on your point of view) of elements from other musical genres. Progressive Rock does not and cannot exist without at least two of the other musical genres, for it is the outcome of the marriage/synthesis of two or more musical forms!

     So, does this mean my blog is now obsolete? So long as music lovers are referring to a category of music that they call "prog" or "progressive rock" then I will continue writing. (And listening!) This does, however, further validate my argument against the "rock'n'roll" requirement(s) of prog. For example, should a song, album or artist create, record, and publish a folk song using classical instrumentation, I might hear it and consider it "progressive" even though it contains no Rock elements. Just as classical renderings of classic prog music have become popular (e.g., 1993's Symphonic Music of Yes, 1995's Us and Them: Symphonic Pink Floyd, a whole mess of KRONOS QUARTET and VITAMIN STRING QUARTET recordings and, most recently, THE MUSICAL BOX's keyboard player, David Myers covering Genesis music on acoustic piano on David Myers Plays Genesis), so original compositions that artists and critics might consider "classical" I might hear and call them "progressive" (e.g. STEVE REICH, PHILLIP GLASS, WIM WENDERS, CLINT MANSELL, HANS ZIMMER). Therefore, let go! Ye listeners with close-minded set definitions of "progressive" music! Or, better yet, let's call it something different. Get rid of the limiting word "rock." Progressive music. Cross-genre music! Multi-genre music! Boundary-less music! Eclectic composition! Mixxed music! Melting pot music! Melange music! Kitchen sink music! Gumbo! Compost! Vampire music! Assimilative music. Tertiary music. Adventurous music. Orphean music. Integrative music. Amalgamated music. Paradigm-shift music. Envelope pushing music. "Outside the box" music. Creative music integration/synthesis. Multi-chakra music. Mural music. Abstract music. Surreal music. Metamusic. Supra-music. Intellectual music. Mental music. Musical smörgåsborg. Musical buffet. Walkabout music. Starving artist music. Jungian music. Experimental music. Affective music. Afferent music. Ionic composition. Libertarian music. Democratic music. Socialized music. Technical music. Filibuster music. Ever-expanding Universe music. Nebulanic or supernova music. Titanic music. Designer music. Gourmet music. Hybridized music. Bio-engineered music. Anti-socialized music. Music of the Stubborn and Reverent. Genius music. Anarchistic music. Archistic music. Symbionic synthesis. Expansive music. Unglaciated music. Illustrious music. Visual music. Brackish music. Foreward music. Innovative music. Novel music. Airy music. Salubrious music. White collar music. Radical music. Rational music. Barometric music. Aquarian music. Expressionist music. Intellectual music. Pioneer music. Exploratory music. Quantum music. Organic music. Musique anthropologique. Esoteric music. Inspired music. Evolutionary music. Maximalism. Glorified instrument music. Musician's music. Instrumentalists' music.



"If it ain't progressive then it cain't be prog!" -- Samuel Clemens 


 

Drew Fisher,
Prog Is Alive and Well in the 21st Century,
Second Cloud on the Left Farm

La Farge, Wisconsin
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 22 2015 at 21:01
The rock moniker comes from the tradition of rock, not necessarily the sound. That said, "jazz rock" fusion comes from the jazz tradition and therefore cannot truly be called "rock." That could stand for other subgenres/bands. But overall, the term was largely meant to describe rock bands progressing from rock. A starting point rather than a sound.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 22 2015 at 21:04
I think we did the whole diagram thing years ago, Dean might've come up with one.   But yours works too.

Let's get one thing straight:  Prog is a byproduct of Psychedelic Rock.   Period.   It is not really an "amalgam" or "hybrid" of two or more musics.   That's Fusion, or sometimes 'World music'


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."   -- John F. Kennedy
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 22 2015 at 22:01
I'm 99.99999% in agreement with you.   But I suppose the points of distinction are what fuel the conversation, right?  So, rather than stating "Yes!" over and over to a lot of your statements, I'll just jump right into those points of distinction.  :-)
a) Something which relies upon the melding of different categories still "exists" in its own right IMO...  For example, Asian fusion cuisine does "exist" as a style of food that is distinctly different from "Asian food".   I would defend the usage of the term because if that term did not exist, I would be perhaps unpleasantly surprised to show up at an "Asian" restaurant only to discover a lot of different ethnic "twists and turns" with no "purist" options available.  Not only do the foods taste different.  There is a functional purpose for using different labels to describe them.
 
It is true that had there been no "Asian" food in the first place, "Asian fusion" (as we know it) would not exist (unless someone invented it in which case we would have called it something totally different and would have contextualized its existence in totally different terms). 
 
But, my point is that there WAS indeed "Asian" food and there IS indeed now "Asian Fusion" food.  So IMO it does "exist".  Just not in a self-contained vacuum. 
 
OK - probably just semantics.  Not too much to that point I guess...
 
b) Hopefully this point will be more interesting....
 
Theoretically, progressive music *can* stretch the boundaries of music without intentionally drawing from any particular pre-defined genre or template.  In practice, it most often integrates elements from other pre-established genres but not always.   (Unless, of course you have a 'catch all' category for 'experimental' or 'new frontiers' which forces everything to fall into a category for tidiness sake...) 
 
c) Precious few artists and almost no music styles live 100% in self-contained vacuums.   That's just not the way human beings work.  We are constantly being influenced (to some degree often even unconsciously) by our experiences.   Again, pragmatically speaking, PROG depends to a much greater degree upon cross-pollination as an ingredient of its DNA.  So I do know where you are coming from.
 
As a side note, the blossoming of what I consider to be the PROG aesthetic over the last 20 years has in some ways caused the "prog rock" genre to more tightly focus itself as either more "ambitious" music structurally or a kind of "retro" classic prog format.
 
In some ways, I feel like we've entered a post-prog environment.  Artists and genres owe a lot to prog without being considered even "prog related" any longer.  To them, deviating from the mainstream "rock" template comes naturally.   With the barriers to recording and distribution both reduced, concept albums and unconventional arrangements abound.  It is no longer very "proggie" to do some of these "artsy" things.
 
It is a great time for music but ironically, a good portion of the music that had some "progginess" to my ears in the context of the time of its release (late 70's, 80's, early 90's) no longer is all that musically distinguishable from music that no longer is all that proggie.
 
Great post.  I need to come back and select my favorites from your wide selection of alternative terms for progressive music! 
Positively the best Prog and Fusion 24/7!
http://www.progpositivity.com
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 26 2015 at 15:48
Hi,
 
From Prog to Revelations!
 
Now I know why the Rock Hall of Shame will never list "progressive" or "prog" ... because it changes and that change can not longer be a valid description of the genre.
 
We should have known that the word itself is what is hurting. Even "psychedelic" fits better, although we do not like the drug association, and that association is a bit off key anyway, because many of the folks that played it were not stoned or ripped!
 
What a mess this world is! Where do we start cleaning it up? I always thought if any one singe place was good for this, the best would be here at ProgArchives, and that many of the people here could/should/might want to assume a bit of responsibility for it ... but instead, we allow Wikipaedia to be the one to make the terms and the history of it all. Maybe it's impossible to get all of us in one room and not enjoy a cup of tea or a beer. Nothing I would love more ... and meet everyone! The ultimate sense ... of "progressive".
 
Heart
 
Censored


Edited by moshkito - December 26 2015 at 15:52
... none of the hits, none of the time ... now you know what the art is all about!
www.pedrosena.com
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 26 2015 at 16:36

Hi,

As I mentioned before, I cam to a lot of this stuff via a huge collection of classical music that was innovative enough to even have Stockhausen, Britten, Davies and eventually the likes of Carlos.  Sadly, I think that the advent of rock and jazz music in those days, klilled classical music  because the names disappeared over night.  

Not for me.

I had little English at the time, and very bad communication skills what with being in high school, thrown in the 9th grade, only knowing "hello", and "how are you" ... and no one to communicate with  that could help expand the language learning and experience, other than what one might consider force feeding. At the time, film was my baby ... and I loved Lean, Kubrick, Fellini and Bunuel, because I could catch them every Sunday night at the Rathskeller ... but in no time, music was becoming bigger and bigger, and i would say that "Hey Jude" was one of the first for me, although we had Beatles and Stones and Ray Charles in Brazil, since 1965.

What was important for me, and some of this "new music" was that it gave me a chance to help identify what it was that they meant. It was harder to figure it out, when it was just a song with lyrics on top, and the same musical theme under it, which made it ... very difficult ... so the emotion is the same all the time? Where is the individuality that all the literature and music at our house was saying existed?

Here, a lot of popular music failed ... it had nothing but short songs, that meant even less than their relative time span. And there were some albums, that I got personally attached to, even though I still did not know what the lyrics meant. Moody Blues - Days of Future Passed//Janis Joplin and the Holding Company - Cheap Thrills//Jimi Hendrix Experience - Are you experienced?//Procol Harum - Wider Shade of Pale//Crosby Stills Nash and Young - First// Creedence Clearwater Revival - First//Iron Butterfly - In a Gadda Da Vida// and a couple of others. All of these, were a lot "less" on the song side of things, and a lot more on the "DEEP' and "intense" side of things. To me, this was excellent, and helped me learn a bit more about English, while at the same time, I learned that the variations in the music itself, was kind of on par with the incredible wide tastes and variances on the classical music that I enjoyed ... I loved the most melodic of them all (Puccini) and then the weirdes of them all (Stravinsky), and this was ... how do I reconcile the two extremes?

You don't ... it's the same person ... ask Donald Duck or Bugs Bunny!

In 1972, after having just moved from Madison, WI and experienced first hand a major school in America with its issues against the "establishment", including police attacking students in Madison, and the ROTC on campus turning against the students, and us getting frisked going in and out of the Rathskeller where I worked ... and hearing ... that a girl was shot in a school not too far from here, and being that we were seeing lots of guns on the hands of people whose morals and aesthetics were very screwed up! And they were just shooting, like we saw them do it in Chicago only a couple of hours south of us!

Your life changes. You move to California. Now, you have a shock experience ... half of life is a fad, the music is only cool when it is on the top 10 and fashionable, and you have to do what everyone else does to be hip and cool ... and you knew right away, that this was messed up. Some of the music lost its strength for me, and while I like The Doors, almost all the other bands from California took a dive ... they lost it and lost it big ... they sold out! You could see it! It was so obvious ... show off your Cadillac, show off your jewells, show off .. anything you can ... and luckily, through a good friend and roomate, I ended up "back in Europe" listening to different things that showed that "meaning" was important, and not just another joint, or a beer!

And this was the difference for me. "Progressive" became the more important and meaningful music for me ... the rest was lost and gone.

And to me, that was the difference!

... none of the hits, none of the time ... now you know what the art is all about!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 26 2015 at 20:03
1)
Originally posted by Atavachron Atavachron wrote:

Prog ... is not really an "amalgam" or "hybrid" of two or more musics.

2)
Originally posted by Atavachron Atavachron wrote:

That's Fusion, or sometimes 'World music'
What's the difference between the two?




Edited by Dayvenkirq - December 26 2015 at 20:03
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 27 2015 at 02:34
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

1)
Originally posted by Atavachron Atavachron wrote:

Prog ... is not really an "amalgam" or "hybrid" of two or more musics.
Originally posted by Atavachron Atavachron wrote:

That's Fusion, or sometimes 'World music'
What's the difference between the two?

Nothing Prog isn't fusion or world music either, by making David's comment into bullet-points you've kinda changed what he said. Un-bulletted he has said, and I paraphrase, '[Jazz-Rock] Fusion, and sometimes World Music is an amalgam or hybrid of two or more music styles'.

Prog is not a Jazz-Rock fusion, it remains resolutely Rock even though it employs compositional techniques from Jazz, in the same way that it remains Rock even though it borrows stylistic motifs (and less commonly, employs compositional techniques) from Classical music.

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It’s this thing called nuclear weapons.
And other things.
Like lots of things are done with uranium.
Including some bad things.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 27 2015 at 02:38
^ A-ha. Makes sense now. Thanks.
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