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Seeking a more elegant definition for Prog

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote progpositivity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 04 2010 at 20:30
Originally posted by Manuel Manuel wrote:

Personally, I like your definition, but I know very well it will not satisfy everyone, since it seems each individual has his/her own reason as to why they like prog rock, and certainly one sole definition can not possibly include them all. That said, it's important to mention that prog rock is only one form of progressive music, which also includes jazz, electronic music, blues, etc, and since all these tend to influence each other, makes defining them much more complicated.
 
Thanks Manuel. 
 
I think you hit upon an important topic.  Sometimes we want to include everything we like under the progressive rock umbrella.  But it is certainly "OK" to enjoy "good" music that isn't "progressive rock".  To say that something isn't "prog" is not an insult!!!
 
While this particular definition may exclude some progressive popular music here and there from qualifying as "progressive rock", in actuality, the rock idiom has been so pervasive within the modern era of popular music that this definition is surprising inclusive. 
 
That may be a pragmatic perspective more than a denotative concern but it is an interesting one I think nonetheless.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Slartibartfast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 04 2010 at 20:31
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote progpositivity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 04 2010 at 21:06

Progressive Rock:  Music springing from or incorporating elements from the rock idiom while expanding beyond the genre's traditional musical limitations and constraints.

 
As helpful as those adjectives may be, I'll need to "steer clear" of the words "sophisticated" and "intelligent" in a definition of progressive rock for 3 reasons, the first of which may be nit-picky, but, "here goes"...
 
1.  Strictly speaking, music cannot have intelligence.  Music can be complex, but not intelligent.  A composer can illustrate his great intelligence through the manner of music he creates.  A listener will use his intelligence to understand a piece of music. 
 
When someone says "progressive rock is intelligent music", I suspect the speaker may actually be implying that progressive rock music appeals to and/or is created by people who are intelligent and sophisticated. 
 
2.  I don't believe that either of these descriptors introduces anything uniquely "progressive rock" to the equation.  Providing we allow the anthropomorphism of music having intelligence and sophistication, I believe that some jazz, opera, chamber music, classical music and even some folk music all could quality as intelligent and/or sophisticated.  This is not to say that progressive rock qualifies any less - only that this is not a unique identifier of the genre.
 
3.  Perhaps akin to #2, I think that calling progressive rock "intelligent, sophisticated" music implies that other music is not intelligent and sophisticated.
 
Even worse, if we are - in actuality - inadverdently implying that progressive rock music is music that appeals to and/or is created by people who are intelligent and sophisticated, might we also end up implying that people who create or enjoy other - less complicated - forms of music are less intelligent or less sophisticated. 
 
Even classical music, infamous for music snobbery doesn't dare define themselves as "intelligent music" or "sophisticated music", do they?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote progpositivity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 04 2010 at 21:16
Originally posted by moshkito moshkito wrote:

Originally posted by tamijo tamijo wrote:

I allways wonder, why............
 Why do you want this definition.
 ... 
 In the end, I don't think we need a definition.
 What we need is a better understanding of the history that brought us here.
 "learn some more about the time and the place and the music that was then."
 
You decide ... but in the end, if all history is nothing but some idealistic concept ... in the end, no one is gonna care ... and that is what you want? Ideas come and go and all of us think of Michelangelo!
 
I don't think we need a definition.  But I would "like" to have one that is both concise and functional.
 
I do think a better understanding of the history that brought us here is a worthwhile goal.  To some extent, it deepens and widens our understanding of and appreciation for progressive rock. 
 
I will stop short of saying that it is essential to merely creating a definition of progressive rock, however.  Just as there must be an efficient way for novices and casually interested people to get a basic definition of "Gestalt therapy" without digging deeply into its history, framework and methodology, there must also be a way to define progressive rock that is informative and accessible to the general person on the street.
 
Then again, a definition may not be what you are looking for.  Perhaps you could create a thread named "A better understanding of the history that brought us here" or "learning more about the time and the place and the music that was then".  I think that would be a very interesting thread.  I would enjoy reading and keeping up with it! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 04 2010 at 22:53
Originally posted by progpositivity progpositivity wrote:


By this definition, a rock song in 7/8 almost always will qualify as a “prog song”.  


Wow, you almost convinced me with that one. Over the years, I have heard many arguments on this but this must be the most convincing line of argument in favour of odd time signatures I have come across, simply that it is not common in rock music.  Hmm..., no, I consider odd time signatures too minor an element of music to consider a song that is a traditional rock song in all aspects but for being written in 7/8 to be prog.  Regardless, it does not affect your definition in any way and no more did I say that your definition would have to incorporate odd time signatures, for I am glad it does not. LOL  "Music that incorporates rock elements and goes beyond the traditional constraints of the genre" is fair enough.

Re Canterbury, I am not so sure about how rock Supersister's To The Highest Bidder is.  It is unmistakably Canterbury, however, and I would not think of calling it anything other than prog. So, are the chief characteristics of Canterbury not closely tied to rock in general? At what point does prog go so far beyond the boundaries of rock that the rock elements in it are no longer significant? If we then say it is therefore not progressive ROCK, would that sort of defeat the purpose of "progressive"?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tamijo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 05 2010 at 05:27
Originally posted by SaltyJon SaltyJon wrote:

Progressive Rock:  music that sometimes sounds different than other music, but not always. Thumbs Up
 
If we need to define in a simple way, I go with that one. Tongue
 
Prog is whatevey you want it to be. So dont diss other peoples prog, and they wont diss yours
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tamijo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 05 2010 at 05:50
Originally posted by moshkito moshkito wrote:

Hi,
 
In the end, if you break Epitath, and The Endless Enigma to just notes and chords and some other "prog" definition that was not used at the time at all, you have taken the very soul of the music out. ..................
........................................................................................................................................................................................ 
What we called "progressive" was, above all ... massively original music that challenged the status quo in all music levels and concepts. And to define it away from that, is sad,.........................................................
 
I totaly agree with the above. Originality is the important aspect, and as such anyone making similar music today, can never reach the level of interest that the poiners did, they have to add something unik, or they are just, as a violinist playing Bach. Great Handycraft, but Bach is the artist.   
 
Lots of new band today (more or less sucesfully) ad something new, making them interesting as art.
But to make music fitting in to one or the other definition of prog. is not interesting in itself.
And as such, that definition wont be interesting either.
Prog is whatevey you want it to be. So dont diss other peoples prog, and they wont diss yours
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paravion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 05 2010 at 07:02
Originally posted by progpositivity progpositivity wrote:

Progressive Rock:  Music springing from or incorporating elements from the rock idiom while expanding beyond the genre's traditional musical limitations and constraints.
It's okay as far as it goes. 

Though there are issues of relativity, circularity, and categorization that I think need some further consideration.

Does a definition of prog has to be relative to rock? By asserting this, you may exclude non-rock prog acts like purely ambient and electronic muisc (e.g. Tangerine Dream). 

By introducing other music categories in a definition, these need to be defined as well. You also introduce rock's limitations and constraints in your definition, these are presumably disputable and not particularly clear. There is a general problem in defining words with words in that each word call for yet a definition and thus poses a problem of circularity. This can be solved by either by attempting abstract logic definitions or introducing basic-level and simply structured categories in the wordy definition and assume further definition isn't necessary.

Prog is a very complex category. Your definition implies that category membership is determined by absence or presence of discrete elements, all musical of character, and somewhat easily determinable. It's my view, that music doesn't consist of discrete elements - category membership isn't determined by extracting elements and determine whether or not they collectively suffice as sufficient conditions for prog. Rather, an instantiation of prog is to be viewed as a whole and category membership is determined by a lot of diverse factors, which are all dependant on and resides within the determiner's conceptual system - and thus, it's inevitably a very subjective matter what is and is not prog.     
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The-time-is-now Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 05 2010 at 09:44
Hmmm...

Progressive rock is linked to a period, let's say 1969-1979 (to discuss). It's important to mention that, because bands from that period defined the form, and because a lot of 'newer' bands get inspired by their compositions


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ExittheLemming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 05 2010 at 09:53
Originally posted by tamijo tamijo wrote:

I allways wonder, why............
 
Why do you want this definition.
Do you want to exclude something from the music you listen too.
Do you want a debate about the music currently allowed on PA
Do you actualy belive that artists making music think this way, about what they do.
 
 
 


This I think addresses the heart of the matter. The quest for a definition of what is aesthetically appealing to us is I fear ultimately futile and probably counter productive. Why do you seek to arrive at parameters that limit a phenomenon's appeal when you wouldn't apply the same discipline to the reasons you chose the woman who is currently your wife? (All these definitions fall short because I ain't you compadre)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 05 2010 at 10:00
Originally posted by ExittheLemming ExittheLemming wrote:

Originally posted by tamijo tamijo wrote:

I allways wonder, why............
 
Why do you want this definition.
Do you want to exclude something from the music you listen too.
Do you want a debate about the music currently allowed on PA
Do you actualy belive that artists making music think this way, about what they do.
 
 
 


This I think addresses the heart of the matter. The quest for a definition of what is aesthetically appealing to us is I fear ultimately futile and probably counter productive. Why do you seek to arrive at parameters that limit a phenomenon's appeal when you wouldn't apply the same discipline to the reasons you chose the woman who is currently your wife? (All these definitions fall short because I ain't you compadre)

But it's not about choosing a wife, it's about simply defining a genre in terms that someone new to it and inquisitive about it would understand. "Oh, you can't define it, you just 'feel' it" is not helpful at all even if that is eventually what I was left to do in my early days of exploring prog.  Thankfully, I heard good representations of the genre first up but it need not be that way for everyone.  progpositivity's definition is one of the more concise and broad-based ones that I have read and  - I must disagree here with Paravion - it is not actually trying too much to determine the elements that go into music.  It is simply saying 'ambitious rock based music' which is pretty wide (though the point about rock needs to be addressed for the definition to be complete).  If it was indeed not about styles or musical elements at all and entirely about a progressive ideal, then may I suggest the cross-section of bands accepted by this database would be vastly different (and also restricted to far fewer bands because only a minority of bands that get called prog rock are truly progressive). 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David_D Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 05 2010 at 12:58
Hi Progpos.
 
Thanks a lot for your last comment to my own proposal for definition and for your, I'll say, quite incisive characteristic of my goal as being "..to create a precise and detailed structure of classification of prog." 
 
Then I want to say that I'd like to contribute to your quest for "minimalist definition" as I think it can have a good functional purpose. It sounds like an interesting theoretical challenge, too,when your ambition also is a "..definition which provides an accurate depiction of the essence of prog."
But I don't think I'll be able to contribute the next couple of days as I'm quite busy with my own post.
 
Meanwhile good luck
Cheers
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 05 2010 at 14:33
Quote Originally posted by progpositivity

Progressive Rock:  Music springing from or incorporating elements from the rock idiom while expanding beyond the genre's traditional musical limitations and constraints.
 
The part here that is weird is that the sentence is stating that it is incorporating elements of itself, of its own genre. As such, it defeats the purpose of defining what it is doing to itself and music. The sentence is a blank statement that says almost nothing about the msuci and/or any of the elements. We're making an assumption that there is such a thing as a "rock idiom" and that there are 5 things listed in that medium ... and that is nowhere to be found or seen. We can make a statement about it to help the proposition along, but in the end, we created a concept and decided that a concept is valid and then we relate all life to it.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 05 2010 at 14:51
Originally posted by Paravion Paravion wrote:

 
Prog is a very complex category. Your definition implies that category membership is determined by absence or presence of discrete elements, all musical of character, and somewhat easily determinable.
 
 
I prefer to state that "progressive" and its derivative in "prog" is a VASTLY VARIED AND COMPLEX styles of music that tend to mix, match and change conventional thinking in regards to most music composition and performance.
 
The problem is, that even my statement is a bit vague, but it does give credit to the other categories, specially ones that we tend to ignore. Like no one thinks about the Incredible String Band as progressive, and they make most of the progressive mamma and pappa bands that we love look stupid when it comes to quantity and continuous inventiveness of material ... and not for 2 albums only!
 
I understand the premise, but want that "definition" to be able to state, and show, that ... the majority of that music came alive ... because there was a scene ... and it was not in one place only ... it was felt all over the world and its artistic notions and peculiarities spread much like a wild fire does. And it created some wonderful things.
 
That's not to say that we have to have a "scene" to create some music, but having a wider appeal and incresing its abilities with other artists, is what helped create this whole thing ... please everyone ... go check out "Tonite We All Love In London" ... and then ask yourself ... why all these different people and music are all together ... and you will know why the music became so important ... AND we remember it.
 
And then, if you have the guts ... go check out the beat poets ... and where they were and with whom ... and one day you might say ... what were Robert Wyatt, Syd Barrett, Kevin Ayers, Burroughs, Daevid Allen, Ginsburg and so many others ... doing in the same house? Having just sex?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote progpositivity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 05 2010 at 16:53
Originally posted by moshkito moshkito wrote:

Quote Originally posted by progpositivity

Progressive Rock:  Music springing from or incorporating elements from the rock idiom while expanding beyond the genre's traditional musical limitations and constraints.
 
The part here that is weird is that the sentence is stating that it is incorporating elements of itself, of its own genre. As such, it defeats the purpose of defining what it is doing to itself and music....
 
In school, you'll get a C ... maybe! ... for that paper.
 
Thanks for reading the post and for sharing your perspective.  Minimalism tends to have this effect on people from time to time.  I can only ask that we not judge "Music for Airports" by compositional standards one would use to judge a symphonic classical work.  The goals of the two pieces of music are very different.  I'll go a little more into that later. 
 
But first, I'd like to call attention to the pivotal word "or" in the definition.  "Music springing from or incorporating elements from the rock idiom..."
 
The sentence states that the music either springs from the rock idiom or incorporates elements of the rock idiom.  It does not say that it needs to do both at the same time.  In this respect, it is not circular at all. 
 
For example, most jazz rock fusion doesn't usually spring from the rock idiom.  It still qualifies as progressive rock (according to this definition) because it incorporates elements of the rock idiom while expanding beyond the genre's traditional musical limitations and constraints.
 
In response to the allegation that this definition has become so general that it has become bereft of meaning altogether, I must disagree. 
 
Is this definition open to a limitless set of creative possibilities?  Yes.  But "progressive rock" is also open to such.  This definition does not mandate any certain approach to creating progressive rock.  Nor does it attempt to list the most common stylistic elements of progressive rock music.  Any attempt to do so would fall woefully short of the goal because the potential approaches and elements are infinite. 
 
Does this definition also allow some of the most dull retro-style retread music to qualify?  Yes.  But I would suggest that retro-retreads of music that expand beyond the traditional "rock idiom" do belong in the genre.  We may discuss whether we believe these pieces of music are lame progressive rock or delightfully old school progressive rock, but I do believe they should qualify to fit in the genre.
 
I will readily concede that it is highly dependent upon the definition of the "rock music idiom".  But I don't think that is a bad thing.  Most people have an intuitive understanding and appreciation for rock music.  For those who struggle understanding the "rock music idiom", or for those who simply enjoy defining things, creating a definition for the "rock music idiom" could be another interesting endeavor!  (Even though specifically defining the "rock idiom" is beyond the scope of this post, I did indulge myself by throwing some ideas on the table.  Someone else surely can do a much better and more comprehensive job of it than I did.) 
 
In this post, I am content to establish that there is a "such thing" as a "rock music idiom" and that "progressive rock music" expands beyond its traditional limitations and constraints. 
 
Finally, when writing a paper for a class at school, one is provided a goal.  Most papers are intended to provide detailed information and/or exposition about a specific topic.  Sometimes the assignment is for the author to put forth a case and to then be persuasive.  A well written paper for school will be edited and re-written by the author a few times before finally getting "turned in".
 
But this post is not a scholastic article or a paper for a class at school.  It is merely an attempt to create a useful and generally informative definition for "progressive rock" that is as short and uncomplicated as possible.
 
Merriam Webster offers a definition of "book" as follows:  "a set of written, printed, or blank sheets bound together into a volume".
 
That would make a terrible "paper at school".  I think Merriam Webster would get far worse than a "C" if that was a paper for school.
 
Thanks again for your comments!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote progpositivity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 05 2010 at 17:34
Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

Originally posted by progpositivity progpositivity wrote:


By this definition, a rock song in 7/8 almost always will qualify as a “prog song”.  


Wow, you almost convinced me with that one. Over the years, I have heard many arguments on this but this must be the most convincing line of argument in favour of odd time signatures I have come across, simply that it is not common in rock music.  Hmm..., no, I consider odd time signatures too minor an element of music to consider a song that is a traditional rock song in all aspects but for being written in 7/8 to be prog.  Regardless, it does not affect your definition in any way and no more did I say that your definition would have to incorporate odd time signatures, for I am glad it does not. LOL  "Music that incorporates rock elements and goes beyond the traditional constraints of the genre" is fair enough.
 
 
I think we are very, very close to agreement. 
 
A good example could be The Cars song "Panorama".  It lives right there on the border line.  To the average rock listener, this song will sound curiously odd.  I think they did a great job with the 7/8 on it.  But is it "progressive rock"? 
 
Another example that might be easier for us to summarily dismiss would be Dionne Warwick's hit song "I Say a Little Prayer for You" (actually written by Burt Bacharach).  It has some 10/4 in the verse and 11/4 in the chorus.  I am always fascinated by how natural Bacharach made those subtle time changes.  For what it's worth, I tend to think that making an odd time signature sound natural is more challenging than making one that sounds ostentatious.  But that is another topic altogether I suppose.  The question of the day in this post is...  "Even so, is it progressive rock?"
 
The proposed definition provides a structural framework to guide the discussion while stopping short of "taking a side".  Does the song spring from (or incorporate elements from) the rock idiom, and does it stretch the boundaries that idiom or not?
 
At this moment, I think of the song in question as a rather clever piece of artistic pop.  It fits so tidily within all the rest of popular rock music's traditional boundaries - and it disguises its complex rhythmic structure so effectively - that one can certainly argue within the parameters of this definition that it is not prog.
 
Most of the time, however, I do think rock songs in odd time signatures will qualify as "progressive rock".  Not necessarily "good" progressive rock or particularly "inventive" progressive rock.  If any of them are still on the road running, I will say that the "Yugo" is a car.  That does not mean I am saying anything about it qualitatively!  Wink
 
I'll have to go check out Supersister's "To The Highest Bidder".  Thanks for the suggestion.  I'll let you know my thoughts after I let that song sink in for a while!  Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote progpositivity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 05 2010 at 18:33
Paravion, you bring up some interesting thoughts.  I'll put your words in <brackets> with each of my responses in a new paragraph.
 
<"Does a definition of prog has to be relative to rock?">
 
I believe a definition of "progressive music" does not have to relate to rock in any way shape or form.  But we are seeking to create a very succinct definition for "progressive rock".  My answer is "yes, a definition of progressive rock needs to have some relation to rock".
 
<"By asserting this, you may exclude non-rock prog acts like purely ambient and electronic muisc (e.g. Tangerine Dream)">
 
First I'd like to clarify that I do believe Tangerine Dream as well as most ambient and electronic artists creating music even today belong within the broad category of "Progressive Rock". 
 
Theoretically, however, I will answer yes, although I have no agenda to exclude non-rock prog acts from classification as "progressive rock", this definition does allow this to occur. 
 
For example.  If we start with a classical composer who decides to write electronic music - and this composer writes and releases the music in a matter unrelated to - independent from - the rock idiom, that music would not be considered "progressive rock" by this definition.
 
In actual practice, however, the rock music idiom has been so pervasive in popular music over the last half century, most electronic artists do spring from (and others incorporate elements from) it in their works.  So pragmatically speaking, virtually all electronic prog artists do get included.
 
<By introducing other music categories in a definition, these need to be defined as well.>
 
Actually, I only reference one music category within the definition, and it is "rock".  This is not an uncommon practice when defining a term like "progressive rock".
 
For an example from one of the biggest names in dictionaries, Merriam Webster.  They define "top hat" as follows:  "a tall-crowned hat usually of beaver or silk".  They are using the word "hat" in their definition of "top hat" just as I am using the world "rock" in my definition of "progressive rock".
 
<You also introduce rock's limitations and constraints in your definition, these are presumably disputable and not particularly clear.There is a general problem in defining words with words in that each word call for yet a definition and thus poses a problem of circularity. >
 
Every definition uses words to define other words.  And so this becomes an issue of semantics in general more than it is a unique problem with any one specific definition of the term 'progressive rock'. 
 
Definitions provide us a structural framework around which intelligent discussions can ensue.  This one is no different. 
 
It is true that this general definition of "progressive rock" is like a bus that carries us only a certain distance.  It "drops us off" at a "bus stop" named "the rock music idiom".  Just as Merriam Webster's definition of "top hat" delivers its reader to the word "hat".
 
Most people have a general concept of the "rock music idiom".  There will be much general agreement - but there will also be some differences.  To gain further clarity, we would need to then consult a definition of "rock music".  But for the purposes of having a succinct definition which conveys the concept of progressive rock, I believe it is better to not have this definition dive into an analysis of the rock music idiom. 
 
Interested students can always "dig deeper" to establish a definition of "rock music"!  That is a different thread that I would be intersted in reading!
 
Even an approach that seeks to provide a list of specific examples, historical contexts and laundry-lists of common elements will be comprised of words.  Any number of these words can become a topic of discussion and the subject of definition.  Indeed, such an approach, by using so many more words than a standard styled definition, can end up opening the door wider and wider to greater dissent and ambiguity.  I think we have seen this very thing happen with the long-form definitions of progressive rock. 
 
<This can be solved by either by attempting abstract logic definitions>
 
But the goals of this particular definition are elegance and ease of use.  Abstract logic and structured categories are inherently more wordy approaches which are more difficult to use in conversation.  (I'm not saying they are useless altogether.  Only that they are a different endeavor entirely.)
 
Let's face it.  We are proggers.  We tend to like it when things are complex.  Perhaps a few of us even would like there to be a certain enigmatic quality to the music we love.  Something that defies description!  Non-members must struggle to "figure it out" as we expound about sub-genre designations.
 
<Prog is a very complex category. Your definition implies that category membership is determined by absence or presence of discrete elements, all musical of character, and somewhat easily determinable.>
 
I have no problem pleading guilty to having sought to define a genre of music in musical terms.  To whatever extend this is possible, it is highly preferable. 
 
My proposal is that "progressive rock", at its heart, is not such a complicated concept after all.  Parsing out all of the precise details may become very complex, but a general definition does not need to be. Indeed, introducing more complexity into a definition than is needed can result in reduced clarity very rapidly.
 
But I would not go as far as to say that these elements are always "easily determinable".  They are subjectively determined and we will not always agree.  But in general, I think we could all have a lot more clarity regarding what it is we are disagreeing about!  Wink
 
<It's my view...category membership is determined by a lot of diverse factors, which are all dependant on and resides within the determiner's conceptual system - and thus, it's inevitably a very subjective matter what is and is not prog.>     
 
It would therefore appear to me, that in your view, there is no way for us all to share a definition of progressive rock, because we all have  different supersets full of our own diverse factors, each weighted differently. 
 
I still think it is expedient, however, to have a succint description which effectively conveys the overall idea.
 
Thanks for your feedback!


Edited by progpositivity - November 05 2010 at 19:02
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paravion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2010 at 08:36
^
Thanks for your detailed reply. 

I'd like to dwell on some nitty-gritty details though. 

About "Rock music idiom" you write "Most people have an intuitive understanding and appreciation for rock music". (I've never head or read anything about a "rock music idiom" before.) This assumption justifies that rock serves as a frame of reference in your definition, because everyone knows what rock is?

Maybe. But I don't like the term for the obvious reason that it, for the semanticist (me in a couple of years, hopefully), is difficult to ascribe idiom-status to the music category 'rock'. An idiom is a sequence of words, where the words don't mean what they usually mean, e.g. "kick the bucket" doesn't describe a situation where someone kicks a bucket (maybe, except if one actually does kick a bucket), but rather it describes a situation where someone dies - thus an idiom. Extending this 'fact' to rock would imply that rock, in order to have idiom-status, doesn't mean rock the way it usually does. Also, one-word idioms are hard to conceive of. You may use another sense of idiom, than I do, if that is so, then there are problems of ambiquity that shouldn't occur in a definition. Anyway, you seem to work with a concept of rock that you suppose to a large extend is shared among speakers of English - and that it, as a category, has basic-level status just as 'hat' has in the dictionary example you provide. That's a somewhat valid assumption, nevertheless.  

Quote <Prog is a very complex category. Your definition implies that category membership is determined by absence or presence of discrete elements, all musical of character, and somewhat easily determinable.>
 
I have no problem pleading guilty to having sought to define a genre of music in musical terms.  To whatever extend this is possible, it is highly preferable. 
 
My proposal is that "progressive rock", at its heart, is not such a complicated concept after all.  Parsing out all of the precise details may become very complex, but a general definition does not need to be. Indeed, introducing more complexity into a definition than is needed can result in reduced clarity very rapidly.
 
But I would not go as far as to say that these elements are always "easily determinable".  They are subjectively determined and we will not always agree.  But in general, I think we could all have a lot more clarity regarding what it is we are disagreeing about!  

I feel somewhat misunderstod. I'd like you to reconsider what I mean by prog being a complex category.
I've not been totally clear, and I'd like to rename complex category to abstract category. Prog is abstract in the sense that it doesn't refer to an entity in a three-dimensional space. This makes it difficult to form a mental image of 'prog' in the same way you easily do with 'hat'. Hat is a concrete category, an entity in a three-dimensional space. That's why I called prog a complex category. Complexity also has to do with prog's status in taxonomies of music. Taxonomies are hierarchical structures of categories in some domain. In a taxonomy of concrete categories there is a level that semanticists call "basic-level categories". For example, take this simplified taxonomy of clothing:

CLOTHING
   |
dress ------ hat         (Basic Level)
   |                   |
miniskirt    top-hat

Basic level categories are those highest in the hierarchy you can easily form a mental of. It's difficult to form a mental image of clothing (without descending in levels), easy with hat and dress, and more detailed (and appealing) in the case of miniskirt.   (not sure whether miniskirt is a subcategory of dress, but let's assume)

Returning to your definition, I read it as though you assume rock is basic level and that prog is its subcategory. I don't think taxonomies are well suited for abstract categories. Prog is relative to many domains and has a place in many conceptual 'taxonomies', and a conception of prog - it's my view - can easily be independant of rock. Even though, for many reasons, and in many respects, your definition suffices. I just don't like the idea of art being defined - "I love its holy mystery"


Edited by Paravion - November 06 2010 at 08:53
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ExittheLemming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2010 at 09:30
Originally posted by Paravion Paravion wrote:

^
Thanks for your detailed reply. 

I'd like to dwell on some nitty-gritty details though. 

About "Rock music idiom" you write "Most people have an intuitive understanding and appreciation for rock music". (I've never head or read anything about a "rock music idiom" before.) This assumption justifies that rock serves as a frame of reference in your definition, because everyone knows what rock is?

Maybe. But I don't like the term for the obvious reason that it, for the semanticist (me in a couple of years, hopefully), is difficult to ascribe idiom-status to the music category 'rock'. An idiom is a sequence of words, where the words don't mean what they usually mean, e.g. "kick the bucket" doesn't describe a situation where someone kicks a bucket (maybe, except if one actually does kick a bucket), but rather it describes a situation where someone dies - thus an idiom. Extending this 'fact' to rock would imply that rock, in order to have idiom-status, doesn't mean rock the way it usually does. Also, one-word idioms are hard to conceive of. You may use another sense of idiom, than I do, if that is so, then there are problems of ambiquity that shouldn't occur in a definition. Anyway, you seem to work with a concept of rock that you suppose to a large extend is shared among speakers of English - and that it, as a category, has basic-level status just as 'hat' has in the dictionary example you provide. That's a somewhat valid assumption, nevertheless.  

Quote <Prog is a very complex category. Your definition implies that category membership is determined by absence or presence of discrete elements, all musical of character, and somewhat easily determinable.>
 
I have no problem pleading guilty to having sought to define a genre of music in musical terms.  To whatever extend this is possible, it is highly preferable. 
 
My proposal is that "progressive rock", at its heart, is not such a complicated concept after all.  Parsing out all of the precise details may become very complex, but a general definition does not need to be. Indeed, introducing more complexity into a definition than is needed can result in reduced clarity very rapidly.
 
But I would not go as far as to say that these elements are always "easily determinable".  They are subjectively determined and we will not always agree.  But in general, I think we could all have a lot more clarity regarding what it is we are disagreeing about!  

I feel somewhat misunderstod. I'd like you to reconsider what I mean by prog being a complex category.
I've not been totally clear, and I'd like to rename complex category to abstract category. Prog is abstract in the sense that it doesn't refer to an entity in a three-dimensional space. This makes it difficult to form a mental image of 'prog' in the same way you easily do with 'hat'. Hat is a concrete category, an entity in a three-dimensional space. That's why I called prog a complex category. Complexity also has to do with prog's status in taxonomies of music. Taxonomies are hierarchical structures of categories in some domain. In a taxonomy of concrete categories there is a level that semanticists call "basic-level categories". For example, take this simplified taxonomy of clothing:

CLOTHING
   |
dress ------ hat         (Basic Level)
   |                   |
miniskirt    top-hat

Basic level categories are those highest in the hierarchy you can easily form a mental of. It's difficult to form a mental image of clothing (without descending in levels), easy with hat and dress, and more detailed (and appealing) in the case of miniskirt.   (not sure whether miniskirt is a subcategory of dress, but let's assume)

Returning to your definition, I read it as though you assume rock is basic level and that prog is its subcategory. I don't think taxonomies are well suited for abstract categories. Prog is relative to many domains and has a place in many conceptual 'taxonomies', and a conception of prog - it's my view - can easily be independant of rock. Even though, for many reasons, and in many respects, your definition suffices. I just don't like the idea of art being defined - "I love its holy mystery"


Very interesting post which I can't pretend I understand in full but:

Although your tongue is clearly in your cheek when you say (and appealing) in the case of miniskirt, does this imply that our mental image of a concrete category can be completely divorced from it's function i.e. no-one imagines a short dress hanging unoccupied in a rack when they see the words 'mini skirt' :
we immediately see what the garment is not (what it is designed to reveal)

Hope that makes sense and sorry for both flying off on a tangent  and the ladies in our midstEmbarrassed
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2010 at 10:50
Originally posted by progpositivity progpositivity wrote:

 
Most of the time, however, I do think rock songs in odd time signatures will qualify as "progressive rock". 


I have technical metal specifically in mind. Apart from odd time signatures, some technical metal may share NO other characteristics of prog rock. However, this leads to another question. The way you have defined it, would such music come under the purview of progressive rock?  Yes. Come to think of it, I don't even think there's anything particularly wrong with that, because the distinction between technical and progressive metal is often blurred and incidental. Instead of having an illusory wall between the two, we could probably lump all of it in the prog basket.
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