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Topic ClosedSeeking a more elegant definition for Prog

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moshkito View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 23 2010 at 18:35
Originally posted by progpositivity progpositivity wrote:

 
The primary stated purpose of this thread was to craft a functional definition for a genre.  Therefore, by its very nature, it will deal with general characteristics and what you call "styles". 
... 
 
Here's a quetionnaire for you ... so you can see if you like "styles" instead of being accepted as a "person".
 
1. Are you white?
2. Are you catholic?
3. Are you black?
4. Are you a Democrat?
5. Are you one of them progressivists?
 
Now stop for a minute ... you don't have to answer ...
 
The point is, if we're in it because of the music, it won't matter these answers. But if you are into it because you are a catholic, or a democrat or whatever, that is the same thing as a "style" ... it doesn't make the music "inferior" in general, but it will limit your ability to relate to a lot more of what is available for you.
 
And when your definition is similar to this by saying that something is like this or comes from this, you are missing the most important part of it all ... that was not in the questions ... you are a human that loves some music and it varies which ... some tend to follow this ability ... but a "style" is NOT EVER an ability ... and you have to decide if your definition is about "style" or "substance" ... which is the part that is missing for me in your definition as you confuse both of them.
 
It doesn't matter to me that Deuter professes his music to the Rajneeshi ... it's wonderful music. It doesn't matter to me that Ozzie quotes Aleister ... there still is excellent music defined in there regardless of wether you call it prog or metal ... it doesn't matter to me that someone says they are agnostic ... and their music shines and we love it here ...
 
It's different if you refer it to a specific musical reference, but you are refering it to something that is vapid, has no definition and is "assumed" to mean something ... that as you can see in this thread, none of us is interested in defining it ... and no one can have a concensus for anything including our dam cups of tea ...
 
If you are going to "define" music ... do so as MUSIC ... not some ideal. And for that you can not use "rock genre" as a reference because it's like saying that all rock musicians are the same ... and that is not true since progressive came around ... their point was? ... the rock genre was boring! ... so why are you even referring to it?
 
It's not hard to spell all this out ... but your definition has to be bigger and better than your ideas ... and the minute you do that ... you will have accomplished something major ... until then, it will be nothing but ideas mired in more ideas. How convenient for the sake of argument but if you ever take a course in logic, you will then see your error. And the error is your source!  The result is worth the effort, but if the source is faulty or shifts around, your result ... falls off the cliff and dies.
 
THAT is not what you or I want!
... 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: November 25 2010 at 16:32
Originally posted by moshkito moshkito wrote:

Originally posted by progpositivity progpositivity wrote:

 
The primary stated purpose of this thread was to craft a functional definition for a genre.  Therefore, by its very nature, it will deal with general characteristics and what you call "styles". 
... 
 
Here's a quetionnaire for you ... so you can see if you like "styles" instead of being accepted as a "person".
 
1. Are you white?
2. Are you catholic?
3. Are you black?
4. Are you a Democrat?
5. Are you one of them progressivists?
 
Now stop for a minute ... you don't have to answer ...
 
The point is, if we're in it because of the music, it won't matter these answers. But if you are into it because you are a catholic, or a democrat or whatever, that is the same thing as a "style" ... it doesn't make the music "inferior" in general, but it will limit your ability to relate to a lot more of what is available for you.
 
And when your definition is similar to this by saying that something is like this or comes from this, you are missing the most important part of it all ... that was not in the questions ... you are a human that loves some music and it varies which ... some tend to follow this ability ... but a "style" is NOT EVER an ability ... and you have to decide if your definition is about "style" or "substance" ... which is the part that is missing for me in your definition as you confuse both of them.
 
It doesn't matter to me that Deuter professes his music to the Rajneeshi ... it's wonderful music. It doesn't matter to me that Ozzie quotes Aleister ... there still is excellent music defined in there regardless of wether you call it prog or metal ... it doesn't matter to me that someone says they are agnostic ... and their music shines and we love it here ...
 
It's different if you refer it to a specific musical reference, but you are refering it to something that is vapid, has no definition and is "assumed" to mean something ... that as you can see in this thread, none of us is interested in defining it ... and no one can have a concensus for anything including our dam cups of tea ...
 
If you are going to "define" music ... do so as MUSIC ... not some ideal. And for that you can not use "rock genre" as a reference because it's like saying that all rock musicians are the same ... and that is not true since progressive came around ... their point was? ... the rock genre was boring! ... so why are you even referring to it?
 
It's not hard to spell all this out ... but your definition has to be bigger and better than your ideas ... and the minute you do that ... you will have accomplished something major ... until then, it will be nothing but ideas mired in more ideas. How convenient for the sake of argument but if you ever take a course in logic, you will then see your error. And the error is your source!  The result is worth the effort, but if the source is faulty or shifts around, your result ... falls off the cliff and dies.
 
THAT is not what you or I want!

You make invalid inferences and misunderstand or disregard progpositivity's intentions. But in a sense I agree - at least insofar as I understand your post as primarily claiming that  'music' essentially and ideally should be independent of notions of styles - which merely are convenient constructs reducing what you call 'substance' to empty category labels that should not play a part in a definition.

Music is hard to grasp  - and appreciation of it cannot be facilitated by using words - I think we all agree.

For me, this thread has been about meaning and categorization and not discovery of some essence of prog to be communicated through a dictionary-type definition.

One way at looking at it suggest that prog is meaningless. The word doesn't contain some inherent specifications or characteristics - and certainly not requirements that some instance of music has to have in order to be prog. The word itself has no describing force that can reveal anything about what is common to music called prog  It's just an arbitrary category-label. Prog is just a four letter word. This view will shoot down any attempt at a definition.

One might object and say that surely I mean something when I say "I love prog" - namely that I love a certain kind of music. And supposing the person talked to also has formed a conception of prog and says "I do too". That would be an example of a meaningful exchange of linguistic expressions.    

Both views are equally true. What should be kept in mind is that meaning is context-dependent and dependant on conceptualization  - it resides in speech situations and in the minds of the speaker and addressee exclusively. Prog is not some entity objectively out there in the world that is independent of how we happen to conceptualize it or construe it in actual speech situations. This is one of the sources of difficulty in defining it.

The above characterization is so genral that it applies not only to prog, but to meaning of lexical items in general. Another source of difficulty is the highly abstract, 'schematic' and non-specific character of prog. It can refer to an open-ended set of instances of music that don't necessarily share properties and which can vary according to an equally open-ended set of parameters - this doesn't make a definition easier. The question is not "what is common to all music called prog?" But rather "what is a good example of a typical prog record?".
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 26 2010 at 16:08
Originally posted by Paravion Paravion wrote:

 
One way at looking at it suggest that prog is meaningless. The word doesn't contain some inherent specifications or characteristics - and certainly not requirements that some instance of music has to have in order to be prog. The word itself has no describing force that can reveal anything about what is common to music called prog  It's just an arbitrary category-label. Prog is just a four letter word. This view will shoot down any attempt at a definition.
 
 
I would prefer to say that the wording is what is causing the issues, not the music itself.
 
You and I can not deny the music ... it is there!
 
The problem is coming up with a set of letters and words that defines it better ... and my new way ot explaining it is like this ... that definition has to have "past, present and future" ... and I'm concerned that a definition could become the inhibiting factor that also helped create "progressive music" in the first place ... people were tired of the same thing and wanted to do something different. Do you really think that Syd Barrett did what he did because he didn't give a cahoot or poop about anything else? Do you really think that Jimi did what he did because he didn't give a dam?
 
In the end, music is always progressive ... and sometimes a revolt of what was there before.
 
I think we're on the same page but using different languages. The semantics can be difficult here, but as I mentioned before, do not use a "generality" to define something "specific" ... which is what I'm concerned about. That makes it a bad definition that is off base.
 
Quote Both views are equally true. What should be kept in mind is that meaning is context-dependent and dependant on conceptualization  - it resides in speech situations and in the minds of the speaker and addressee exclusively.
 
I think the real issue is clarifying the concept in the person that is writing it, rather than assume that the definition is something real outside of that person.
 
But, as mentioned before, the problem is someone using something that is not even a concept ... it's a very bad generalization ... ("rock genre") ... and expect some intelligently musical and educated people to accept the terminology and find it challenging to their imagination ... in the end, you are alienating the very group ... because our definition has no basis in reality .. only has basis in an idea ... that is so vague as to be almost totally silly and off kilter to our own discussion.
 
Quote   The question is not "what is common to all music called prog?" But rather "what is a good example of a typical prog record?".
 
Absolutely ... so tell me that KC's album has influences from the rock genre, jazz and experimental music ... and then try to get me or others to go listen to it! We said nothing about the album at all! Just about all the music we listen to does! That is my point ... the generic term helps kill the very example that we're trying to arrive at.
 
"If it said music that includes elements from  "rock", "jazz", "avant-garde", "classical" and many other styles of music combined to create something else ... I think we would be much closer to the truth ... than otherwise.
 
 
... 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: November 26 2010 at 17:31
Originally posted by moshkito moshkito wrote:

 
Here's a quetionnaire for you ... so you can see if you like "styles" instead of being accepted as a "person".
 
1. Are you white?
2. Are you catholic?
3. Are you black?
4. Are you a Democrat?
5. Are you one of them progressivists?
 
Now stop for a minute ... you don't have to answer ...
 

For some reason I am feeling the need to stand and radiate correctly.  I mean, what you think I bought that car for anyway?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 10 2011 at 09:25
I personally like the term 'Progressive Rock', though it seems to lose something when it's abbreviated to 'Prog'. Maybe 'Inventive Rock' would be a better caption? Though I dread to think what abbreviations would come into play (sic!) for that.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 10 2011 at 10:23
Originally posted by JeanFrame JeanFrame wrote:

I personally like the term 'Progressive Rock', though it seems to lose something when it's abbreviated to 'Prog'. Maybe 'Inventive Rock' would be a better caption? Though I dread to think what abbreviations would come into play (sic!) for that.

Music is always "inventive" in a way.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 10 2011 at 10:33
Originally posted by HarbouringTheSoul HarbouringTheSoul wrote:

Originally posted by JeanFrame JeanFrame wrote:

I personally like the term 'Progressive Rock', though it seems to lose something when it's abbreviated to 'Prog'. Maybe 'Inventive Rock' would be a better caption? Though I dread to think what abbreviations would come into play (sic!) for that.

Music is always "inventive" in a way.


Always? I think you've left yourself wide open there for some interesting quotes about exactly what 'inventive' is or isn't.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 10 2011 at 11:33
expressionistic rock
 
/thread
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 10 2011 at 17:06
I haven't yet followed through on using this in a rating system to "measure" the proggieness of a band or album, but I came up with a brief list of specific song features that errs on the side of exclusivity (symptoms of a proggie album?).  I even imagined a scoring system I could use to give an album a score and then see whether this system would predict the category the album or band would receive in Prog Archives:
 
1.  Instrumental chorus: instead of a vocal chorus something that might sound like an instrumental bridge but is the center of a song in the way that a chorus is
 
2.  Extended passages of a linearly progressing series of musical ideas (like Genesis' The Cinema Show or Wagner's Siegfried's Rhine Journey) or a building of voices (like Ravel's Bolero or Yes' Starship Trooper)
 
3.  Linear lyrical content without a separate, repeated vocal chorus


Edited by sealchan - February 10 2011 at 17:09
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 11 2011 at 01:40
Originally posted by JeanFrame JeanFrame wrote:

Originally posted by HarbouringTheSoul HarbouringTheSoul wrote:

Originally posted by JeanFrame JeanFrame wrote:

I personally like the term 'Progressive Rock', though it seems to lose something when it's abbreviated to 'Prog'. Maybe 'Inventive Rock' would be a better caption? Though I dread to think what abbreviations would come into play (sic!) for that.

Music is always "inventive" in a way.


Always? I think you've left yourself wide open there for some interesting quotes about exactly what 'inventive' is or isn't.

Everything that "invents" something is "inventive": Unless you steal everything, any song you might write is inventive in a way.

Originally posted by aginor aginor wrote:

expressionistic rock

You do know what expressionism is, right?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 11 2011 at 19:40
It is not exactly "elegant," but here is the definition I use:
 
"Progressive rock” is a mindset, a conscious and deliberate approach to writing rock music based on certain elements, which usually include some or all of the following: incorporation of Western (classical, jazz et al), Eastern (Indian, Middle Eastern et al) and/or “world” (African, Latin et al) influences; use of non-standard (for rock) chord progressions; use of odd and/or shifting time signatures; use of non-standard instrumentation (from sax, flute or violin to sitar, bagpipes or African percussion); an “orchestral” (i.e., “scored”) approach to arrangement; extended compositions, often including extended instrumental passages; virtuoso musicianship, often including extended solos; lyrics that tend toward the esoteric or “fantastical” and/or include numerous “literary” references; and the use of keyboards (Mellotron, synthesizers, etc.) and the recording studio itself to create effects, “textures” and “atmospheres.”
 
Peace.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 12 2011 at 10:00
Originally posted by maani maani wrote:

It is not exactly "elegant," but here is the definition I use:
 
"Progressive rock” is a mindset, a conscious and deliberate approach to writing rock music based on certain elements, which usually include some or all of the following: incorporation of Western (classical, jazz et al), Eastern (Indian, Middle Eastern et al) and/or “world” (African, Latin et al) influences; use of non-standard (for rock) chord progressions; use of odd and/or shifting time signatures; use of non-standard instrumentation (from sax, flute or violin to sitar, bagpipes or African percussion); an “orchestral” (i.e., “scored”) approach to arrangement; extended compositions, often including extended instrumental passages; virtuoso musicianship, often including extended solos; lyrics that tend toward the esoteric or “fantastical” and/or include numerous “literary” references; and the use of keyboards (Mellotron, synthesizers, etc.) and the recording studio itself to create effects, “textures” and “atmospheres.”
 
Peace.

This is a great one but a song can have any and all of these and not even be prog. I think some people are missing the point that it's an intended approach and a prog artist can put something out that is meant to be progressive using those things, but isn't.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 12 2011 at 17:02
Originally posted by maani maani wrote:

It is not exactly "elegant," but here is the definition I use:
 
"Progressive rock” is a mindset, a conscious and deliberate approach to writing rock music based on certain elements, which usually include some or all of the following: incorporation of Western (classical, jazz et al), Eastern (Indian, Middle Eastern et al) and/or “world” (African, Latin et al) influences; use of non-standard (for rock) chord progressions; use of odd and/or shifting time signatures; use of non-standard instrumentation (from sax, flute or violin to sitar, bagpipes or African percussion); an “orchestral” (i.e., “scored”) approach to arrangement; extended compositions, often including extended instrumental passages; virtuoso musicianship, often including extended solos; lyrics that tend toward the esoteric or “fantastical” and/or include numerous “literary” references; and the use of keyboards (Mellotron, synthesizers, etc.) and the recording studio itself to create effects, “textures” and “atmospheres.”
 
Peace.

This comes quite close to my opinion. I would like to add:
- (mostly) approach to build the song like a structured mini-composition, consisting of a beginning/intro, one or more middle parts and an ending/finale, similar to some of the classical compositons
- often polyphonic use of voice and instruments, vocals are treated as one instrument among others
- often use of counterpoint in the melodic composition
- often extreme change of dynamics
- change of rhythm/time within the song
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 13 2011 at 19:05
mmmreesecups:
 
Can you give me an example of a composition that would include most or all of the elements I list, and not be prog?  Just curious.
 
Fromentera Lady:
 
Thanks.  Re your first bullet, I do note "an orchestral (scored) approach to arrangement."  But you define that very nicely.
 
Re your others, I agree, and am most surprised that I forgot to mention changes in dynamics!  Thanks for that heads-up.  Mind if I add it without ascription?  LOL.
 
Peace.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2017 at 14:59
I realize this is an ancient thread but I'd like to defend the use of the word "idiom" in my definition of "Progressive Rock".
 
The initial objection was that an 'idiom' refers to a phrase of words and not to music or art. 
 
Actually, 'idiom' does have a denotative application in art and music in particular.  Although the primary usage of the word 'idiom' has to do with words and phrases, there is a documented usage of the term that applies to music.
 
Check out definition #5 from dictionary dot com's definition of 'idiom'.
#5.         a distinct style or character, in music, art, etc.: the idiom of Bach.
 
Therefore, to allude to the 'idiom' of 'rock music' is an appropriate usage of the word 'idiom'.
 

Progressive Rock:  

Music springing from or incorporating elements from the rock idiom

in which the writer or performer seeks to expand beyond the genre's traditional musical limitations and constraints.

Positively the best Prog and Fusion 24/7!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2017 at 16:15
In response to the suggestion that the proposed definition of Progressive Rock is "circular" because it includes a reference to "rock music", my defense is two-fold. 
 
#1 To acknowledge that an understanding of the term "Progressive Rock" is formed conceptually based upon the premise of music both associating with while also seeking to grow beyond the typical boundaries and/or expectations of the "rock music idiom" is not circular because "Progressive Rock" is something totally different from "the rock music idiom".  They both have the word "rock" in them but they are not the same thing at all. 
 
Admittedly, this definition acknowledges that in order to form a personal opinion about whether or not a piece of music is "Progressive Rock", one will need to have a functional concept (or working definition) for the typical boundaries and/or expectations of the rock music idiom.
 
Which brings me to defense point #2... I didn't side-step that subjective battlefield.  I have offered my own proposed functional definition of the "rock music idiom".  It may need improvement but I did at least do my best to quantify it in the initial post.
 

Rock Music:  A popular form of music usually written in a 4/4 time signature with a very strong backbeat on the 2nd and 4th beats.  It is performed by small groups, most often using electric guitar, acoustic guitar, electric bass guitar, drums, and sometimes keyboard instruments.  Rock songs usually feature vocals, and a simple verse/chorus/bridge structure. 

 

Progressive Rock:  

Music springing from or incorporating elements from the rock idiom

in which the writer or performer seeks to expand beyond the genre's traditional musical limitations and constraints.



Edited by progpositivity - November 21 2017 at 16:37
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 22 2017 at 05:05
Progressive Rock:
Music that needs to be listened to lying down (supine), closed eyes  (limiting other sensory 'noise') and with you paying attention to the composers intentions.
Play me my song.....Here it comes again.......
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 23 2017 at 23:35
I am personally in favor of a new category, "prog porn."  
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 24 2017 at 12:28
Originally posted by cstack3 cstack3 wrote:

I am personally in favor of a new category, "prog porn."  


Is that what Game Of Thrones is?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 10 2017 at 15:44
Prog: Tracks with more than three chords
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