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The Meaning of Prog

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friso View Drop Down
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    Posted: February 24 2011 at 13:45
This is my first try to write a blog, so I hope you will like it. My English isn't perfect.

Thursday-morning; I wake up at 06:45. Quickly I get dressed, I eat something, gather my stuff and lock the door behind me as I live around 07:15. All are trivial matters, but then the first moment to break the daily happenings arrives. I put my headphone (which also functions as ear-warmer) on and I put on my mp3 player. I dislike my mp3 player, because it's quality is nowhere near my stereo playing nicely cleaned vinyls. Still, on this early moment of the morning it gives me an opportunity to choose. The city, the bus, the train, the fields, the stations - non of these things interested me too much (except with abnormal weather). Furthermore, I can't choose for what I see an how I travel - no - it's the music that reflects my inner world. Of course, an assortment of progressive rock albums is digitally available on my mp3-player.

Magma? Perhaps a bit to heavy for 07:15 in the morning. Arena? Listened tot that quite a lot already. Van der Graaf Generator? Mwah.. should listen to it on a vinyl when I get home, otherwise I would one day forget their brutal seventies sound. Perhaps I just should try Magma's K.A. again, didn't quite understand the 'hallelujah' ending-section the last time I listened to it.

The faces of the Dutch working class are strait or tired, they can't even imagine what I'm listening right now in this train that now crosses the big bridge near Nijmegen - giving us a tempting look at the red sun rising. Delusions of grandeur, or just mystifying music. There are lot of ways to interpret Zeuhl it's haunting vocals, it's terrifying bass-lines and above all it's unconventional rhythm-section. What is it that made me pick this album? Escapism? I don't want to join the tired looking crowd boarding and leaving the trains; this time can be spend discovering new worlds. All music with depth and atmosphere is like a short vacation for me, it takes me somewhere (albeit the technical parts of my brain).

Now it's time for me to leave the train and start my ten minute walk through the semi-forrest with lot's of small buildings. I work at a big terrain of the Dutch mental health institution - I'm learning to become music therapist and have to a practice period for a year (four days a week) with real professionals. I work with forensic psychiatric patients, traumatized asylum-seekers and older psychiatric patients. I've learned a lot about the importance of music and how it can be used to help people cope with problems or the even solve them.

Making music (improvising, singing/writing songs) is very personal. Through the way clients improvise on any given instrument I can get to know them. I can help client with their musical wishes, but I can also invite them in trying new behavior. First in the music (for instance: learning to socially function in a group of people), then without music. Music also has a representative nature. Knowing this, it's possible to let clients improvise with personal themes so they can deal with these matters in a safe environment. Often it's interesting to get to know the clients musical taste; it tells a lot about them. If so - my musical taste must probably tell a lot about me..

Magma reflects my search for a deeper understanding of the universe (I love doc's about the cosmos, social developments, etc.). Van der Graaf Generator uncovers my wish to show my emotions in a extrovert way, and the lyrics also deal with some existential themes. King Crimson reveals my urge for innovation and thinking out of the box. Also I love to think about abstract matters, and the word 'abstract' is well put to music by King Crimson.

As soon as music is released it's artistic cause is completely stolen from it's creator. We interpret what it means to us, we tell each other what it is about, we tell which emotions it represents. We tell why it should be there in our lives. We give it a meaning, and in a way - it gives meaning to us. We all have music that we accept as representative for certain aspects of ourselves. We often feel touched (or 'seen') by music, accepted by it, invited by it. Prog has a lot offer, for it has so many dimensions, sub-styles, philosophical lyrics, concepts, ideals. Some have argued that it's far away from the common man - may be so - but it's often close to such distinctive aspects of ourselves that it can suddenly become very personal. And by the way; ever met some-one who thinks of himself as a common man?

At 17:00 I go back home. Same train, different direction. No rising sun, I now witness the sunset. I've dealt with a lot of musical wishes of clients (my own musical wishes should not be apparent during music therapy, unless when asked for). Now it's time for me again. Back home the diamond needle is quickly summoned to lower its position in order to touch one of my precious vinyls, now smoothly turning round 33 times in every minute. In the Wake of Poseidon - I reinvent myself and wake up in my student chamber. Before I forget, let's listen to some Van der Graaf Generator as well. I decide to take a look at PA.. hey.. why shouldn't I myself write a blog?

Edited by friso - February 24 2011 at 13:59
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paravion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2011 at 06:02
Except from the part involving judgements about the imaginative capabilities of the Dutch working class it's a nice story. You seem to have a very interesting job.

Meaning is my favourite subject - I may look at it from the other side of the looking-glass - an outlook where headlines like "the meaning of prog" is met with a huge amount of scepticism due to many years of confusion provided by semiotics and linguistics. 

In order to discover 'the meaning of prog' one needs to consider the age-old problem of the meaning of meaning which isn't solved and isn't anywhere near being solved. 
While I in large parts agree that
"As soon as music is released it's artistic cause is completely stolen from it's creator. We interpret what it means to us, we tell each other what it is about, we tell which emotions it represents. We tell why it should be there in our lives. We give it a meaning, and in a way - it gives meaning to us. We all have music that we accept as representative for certain aspects of ourselves. We often feel touched (or 'seen') by music, accepted by it, invited by it."
I wouldn't equate it with meaning. It's a giant leap to go from personal experience and evaluation triggered by some stimulus and elevate it as its meaning. The rational capability that allows one to find (or make up) meaning is first of all limited, and in order for one's quest for the meaning of prog to suceed, it will have to be more than what one happens to interpret it to be because such interpretations are very personal, perhaps ideosycratic and is most likely due to a lot of factors besides the music itself. Meaning is not a private affair. Why not care less about deducting 'meaning' and make interpretations and just enjoy the experience?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rune2000 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2011 at 09:38
Thanks for giving us a glimps at your everyday life and thoughts!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bonnek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2011 at 16:20

Nice reflections Friso, fascinating area of expertise you studied for.

If we can do requests, I'd wish to hear more about the vinyl experience,
I have some fond memories of vinyls but that's more nostalgia then anything else.
In the beginning of the CD they mostly sounded awful (the first CDs of "In the Court of the Crimson King" and "Pawn Heart" were pure horror).
But CDs masters gradually improved, although sometimes they are still problematic (such as the latest Genesis remasters = horror of otherworldly dimensions).

Anyway, I completely ignore my vinyls now as the good CD masters sound better for me.
What makes them the big thing for you?


Edited by Bonnek - February 25 2011 at 16:57
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote friso Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 26 2011 at 02:21
Well there are two kinds of reasons to listen to vinyls

Objective Reasons
1. A lot of '60 and '70 records are mastered insufficient, even to this day. Symptoms are loss depth, loss of high, loss of volume in silent passages and way to high bass. Vinyls have more peaks in sound and albums like for instance In the Weak of Poseidon are just totally different (and flat) when listening to a cd.
2. I'm a student and I can't afford to buy all this music on a cd. A lot of vinyls in my collection of 'prog classics' have cost me less then 5 euro. Moreover, there are people giving away their collections for nothing.

Subjective reasons
1. Vinyl sound in general is perceived as warmer by it's listeners.
2. The artwork works better when printed bigger
3. Seeing = hearing, it's way more interesting to look at then a closed cd-player
4. The magic of 'old records'; where did they come from, who listened to it before..? I never grew up with vinyls and for me it's like ancient Egypt in a way (especially due to the psychedelic covers)
5. It hip these days (worst reason so far..)
6. The vinyl collecting world; I love looking on fairs and second hand vinyl shops. You never know what you'll find this time, it's good to have a big wishlist in order to recognize the valuable music. Furthermore, you develop a sense of what most records are worth these days, some can get quite expensive. For instance; one shouldn't hope to find Supersister for less then 20 euro. The record collectors themselves often are self-centered middle aged men, but some are really nice and they love to hear a student talk about collecting seventies prog.   

..have to go now...

Edited by friso - February 26 2011 at 04:15
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2011 at 16:33
Originally posted by friso friso wrote:

Well there are two kinds of reasons to listen to vinyls

Objective Reasons
 
 
And you left behind the most obvious, and important reason of all ...
 
IT WAS WHAT THERE WAS AT THE TIME ... YOU HAD NO CHOICE!
 
The rest is not important and is a discussion about nuts and fruits! And when to eat each of them! ... more on this later as I digest this ... the only thing missing here is the quotidian part of your study ... you are comparing today's ears with yesterday's senses, and vice versa, and you can only do that in Science Fiction and in the Academic World ... since it can't happen otherwise ... I'm sure you have heard of something called ..."Time" ... and it isn't a song!
... none of the hits, none of the time ... you will, eventually, find your own art inside! Try it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Snow Dog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2011 at 16:42
Originally posted by moshkito moshkito wrote:

Originally posted by friso friso wrote:

Well there are two kinds of reasons to listen to vinyls

Objective Reasons
 
 
And you left behind the most obvious, and important reason of all ...
 
IT WAS WHAT THERE WAS AT THE TIME ... YOU HAD NO CHOICE!
 
The rest is not important and is a discussion about nuts and fruits! And when to eat each of them! ... more on this later as I digest this ... the only thing missing here is the quotidian part of your study ... you are comparing today's ears with yesterday's senses, and vice versa, and you can only do that in Science Fiction and in the Academic World ... since it can't happen otherwise ... I'm sure you have heard of something called ..."Time" ... and it isn't a song!

He isn't living then...he is living now So this observation is inexplicable.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2011 at 19:07
Originally posted by Snow Dog Snow Dog wrote:

Originally posted by moshkito moshkito wrote:

Originally posted by friso friso wrote:

Well there are two kinds of reasons to listen to vinyls

Objective Reasons
 
 
And you left behind the most obvious, and important reason of all ...
 
IT WAS WHAT THERE WAS AT THE TIME ... YOU HAD NO CHOICE!
 
The rest is not important and is a discussion about nuts and fruits! And when to eat each of them! ... more on this later as I digest this ... the only thing missing here is the quotidian part of your study ... you are comparing today's ears with yesterday's senses, and vice versa, and you can only do that in Science Fiction and in the Academic World ... since it can't happen otherwise ... I'm sure you have heard of something called ..."Time" ... and it isn't a song!

He isn't living then...he is living now So this observation is inexplicable.
 
And the whole thing is ... science fiction!
 
We need to make a movie! We could make Dune look bad!
... none of the hits, none of the time ... you will, eventually, find your own art inside! Try it!
www.pedrosena.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote friso Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 01 2011 at 00:05
Buying music on vinyl has always been a choise for me, I'm born in 1988. I must admit I didn't really understand your point there Moshkito.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote thehallway Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 01 2011 at 04:31
Originally posted by moshkito moshkito wrote:

Originally posted by Snow Dog Snow Dog wrote:

Originally posted by moshkito moshkito wrote:

Originally posted by friso friso wrote:

Well there are two kinds of reasons to listen to vinyls

Objective Reasons
 
 
And you left behind the most obvious, and important reason of all ...
 
IT WAS WHAT THERE WAS AT THE TIME ... YOU HAD NO CHOICE!
 
The rest is not important and is a discussion about nuts and fruits! And when to eat each of them! ... more on this later as I digest this ... the only thing missing here is the quotidian part of your study ... you are comparing today's ears with yesterday's senses, and vice versa, and you can only do that in Science Fiction and in the Academic World ... since it can't happen otherwise ... I'm sure you have heard of something called ..."Time" ... and it isn't a song!

He isn't living then...he is living now So this observation is inexplicable.
 
And the whole thing is ... science fiction!
 
We need to make a movie! We could make Dune look bad!
 
I rarely understand what the hell you're going on about Moshkito. LOL
 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lark the Starless Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 01 2011 at 10:11
Originally posted by Paravion Paravion wrote:

Except from the part involving judgements about the imaginative capabilities of the Dutch working class it's a nice story. You seem to have a very interesting job.

Meaning is my favourite subject - I may look at it from the other side of the looking-glass - an outlook where headlines like "the meaning of prog" is met with a huge amount of scepticism due to many years of confusion provided by semiotics and linguistics. 

In order to discover 'the meaning of prog' one needs to consider the age-old problem of the meaning of meaning which isn't solved and isn't anywhere near being solved. 
While I in large parts agree that
"As soon as music is released it's artistic cause is completely stolen from it's creator. We interpret what it means to us, we tell each other what it is about, we tell which emotions it represents. We tell why it should be there in our lives. We give it a meaning, and in a way - it gives meaning to us. We all have music that we accept as representative for certain aspects of ourselves. We often feel touched (or 'seen') by music, accepted by it, invited by it."
I wouldn't equate it with meaning. It's a giant leap to go from personal experience and evaluation triggered by some stimulus and elevate it as its meaning. The rational capability that allows one to find (or make up) meaning is first of all limited, and in order for one's quest for the meaning of prog to suceed, it will have to be more than what one happens to interpret it to be because such interpretations are very personal, perhaps ideosycratic and is most likely due to a lot of factors besides the music itself. Meaning is not a private affair. Why not care less about deducting 'meaning' and make interpretations and just enjoy the experience?



Don't see the need for the fancy models Stern Smile

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote friso Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 01 2011 at 11:11
Yeah, I would rather have seen some reactions that would give a hint towards whether my blog is useful or not.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paravion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 01 2011 at 12:35
Originally posted by Larkthestarless Larkthestarless wrote:


Don't see the need for the fancy models Stern Smile

You don't? Stern Smile

It's not a fancy model  - it's a classic triangle of signification (semiotic triangle) that in gross simplicity simply tells (much more efficiently than words) that there is no direct relationship between a word and it's referen(t/ces) - meaning is mediated through a concept AND the concept isn't a question of what we happen to interpret it to be for ourselves.
         I guess the thing is that I'd like to express that meaning is highly complex - and that this blog bearing the lofty (dare I say pretentious..)  title "The Meaning of Prog" (I take it literately, and the serious tone suggests that we ought to) should perhaps consider this complexity more thoroughly or be titled differently.

Originally posted by Friso Friso wrote:

..useful or not..

I'm not interested in and am unable to make such calls. To me, it's not - if the purpose is to reveal insights about the meaning of prog. Expect for that little piece of polemics - it's an interesting read with some good points - maybe useful, perhaps not.  


Edited by Paravion - March 01 2011 at 12:35
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote friso Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 01 2011 at 12:52
Originally posted by Paravion Paravion wrote:


Originally posted by Larkthestarless Larkthestarless wrote:

Don't see the need for the fancy models Stern Smile
You don't? Stern SmileIt's not a fancy model  - it's a classic triangle of signification (semiotic triangle) that in gross simplicity simply tells (much more efficiently than words) that there is no direct relationship between a word and it's referen(t/ces) - meaning is mediated through a concept AND the concept isn't a question of what we happen to interpret it to be for ourselves.         I guess the thing is that I'd like to express that meaning is highly complex - and that this blog bearing the lofty (dare I say pretentious..)  title "The Meaning of Prog" (I take it literately, and the serious tone suggests that we ought to) should perhaps consider this complexity more thoroughly or be titled differently.
Originally posted by Friso Friso wrote:

..useful or not..
I'm not interested in and am unable to make such calls. To me, it's not - if the purpose is to reveal insights about the meaning of prog. Expect for that little piece of polemics - it's an interesting read with some good points - maybe useful, perhaps not.  


...or perhaps it was an intimate review about some matters that crossed my mind lately, that seem to be suited for the concept of a blog. I really dislike the fact you've set this negative tone for a discussion that could have been really interesting.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paravion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 01 2011 at 13:28
I'm sorry if write in a negative tone - no such intentions, and I can't really see how it would be perceived as such. It's intended as a neutral and unconcealed description of what I think about a little aspect of your blog.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Earendil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 01 2011 at 19:09
Well-written entry, thanks.  Sounds like an interesting field to study for sure.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 01 2011 at 20:28
Originally posted by thehallway thehallway wrote:

Originally posted by moshkito moshkito wrote:

Originally posted by Snow Dog Snow Dog wrote:

Originally posted by moshkito moshkito wrote:

Originally posted by friso friso wrote:

Well there are two kinds of reasons to listen to vinyls

Objective Reasons
 
 
And you left behind the most obvious, and important reason of all ...
 
IT WAS WHAT THERE WAS AT THE TIME ... YOU HAD NO CHOICE!
 
The rest is not important and is a discussion about nuts and fruits! And when to eat each of them! ... more on this later as I digest this ... the only thing missing here is the quotidian part of your study ... you are comparing today's ears with yesterday's senses, and vice versa, and you can only do that in Science Fiction and in the Academic World ... since it can't happen otherwise ... I'm sure you have heard of something called ..."Time" ... and it isn't a song!

He isn't living then...he is living now So this observation is inexplicable.
 
And the whole thing is ... science fiction!
 
We need to make a movie! We could make Dune look bad!
 
I rarely understand what the hell you're going on about Moshkito. LOL
 
 
That's the problem ... you're trying to understand things that are not there ... this is like Monty Python, or The Goons ... there is no understanding ... there's just enjoyment ... don't you know that we are in the age of entertainment? And commerciality? Understanding doesn't exist ... sales pitches do!
... none of the hits, none of the time ... you will, eventually, find your own art inside! Try it!
www.pedrosena.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 01 2011 at 20:46
Originally posted by friso friso wrote:

Yeah, I would rather have seen some reactions that would give a hint towards whether my blog is useful or not.
 
It's hard ... if there is one thing that is really hard to get around on, is the personal feelings in many of these things.
 
I, myself, write a lot ofthese feelings, and sometimes it ... I feel like people don't like to hear that you have feelings and wonderings and sometimes think out loud.
 
What you did is nice, very nice ... and I can see the movie ... but when someone is only interested "progressive" music, I am not sure that they allow themselves the pleasure, or the experience, to flow like you did ... and your flow, like mine, has nothing to do with progressive or not, it has to do with a specific feeling, or expression that best fits certain moods or times during the day ... for me ... it's different now than it was 30 years ago, but I like the sound of ... nothing ... now ... and this is one of the reasons why sometimes, a lot of music just doesn't mean a thing for me ... there is no inner peace in it, and it's too confusing in its own designs to even try to bring across anything ... other than ... just another song, or hear Fleetwood Mac for the 1457th time on the flipping radio!
 
I live for the experience, and the feeling. Comments by anyone are not necessary, since they are not the ones creating the experience in the first place ... which is one reason why a lot of people sometimes take negatively to me ... my comments tend to alienate them or make them think they are not important ... and sadly ... it has nothing to do with importance ... it has to do with allowing someone's vision to fly and live ...
 
It's too easy to say that music is just a personal thing and means nothing else ... because if that was all there was, not that many of us would be into it .... it's pretty obvious to me, that many times the music has a lot more to it, than is seen, or understood, or given the credit for ... and it is a that time, that music shines, and you just have to have your eyes and ears open, so you can find a way to let that moment shine ... because when it does ... there is nothing better to live for ... regardless of which art you are on about.
 
There ... I finally replied to your blog with the proper spirit that you had in mind ... and hopefully you can read and appreciate this ...
... none of the hits, none of the time ... you will, eventually, find your own art inside! Try it!
www.pedrosena.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2011 at 15:12
Hi,
 
Who woulda thunk it ... it didn't matter if understanding was there or not , for anyone since the replies are all ... 
 
Ermm


Edited by moshkito - March 02 2011 at 15:17
... none of the hits, none of the time ... you will, eventually, find your own art inside! Try it!
www.pedrosena.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 06 2011 at 07:21
Signifying meaning - without necessarily trying to put into words what that meaning is - to things one adores is, simply put, HUMAN TENDENCY.  What is semantically satisfying or consistent to you - Paravion - may not be consistent with human nature.  For some people, a sense of meaning may be important to derive purpose in life and they may not be satisfied with simply saying they bask in the experience because it would seem to be a rather rudderless life if one were only hopping from one experience to another.  Are empires built and brought down that way, are long held sports records broken that way, do musicians toil hard to master their craft that way, by only soaking in experience and with no inclination at all to move towards some goals, be they abstract and undefinable? 

It is just human nature to want to attach meaning to things that concern one and I admit I don't really understand why you would want to comment on this aspect, directly or indirectly, on several, unrelated threads.  Since you are concerned with semantics, it must be not be very hard for you to understand the sense in which friso most likely intended the word "meaning" and it is better to "go with the flow" rather than give entirely different colours to the word "meaning" and argue that it should not be used in that sense in relation to music or art.  It is your choice, of course, to say what you wish on a thread but all that comes out of it is the direction of the thread is diverted from its original purpose.  
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