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Another Facet of Prog - Change

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CoolJimmi View Drop Down
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    Posted: April 02 2013 at 18:20
One upon a time, in middle school, a friend and I were discussing Tool. For the both of us, Tool was what introduced us to the world of progressive music. He moved away from progressive music slightly, saying it was a great genre full of artistic merit, but dismissed it as pretentious and unnecessary. I, however, followed this path into a full-on love affair with music that expressed any sort of experimentalism, artfulness, complexity, etc., eventually coming to despise the mainstream and anti-adventure behavior of other music forms.

But, something that friend of mine said stuck with me, something he said about progressive music. Taking the term as an application to the song's form, he told me "Progressive music changes."

Obviously, there are many faucets that make a song progressive, most outlined very well all over this site. However, one which I have been curious about and looking for since that statement hit my ears has been the idea that songs within the progressive spectrum tend to meander and flow in different ways than were expressed by the beginning of the song.

For example: The song "Everyday" by Buddy Holly begins with a simple riff, ordinary time signature, and a sweet, upbeat feel. This feel never changes, the time and tempo never shift, and the riff is the staple of the entire song, all things flowing from it and nothing else.



The prog counter to this shall be, fittingly, Tool's "Vicarious:" Opening with a very post-metal ambient soundscape (in shifting signatures), it unfolds into a hammering riff (also in shifting signatures). This evolves into an entirely different riff and stable signatures and keys for the chorus, but when that's done for, the signatures go insane once more, delving into an entirely different section not echoed before. Throw in a breakdown not forshadowed by anything that came before it which culminates into a vibrant chant, and you get a piece of music which evolves and evolves and evolves again.



There are hundreds of other examples of this within prog, Dream Theater doing this in pretty much all of their songs, and if you're thinking more towards classics, Yes does this quite frequently as well.

It reminds a bit of a classical way of composing, stringing together multiple different but interlocking sections to form a complex piece, as seen in Holsinger's masterpiece, Liturgical Dances:



The point I am trying to get at here is, do others agree with this? Any counter examples or outliers? Differing points of view? I'd like to know. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Evolver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 02 2013 at 18:21
Faucets?
Trust me. I know what I'm doing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CoolJimmi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 02 2013 at 18:28
Damn Google Speech Correct! Meant to be saying facet there... Embarrassed
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stool Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 02 2013 at 18:48

Another faucet could be something to tap into LOL

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote axeman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 02 2013 at 20:00
At one time there were no (or perhaps not so much) "boy bands", and then it became a bigger thing in music. There is an argument that if the music market moves from not much about boy bands, to being more about boy bands that's a "progression". 

All change--or progressions--are not equal.

From my perspective, there were experimental people from the very beginning of Prog. King Crimson is one, Gong another, VDGG, Pink Floyd, Roxy Music, still others. Even Genesis had their Waiting Room escapade into orchestrating noise. 

However, In the punk era even the idea that you can do something by venturing out sonically was part of what was labeled "pretentious". Just write some songs people want to pogo to! Just write some songs about what people have in their lives. Just write songs

To me the avoidance of "pretension" is part of putting an artist in a box. If I think something's pretentious, I'll avoid listening to it. Maybe the artist can find some people who will think it's cream. And maybe that artist is just off in this work. Perhaps he or she will find a way to bring another element into it to loosen it up. 

This is an illustration of something: I like the various eras of King Crimson. I've always liked Fripp's work. But I think the disgust he has with the era of music he is closing out, because he "no longer feels it is relevant" places a little too much burden on the "relevance" of any of his music. I think it actually makes him a little more pretentious when it comes down to it. Nobody is going to materialize a ham sandwich in front of starving people with any combination of sound. There is a limited amount of importance or relevance that music can have in the big scheme of things. So to some degree losing the picture that you're producing something for people's enjoyment, is a part of lessening the pretension factor. And when you think that some people still enjoy the album Red, as much as I do, then giving those people something to listen to is part of that too.

-John
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote King Crimson776 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 02 2013 at 21:30
Yes, there are multiple sections in progressive music. This is the main element it takes from classical.
"It's music, and I like it" - Miles Davis on Sketches of Spain
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Quill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 02 2013 at 21:46
.... good point. With attention spans growing ever shorter... change may be a key hook for a song. For Example:

http://www.reverbnation.com/vril2013/song/16800228-summer-of-your-heart
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 03 2013 at 01:02
Originally posted by CoolJimmi CoolJimmi wrote:

Damn Google Speech Correct! Meant to be saying facet there... Embarrassed
You can correct your own thread titles, just edit the opening post.


If you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise and then just behave like they would - Neil Gaiman
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Progosopher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 03 2013 at 19:47
Change has always been a hallmark of progressiveness.  Some see this is innovation in terms of creating music, but it is more about how an individual piece undergoes changes throughout its duration.  In this way, Prog is similar to Classical.  Changes in key, time signature, and timbre (tone) are so common as to be regarded as cliches of the medium.  This is how we can get fifteen, twenty, even thirty minute or longer songs - they undergo a lot of changes.  It is not about playing the same riff over and over again, not like a 20 minute Buddy Holly song.  BTW, I like Buddy Holly a lot. He is one of those innovators in rock who do not qualify as progressive.
The world of sound is certainly capable of infinite variety and, were our sense developed, of infinite extensions. -- George Santayana, "The Sense of Beauty"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paganinio Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 03 2013 at 20:21
IMO one of the main qualities of a lot of prog bands (especially progressive metal bands) is to not change.

Opeth, for example, have remained pretty much the same style for decades. The 1996 Opeth heard in Morningrise and Edge of Sanity's Crimson, and the 2008/2011 Opeth in Watershed and Heritage, are very similar. You immediately recognize it as being Opeth.

But it's not about being stagnant, old-fashioned or anything like that. It's about preseverance and consistency. About setting a musical vision and sticking to it. It's symbolic of a man setting a goal for himself, and fighting towards that goal for the rest of his life. He doesn't change midway, 'cos it ain't done yet.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stool Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 04 2013 at 01:30
Originally posted by paganinio paganinio wrote:

IMO one of the main qualities of a lot of prog bands (especially progressive metal bands) is to not change.

Opeth, for example, have remained pretty much the same style for decades. The 1996 Opeth heard in Morningrise and Edge of Sanity's Crimson, and the 2008/2011 Opeth in Watershed and Heritage, are very similar. You immediately recognize it as being Opeth.


Opeth are like The Fall, to borrow John Peel's quote "always different, always the same". There are aspects that change (the lineup - they're on their fifth bassist & guitarist, and third drummer; and sound - lack of growling, addition of keyboards, etc)
Pink Floyd changed from R&B to Psychedelic pop to Space Rock to avant garde experiments to stadium rock, and only the drummer is on every album.
As for not changing, that's a main quality of most non-prog bands - you wouldn't call The Ramones or The Pet Shop Boys or Lonnie Donegan prog, would you?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ExittheLemming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 04 2013 at 07:49
One of the most enduring aspects of popular music is that it utilises traditional time served structures that we, as humans, seem to find immensely satisfying e.g. the call and response melodic orthodoxy of blues/jazz where what is anticipated is almost as satisfying as what is delivered. Similarly, folk/country forms often exploit the irresistible gravitational pull of the so called '3 chord trick"", where a modulation back to the tonic from a dominant gives us a feeling of closure and resolution. Why therefore do we continue to feign surprise that music which attempts to surmount said devices causes so much resistance and resentment?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 04 2013 at 08:37
Originally posted by paganinio paganinio wrote:

IMO one of the main qualities of a lot of prog bands (especially progressive metal bands) is to not change.

Opeth, for example, have remained pretty much the same style for decades. The 1996 Opeth heard in Morningrise and Edge of Sanity's Crimson, and the 2008/2011 Opeth in Watershed and Heritage, are very similar. You immediately recognize it as being Opeth.

But it's not about being stagnant, old-fashioned or anything like that. It's about preseverance and consistency. About setting a musical vision and sticking to it. It's symbolic of a man setting a goal for himself, and fighting towards that goal for the rest of his life. He doesn't change midway, 'cos it ain't done yet.
The OP referred to change within a piece of music, not along a band's career.
Yes, changes within one piece of music are one of the defining features of prog, no doubt about it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote timbo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 04 2013 at 10:14
On the videos interviews packaged with the Genesis 1970-75 set, Peter Gabriel explains that change was something they explicitly tried to build into the songs on Trespass. He said they wanted to start with one theme, then move to another, then another without ever going back to the original - they were telling a story with the music.
Ironic then that later Genesis even named one of their songs after a traditional song structure - ABACAB - and then didn't stick to that structure with said song.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote richardh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 04 2013 at 13:57
I'm tempted to say that progressive music does what it likes. Why is so important to have to nail it down? Why have rules?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stool Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 04 2013 at 14:18
Originally posted by richardh richardh wrote:

I'm tempted to say that progressive music does what it likes. Why is so important to have to nail it down? Why have rules?
 
Without rules there'd be no "insistence" on such things as unusual time signatures, concepts, technical ability, unusual instrumentation, extended duration, and so on.  What is prog without all of those things?  Might as well be Doo-Wop or Disco, Reggae or Rhumba
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote timbo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 04 2013 at 14:19
Change is the only constant?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote richardh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 05 2013 at 01:44
Originally posted by Stool Man Stool Man wrote:

Originally posted by richardh richardh wrote:

I'm tempted to say that progressive music does what it likes. Why is so important to have to nail it down? Why have rules?
 
Without rules there'd be no "insistence" on such things as unusual time signatures, concepts, technical ability, unusual instrumentation, extended duration, and so on.  What is prog without all of those things?  Might as well be Doo-Wop or Disco, Reggae or Rhumba

ok but rules are made to be broken.

So you learn the rules then break them. That what's progressive imo.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2013 at 01:16
Originally posted by timbo timbo wrote:



On the videos interviews packaged with the Genesis 1970-75 set, Peter Gabriel explains that change was something they explicitly tried to build into the songs on Trespass. He said they wanted to start with one theme, then move to another, then another without ever going back to the original - they were telling a story with the music.
Ironic then that later Genesis even named one of their songs after a traditional song structure - ABACAB - and then didn't stick to that structure with said song.
 

I love this aspect of prog. The OP was interested in counter-examples. I think there are numerous cases. Peter Gabriel's Rhythm of the Heat and San Jacinto are two. On the same album there is Family and the Fishing Net, which goes through lots of internal changes in it's arrangement(s).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 07 2013 at 11:31
Originally posted by axeman axeman wrote:

... But I think the disgust he has with the era of music he is closing out, because he "no longer feels it is relevant" places a little too much burden on the "relevance" of any of his music. I think it actually makes him a little more pretentious when it comes down to it. ...
 
I think you misunderstand the man and his music, and you might consider listening to his other side by himself or with Eno or other experimentalists.
 
What you don't see, is that the music means so much to him on a personal level, that you can't imagine ... and that each piece is a mere painting of his mind at this moment ... but you are not accepting that painting at all ... and instead say that the man is pretentious. I would question the nature of the comment itself, instead, btw, rather than criticise someone else for something he DID DO, and you didn't ... but you feel the need to COMMENT on his doing!
 
If there is some anger, and I don't think that his anger is that harsh or vindictive, unlike these types of comments about his nature appears to be, it is rather well founded ... to someone where concentration is important in a piece, it is his very foundation, but nooooo ... you interrupt him for an autograph ... or sto scream "rock'n'roll", and ignore the man on his trip ... and then you get upset that he got touchy with your interruption to his concentration!
 
The music business itself, is a well known rip off and has been so for years. Sadly, he did not see, understand, or was able to hear the rumblings about owning your own music and company in the mid 70's, in order to make sure you could gain from it ... but most artists at the time did NOT listen to the comments, and still sold out for a quick paycheck, and nothing after it!
 
It's a two-edged sword, any way you look at it ... you feel the need to concentrate, and get interrupted by emotional things that prevent you from concentrating ... and you are complaining about Robert?
 
The other part, about "change" ... is that ALL music, forever, has always been abut change ... and chord change, note change, or bs change is NOT what drove what we came to call "progressive" music ... but you continually ignore that and stick to a search for a lost chord in the music -- that you think defines "progressive" ... and that "change" is found in ALL music out there ... but you might not know that?


Edited by moshkito - April 07 2013 at 11:33
... none of the hits, none of the time ... you might actually find your own art, or self, and forego lousy heroes or Guru's!

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