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Misinterpreting the term "prog"

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stegor View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote stegor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Misinterpreting the term "prog"
    Posted: April 18 2013 at 14:05
I know it when I hear it. It may not match what you know when you hear it, but that doesn't matter.
Humans have this urge to organize things, some more than others. Some obsess over it and insist that others organize things the same way they do. I'm content to have my own organization.
I love a lot of music that I don't consider Prog.
I despise a lot of music that I do consider Prog.
I think Pere Ubu is Prog, and I love them, but I don't think any less of them because they aren't considered Prog here. Maybe I like them even more because they are so outrageous and difficult to categorize that they don't even fit in with Prog!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ExittheLemming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 18 2013 at 04:30
Originally posted by brainstormer

The point is how we pick what prog is right, and the word to us, has that sense of strength.  It's a token
of honor we chose to give certain progressive rock, that some may call prog, whether or not we call it
prog or not.

I think the point is that it is our right to say what is good prog or is not....in the sense of being emphatic, like,
that's real fudge, or, that's a real cup of coffee.   Melvin might say some band is prog, and I am glad he
likes progressive rock in general to call it prog, in that way, it honors me and prog at large.  But, is it
really prog to me?  Nah, probably not.

You guys need to study some serious graduate level linguistics before you can start an academic
sense of what you are saying in any serious language focused way.  There are all kinds of qualifiers
and criteria that categories and sets, about thirty different linguistic terms that have no parallel in 
words in other fields.  Then you can define what prog.  But I think this thought is an existential understanding
of why we defend the word, and defend our bands, that fit into the category, and defend others rights
to use the term any way they want.  It helps our cause in the end.  Because, we are after all, a subset
of a much, much larger group of rock music, much of which we probably don't like too much.



Some valid points there certainly but if nothing else, these forums are testimony to the futility of a satisfactory definition of Prog. I really don't want an academic sense of the arts, least of all music thank you.Wink
I'm 50 years old (yes, that matters) and might best illustrate the dichotomy at the heart of such discussions this way:
I like Echolyn and Argent, but not equally.
I think Echolyn's music is better composed and that they are better musicians
I think Echolyn are a very adventurous, innovative and challenging rock band who are clearly influenced and inspired by Prog Rock bands
I think Argent are a Prog Rock band

Yes, all of the foregoing statements are unashamedly subjective, BUT there are a LOT of people on these forums who had their formative years circa 1970-79 that have a very similar take on what they regard as Prog. It goes without saying that the more good music we can celebrate on PA the better, but let's not lose sight of the fact that:

the further you get from the past, the more concrete and plausible it seems --but as you approach the present, it inevitably seems incredible (Salman Rushdie)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote brainstormer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 17 2013 at 23:24
The point is how we pick what prog is right, and the word to us, has that sense of strength.  It's a token
of honor we chose to give certain progressive rock, that some may call prog, whether or not we call it
prog or not.

I think the point is that it is our right to say what is good prog or is not....in the sense of being emphatic, like,
that's real fudge, or, that's a real cup of coffee.   Melvin might say some band is prog, and I am glad he
likes progressive rock in general to call it prog, in that way, it honors me and prog at large.  But, is it
really prog to me?  Nah, probably not.

You guys need to study some serious graduate level linguistics before you can start an academic
sense of what you are saying in any serious language focused way.  There are all kinds of qualifiers
and criteria that categories and sets, about thirty different linguistic terms that have no parallel in 
words in other fields.  Then you can define what prog.  But I think this thought is an existential understanding
of why we defend the word, and defend our bands, that fit into the category, and defend others rights
to use the term any way they want.  It helps our cause in the end.  Because, we are after all, a subset
of a much, much larger group of rock music, much of which we probably don't like too much.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote libertycaps Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 17 2013 at 19:58
I'm gonna go out on a limb and think that "Progressive" is a very subjective term. Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 17 2013 at 13:43
Originally posted by Peter

...
Music is ultimately personal. It's okay if we differ. (We have to -- no one else is me.)   What it "is" cannot be found, defined, or pinned into place by our mere words. It moves, it lives -- it is a virus that mutates symbiotically within each host. It changes you -- you change it.

Stop talking -- listen. Fill your heart. Smile
 
I kinda look it ... close to this ... there is one tree in the middle, and we all see it differently, and in the end it's just "angles" on that look, but THERE IS one tree, and it has its own entity ... but it is hard for any of us to describe that entity, as you say, we are not the tree and neither is the tree "us".
 
Taking this further, there is something else in heavy duty meditation that confuses people senseless and prevents them from contniuing their "meditation" studies ... when you reach the "light", you will no longer see any darkness, because you are "inside" that light .... and at that point you "are" the tree, (don't have to be) and your words carry some strength and weight that many people come to understand and appreciate ... however, in a place such as this, with so much cynicism (sometimes guilty!!!) ... and people just standing up for the band they absolutely love, and do not know why ... other than "love Dave's guitar solo" (it's not even the whole song then?) ... as an example of the rock fan like thinking ... and that is NOT exactly a discussion of music! We need to start addressing that a little bit to help define the music better! Not to change the colors that the tree has!
 
To me that is important ... my discussions on music are as objective as I can make them, because I can barely put words to them ... but me telling you that I think that Garry Moore's guitar solo is the craziest ever in "Spirit" in his first album, although not progressive, in the end, everything he does on that guitar solo is less rock oriented than it is "progressive" oriented, though he went with his feelings, instead of Steve Howe's scales!
 
But, honestly, if more people had a better understanding, or listening ability, to also include music that goes back 1000 years, I really think that their ability to define and place what we have come to call "progressive" would be a LOT STRONGER than it is now ... not to say that we have to have all "music journalists", but having all of these folks define it all in terms of the least able musicians, is not going to help put this on the map ... we have to be way better in describing the music, than what Chuck Berry is all about ... and my sense is that the only thing many of these definitions can tell you is that this is Chuck Berry with a chronfullametricggastrictone scale ... ohhhh ... with a Ricky on Bass! And at that point ... the whole thing is down right bizarre, not music anymore and it's meaningless ... and anyone can play it, including your own kid, if he doesn't tell you that dad is s stupid old foggie that likes that old crap!
 
But music history is more than just a "scale", or an instrument ... and until we formulate a massive study on that and show that it deserves to be now in music history other than just a nice memory ... I don't think we can get past these silly, bizarre, off the wall threads ... that have nothing to do with anything except some person's bored ideas that God is framed in a book, not in reality, or in life!


Edited by moshkito - April 17 2013 at 13:49
... 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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Post Options Post Options   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 17 2013 at 13:17
Originally posted by ExittheLemming


...
I don't necessarily disagree with anything you say but we all know that Prog is like Porn i.e. no-one can define it but everyone claims to know it when they see/hear it. Yes, some of us know what me mean when we say Prog, but I suspect that body of (cough) older people might reluctantly agree (like Vibrationbaby) that Prog, albeit  in a much narrower exclusive sense than that currently espoused on PA, was practically over as a cutting edge musical development by circa 1979. Don't mean to come across as negative but for me, I kinda agree with Peter that this acceptance or denial of the 'end of Prog' is the kernel at the heart of most debates round these parts y'all.
 
I'm gonna take this one home and just enjoy the heck out of it ... my neighbor at work is a guitar player in a band, and he always brings the Musicians Friend monthly with him, or I do ... and we always share the "music porn".
 
On top of it, there is more "porn" with a Fender Jazz bass, than a Ricky ... !!!
... 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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Post Options Post Options   Quote Peter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 17 2013 at 10:36
^ Thanks for the quote, Lemming. Smile

I should perhaps clarify that while I think the term is fraught with difficulty in its use from individual to individual, and from one generation to another, the last time I checked I could find 99% of the music I'd historically considered "prog rock" on this exhaustive site, along with many other artists who were new to me when I joined, but which fit well within my personal parameters of "prog." (I imagine that is true for almost all of us.)

Now, in the site's efforts to be thorough, and pursue almost every linkage to, and permutation of, "prog," a LOT of other stuff gets listed here too. Sometime the link is obvious to me, sometimes it's not, but the reception of art is subjective -- YOU make the song (or painting, or book) "live." YOU give it its final meaning and flavour when it passes though your unique personal filters. We each put our own stamp on the art we take in. That is unavoidable and good -- that's why art resonates with us and moves us. Your reaction and mine and his are each different, but each is "right."

So this site is a good music resource, but the ultimate arbiter will always be your own ears and emotions. My advice to people who may be confused with the sheer scope and diversity of the site would be to stop getting hung up on terminology (which is always fluid over time and culture), and just accept that, with prog, "results may vary."

If you like "prog," much of the music you like is on here -- as is a lot of other stuff you may well enjoy if you sample it. (Though you won't like it all, or find that it all jibes with your personal prog definition.) That should be good enough.

Music is ultimately personal. It's okay if we differ. (We have to -- no one else is me.)   What it "is" cannot be found, defined, or pinned into place by our mere words. It moves, it lives -- it is a virus that mutates symbiotically within each host. It changes you -- you change it.

Stop talking -- listen. Fill your heart. Smile


Edited by Peter - April 17 2013 at 10:52
Let the monkey drive.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote ExittheLemming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 17 2013 at 04:11
Originally posted by Peter

Wacko Ah -- the old PA argument that is never resolved, never goes away, is extremely subjective ("prog" or "progressive rock" having about as many interpretations as this forum has members), and is thus not worth arguing about.

I've said it often here before: it's a lousy way to categorize music for anything other than personal use. The so-called "category" (it's not a specific genre) is so diverse/inclusive/amorphous/subjective as to be near meaningless.

It meant something which was almost defined once upon a time, but these days (for those who claim to like it) I think it basically equates to "better" -- a subjective (if not arrogant) delineation if ever there was one. For those who deride it, it seems to equate to "weird," "overblown," "pretentious" "overly complex" -- and as those are also subjective concepts, perhaps those interpretations are as good as any. Ermm

I use the term, but I know what I mean when I say it.Wink  In essence, "prog" is what you decide it is when you make prog playlists for yourself on your Ipod. Tongue



I don't necessarily disagree with anything you say but we all know that Prog is like Porn i.e. no-one can define it but everyone claims to know it when they see/hear it. Yes, some of us know what me mean when we say Prog, but I suspect that body of (cough) older people might reluctantly agree (like Vibrationbaby) that Prog, albeit  in a much narrower exclusive sense than that currently espoused on PA, was practically over as a cutting edge musical development by circa 1979. Don't mean to come across as negative but for me, I kinda agree with Peter that this acceptance or denial of the 'end of Prog' is the kernel at the heart of most debates round these parts y'all.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Peter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 16 2013 at 23:55
Originally posted by Vibrationbaby

 Too many bands here. People get confused by this site all the time. I mean what does The Mahavishnu Orchestra have to do with Split Enz QuestionErmm
Geek I can answer that -- both bands featured male humans who were bipedal, roughly bisymmetrical, and equipped with handy opposable thumbs.

Coincidence? I THINK NOT! Shocked
Let the monkey drive.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Peter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 16 2013 at 23:43
Wacko Ah -- the old PA argument that is never resolved, never goes away, is extremely subjective ("prog" or "progressive rock" having about as many interpretations as this forum has members), and is thus not worth arguing about.

I've said it often here before: it's a lousy way to categorize music for anything other than personal use. The so-called "category" (it's not a specific genre) is so diverse/inclusive/amorphous/subjective as to be near meaningless.

It meant something which was almost defined once upon a time, but these days (for those who claim to like it) I think it basically equates to "better" -- a subjective (if not arrogant) delineation if ever there was one. For those who deride it, it seems to equate to "weird," "overblown," "pretentious" "overly complex" -- and as those are also subjective concepts, perhaps those interpretations are as good as any. Ermm

I use the term, but I know what I mean when I say it.Wink  In essence, "prog" is what you decide it is when you make prog playlists for yourself on your Ipod. Tongue


Edited by Peter - April 16 2013 at 23:49
Let the monkey drive.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Argonaught Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 16 2013 at 20:26
Originally posted by dr wu23

Originally posted by Vibrationbaby

 Too many bands here. People get confused by this site all the time. I mean what does The Mahavishnu Orchestra have to do with Split Enz QuestionErmm
 
 
Good question..........and we are back to what exactly is 'progressive rock'.
It is obviously very subjective.

Emphatic INDEED to both of your statements

Mahavishnu Orchestra was, at least in the 70s, an archetypal jazz-rock fusion band. In most fusion bands, the "rock" component had primarily to do with the usage of certain instruments that had come from the realm of rock (notably the electric guitar and electric bass). As for the music itself, it was undiluted electric jazz.  

As per PA, fusion is a "progressive rock subgenre". Prog and fusion sure do have one or two things in common (the complexity, the frivolous time signatures and such delicacies), but I am not sure if they are best described this way. Prog is typically better rehearsed, more predictable and often solemn. Fusion relies more on improvisation and is generally more jovial and upbeat. By the way, to my ear the Bruford-Wetton era KC is closer to fusion than to prog. 

BTW, why does the presumably excessive number of bands PA lists bother you?  
   
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dr wu23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 16 2013 at 16:38
Originally posted by Vibrationbaby

 Too many bands here. People get confused by this site all the time. I mean what does The Mahavishnu Orchestra have to do with Split Enz QuestionErmm
 
 
Good question..........and we are back to what exactly is 'progressive rock'.
It is obviously very subjective.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dr wu23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 16 2013 at 16:37
Originally posted by lucas

I guess the database would lose 3/4 of its bands if it were to bother with prog rock bands only.
 
I don't know about 3/4 of the bands but many could be excluded...and there are others that could be included.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote cstack3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 16 2013 at 16:20
I'm a musician, and have been playing prog for over 40 years.  Prog is an attitude, a frame of mind.  

I could make killer prog with a kazoo (and did once, when I played Bloomdido's blazing sax solo from Gong's "Master Builder" from memory!  My friends were cracking up!!)

1:28 onwards....


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Metalmarsh89 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 16 2013 at 16:01
Guitar + bass + drums = rock
Guitar + bass + drums + X = prog (Let X = any instrument other than guitar, bass, or drums)

I'm being entirely facetious here. There is no magical formula that can decide what is prog and what is not prog. But it's still fun to read reactions here. Cool
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Vibrationbaby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 16 2013 at 13:33
 Too many bands here. People get confused by this site all the time. I mean what does The Mahavishnu Orchestra have to do with Split Enz QuestionErmm
                
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 16 2013 at 13:26
Originally posted by lucas

I guess the database would lose 3/4 of its bands if it were to bother with prog rock bands only.
 
I seriously doubt that ... in fact, I think it would gain many other bands ... but it might force some re-alignment.
 
The biggest offender, is a whole genre defined by a sound effect or two ... and I'm not sure that is a valid designation for a music genre ... let's take some Beethoven and add Phazing and Echo and then call it ... neo-romantic classical music? ... that's just bizarre, off the wall, and sick! And we're allowing that to happen, by some bands that are "supposedly" hard and dark, and there is nothing there ... unplug them ... empty as your stool when you get done ... now let's go back in time and unplug Pink Floyd ... then unplug Genesis ... then unplug ELP ... you still have it ... ohhh ... you can even unplug KC and still have a solid piece of music ... that connection needs to be made, because right now, all of these "progressive" and "prog" folks are not seeing that music history is anything except crap and garbage ... because it is not electric and does not have an effect, and worse, only on PA ... the bass is not a ricky! Even an article on "progressive" instruments ... and I can see both Stanley Clarke and Bootsie looking at each other and us and go ... ohh well ... or a Jaco for that matter ... it's not about the instrument or the sound ... it's about the composer and the artistry of the player ... and we have to come to grips with that ... and a sound effect is not enough!


Edited by moshkito - April 16 2013 at 13:29
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 15 2013 at 19:35
Originally posted by axeman

Does. not. follow, ...other than trivially. 

All terms worthy of the name, exclude things. But as a marker , it excludes nothing definitively. You understand what a "definition" is don't you. It means it has limits(fine). That we must talk in words and words must have landing points called definitions, never implies that things aren't in many cases, continuous and fluid. 

That's one of the hard part about critical discussion, for emphasis and control of scope we must chop things up smaller than they might otherwise be construed to be. You can put one thing in a separate bulletpoint, but it doesn't mean it's totally unrelated to the other bulletpoints. 

Mainly, the thing that "prog" excludes is some sort of claim that this body of music is "progressive" by whatever critical standards of "progress". It's not meant to exclude music, but the unnecessary claim that each person who enjoys prog is a fan of whatever is deemed to be "progressive" at the time. 

But let's take your inanity on its face. You must mean certain things and not others when you say "progressive rock" because otherwise you wouldn't take Opeth or Dream Theater to be more indicative of progressive rock/music then say, The Fixx. Because if you exclude The Fixx then you "have chosen to exclude some music as not befitting the term for whatever reasons." It's a bad start when you say that excluding something from a category for some unspecified reason is questionable. 

But, if that makes me bad, then it make you bad. If it makes me exclusive, then it makes you exclusive. If you can't exclude any band or music from the term "progressive", then DT and Opeth aren't particular examples of "progressive rock", because all exclusion can be called into question to be in the same "judgmental" vein that you are implying. 

Now, I have no doubts that you can misconstrue a beaut out of that, since almost everything you have read into what I have written has been your own invention. 



No, and that is the whole point, there is no hard and fast definition of prog rock.  You cannot come up with a suitable one to encompass all the prog rock of the 70s, let alone prog rock of today (but I'd like to see you try, nevertheless).   So either we can have a situation where some people of similar persuasion as yours make a definition and force it down everybody's throats or to work with a general idea of what could be prog.  

Please don't tell me that your attempts to make a prog rock definition that excludes are based purely on empirical considerations.  No, they are simply based on your impressions of 70s prog (and those impressions themselves may be too heavily influenced by that 70s prog which you liked and not all 70s prog) and you look for other music that seems to share its characteristics.   So on PA too people go by their gut feeling but without trying to limit what prog rock could be.   It is not a "thing", it is a genre of music and you will not convince me that it is dead or has stopped evolving.  That being the case, it would be a terrible thing to freeze what all can be understood to be prog because music subsequently released might contradict such a definition.  Also, anything that is based on gut feelings cannot be imposed.  It is only prog because the respective sub genre teams in PA say so, I absolutely don't have to agree with it.   But enough people agree in any case because not all bands are outliers and life goes on.

Furthermore, prog rock is not just a style, it's an approach  (else, please demonstrate to me the common stylistic aspects of Kraftwerk, Magma and Camel).  So it's not as if prog to include Opeth would have to exclude Fixx.  I don't even know who the latter are but if they release an album later on that has some of the attributes of prog rock, one would have to revise their position on Fixx.   So it's not fixed (!); as the genre keeps changing, so too our understanding of it evolves.   Freezing the term so that it no longer keeps pace with the changing hues of prog is not a good solution.  Rather, it is like imposing a definition for the sake of it. 


Edited by rogerthat - April 15 2013 at 19:42
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Post Options Post Options   Quote King Crimson776 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 15 2013 at 18:26
Originally posted by tamijo

Originally posted by King Crimson776

This is basically the same as saying "rock eventually fused with ska/reggae too", since again, punk is essentially just basic rock.
Naa, Punk is not the same as rock, punk is a part of rock, if you listen to basic rock bands from the early 60 to mid 60's, like Beatles Stones Kinks Animals Yardsbirds ect. ect, they sound nothing like Dead Kennedys or Six Pistols.
Actualy they sound very diffrent, just as diffrent as they do from Jethro Tull, Yes, Genesis, ect. 

True, they sound different enough in effect. I don't deny it's existence as a genre. However, it is a huge stretch to say that punk is as different from rock n' roll / garage rock than progressive is from all previous rock.

I would also say the late 60's Beatles music is clearly much farther removed from Elvis than punk is from... well, Elvis, actually.
"It's music, and I like it" - Miles Davis on Sketches of Spain
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lucas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 15 2013 at 15:18
I guess the database would lose 3/4 of its bands if it were to bother with prog rock bands only.
"Magma was the very first gothic rock band" (Didier Lockwood)
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