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Topic ClosedIs classical influence essential to prog rock?

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Toaster Mantis View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2013 at 15:08
Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

I am not sure people who subscribe to the second definition of prog rock realise exactly how restrictive it is.  They too ultimately rely more on elimination (of structure or approach that is too close to basic rock and roll music) than an exact application of sonata structure, i.e, anything that is long winded, somewhat complex and not just a jam is prog rock.


See, that's one of the areas where it becomes a liability that my familiarity with music theory extends only to what you need to know in order to play an instrument in a group setting. So I have no way of really testing whether how many progressive rock compositions' narrative structure really fit into the definition of a proper sonata form, or the extent to which rock instrumentation even can accomodate classical composition principles. I have met quite a few classically trained musicians who felt any approximations of neoclassicism by rock groups they've heard to be awkward at best if not unintentionally hilarious at worst, and even more jazz enthusiasts who felt the same about fusion jazz!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2013 at 16:04
The second definition is by far the correct one. As I keep saying music doesn't progress. Only songs progress
All I like is prog related bands beginning late 60's/early 70's. Their music from 1968 - 83 has the composition and sound which will never be beaten. Perfect blend of jazz, classical, folk and rock.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2013 at 16:04
I don't think its 'essential' but it certainly started out that way with most if not all of the great classic prog bands from 1969 into the 70's and on.

Edited by dr wu23 - December 28 2013 at 16:05
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2013 at 16:17
It's kind of funny that while I love much music that
can only be considered Prog Rock, it's still "bubble gum"
music for the most part.  For composers who aren't going
for that youth market, liking Prog Rock puts one in a fantasy
world in which its harder to take classical music seriously.
And if you are composing music that fits more into a serious
genre than rock really can per se, then liking Prog Rock too
much can divorce you from your muse.  If you can even
understand what I am talking about, I think it's important to
take breaks from all rock music, and listen to more Jazz,
or World Music (even going back to anthropological recordings),
and then look at your own music again.  Maybe this is the
wrong forum for these kinds of thoughts. 

Why would I say this?  Because great prog rock is largely
augmented by advanced studio engineering and recording techniques.
One rarely ever hears raw sounding prog that sounds great.
A classical work can sound great being a bad recording on a 
decent-enough piano.





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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2013 at 16:58

Originally posted by Toaster Mantis Toaster Mantis wrote:

There's something I've become more and more confused about regarding the exact definition of "progressive rock" recently, in part because my own knowledge of music theory is very basic and I'm not sure exactly how to test the argument in practice.
...

Before, a lot of this discussion can take place, some of this "progressive" music has to be elevated to a realm that is considerably better studied and discussed in academic environs, than rock, pop, jazz or progressive. It's easy to think (and say) what you did, mostly because the first things you learn used to be a jingle or two that came from classical music, or nowadays, the first 3 or 5 notes from a famous song from a musical, movie or radio. But is it classical music? I consider it so by the folks my age. Others here DON'T, and consider it just pop music.

Being that "progressive" like all the other types and styles of music, are STILL a part of the social involvement, I am inclined to believe that there are some bits and pieces that filter through, although there are also schools of music, that INTENTIONALLY avoid the "western music concepts", as was the case with the majority of the krautrock folks, in the very early days, who were very specific about that.

That suggests that there are, more or less, two ways to learn things. One on your own, without any ideas or teachers, and Kasper Hauser showed us silly and stuffy easily enough, OR, the only option is, that you have to learn all these jingles and get so comfortable playing them, so you can be good enough to play with a band, and other folks.

Rock music, threw a wrench in a lot of that, because most of it was reactionary, and not exactly designed and composed music. These days, as has been the effort for 20/30 years, there is a very serious school of folks out there that might be playing metal, or this or that, and they are NOT beginners, and in fact they left the classical areas of music, because it was too limiting, and all of a sudden in their rock or jazz group they are fooling around with musical ideas that some folks would consider more adventurous than the "history" of music.

Remember that this "history" is based on a model that is very academically thought out, and defined, and the majority of music of today, that beingrock, jazz, blues and the like, is not considered music enough, or good enough, to be more than just simplistic music that would not merit its entering the annals of history.

However, I think that "electricity" has made major changes in that, and in fact, it has been the major cause of almost killing classical music, and the next 50 to 100 years will be very interesting in that area, if the world survives that far, or course, but that's another story and Dean and I are not interested in that discussion, though we might enjoy talking about monkees and bones, though no one ever thought that it would be one day considered "music".

(Sidebar) Just reading DT's book right now, and the number of people crappin on them for the depth and definition of the music is way out of line. It's like saying that the audience has to be stupid to appreciate all that, or dead, to not like their own ideas (not DT's) of what pop music should be! It is, by far, one of the nastiest discussions out there, btw, and a very sad one. It shouldn't matter what instrument you use to push music ... did it happen ot nor, and is it written, and in DT's case? Yep. It is defined and written!

Edited by moshkito - December 28 2013 at 17:09
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2013 at 17:50
Originally posted by brainstormer brainstormer wrote:

It's kind of funny that while I love much music that can only be considered Prog Rock, it's still "bubble gum" music for the most part.  For composers who aren't going for that youth market, liking Prog Rock puts one in a fantasy world in which its harder to take classical music seriously.  And if you are composing music that fits more into a serious genre than rock really can per se, then liking Prog Rock too much can divorce you from your muse.  If you can even understand what I am talking about, I think it's important to take breaks from all rock music, and listen to more Jazz, or World Music (even going back to anthropological recordings),and then look at your own music again.  Maybe this is the wrong forum for these kinds of thoughts.


Sorry, but that's ridiculous.  Progressive rock (and many other forms of popular music) can be just as "serious" as classical and jazz music.  To deny such is to basically ignore, say, all of the music on this site.  It's important for musicians focused in any genre to listen to material outside of their specialty. 

Originally posted by brainstormer brainstormer wrote:

Why would I say this?  Because great prog rock is largely augmented by advanced studio engineering and recording techniques.  One rarely ever hears raw sounding prog that sounds great.  A classical work can sound great being a bad recording on a decent-enough piano.


Um...whether the musicians use advanced recording techniques is extremely dependent upon what kind of prog (and what artist) you're talking about.  And if you listen to the live performances of most of the top-tier progressive rock bands in the world, their ability to play their material live pretty much proves that they're not just mediocre musicians hiding behind the studio.

Raw-sounding prog that sounds great?  Go listen to disc 3 of Rush's live album Different Stages and you'll hear some.  Black Sabbath's debut?  Vapor Trails?  Krautrock? 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2013 at 17:53
Classical influence is not essential to prog rock, but boy, do i like it when it is there. Triumvirat and ELP come to mind, but of course, there are many others.
             And who killed classical music? A very serious question, I'd have to think long and hard to give a proper answer to that. The golden era of classical music composition and interpretation, from roughly 1850 to 1950, or so, is far behind us. I'm very interested in that world, and really dig it when prog bands, even though coming from later in time, quote the classics, though something can be progressive without doing so.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2013 at 18:01
Originally posted by presdoug presdoug wrote:

Classical influence is not essential to prog rock, but boy, do i like it when it is there. Triumvirat and ELP come to mind, but of course, there are many others.
             And who killed classical music? A very serious question, I'd have to think long and hard to give a proper answer to that. The golden era of classical music composition and interpretation, from roughly 1850 to 1950, or so, is far behind us. I'm very interested in that world, and really dig it when prog bands, even though coming from later in time, quote the classics, though something can be progressive without doing so.


Nobody killed classical music.  It is simply not prevalent in mainstream culture at this time.  Many factors, from economics to technology, have brought about the advent of modern popular music in mainstream Western culture, but they have not killed classical music.  There are still many great classical composers alive today, from John Mackey to Carlyle Sharpe and the like.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2013 at 18:12
Originally posted by Ambient Hurricanes Ambient Hurricanes wrote:

Originally posted by presdoug presdoug wrote:

Classical influence is not essential to prog rock, but boy, do i like it when it is there. Triumvirat and ELP come to mind, but of course, there are many others.
             And who killed classical music? A very serious question, I'd have to think long and hard to give a proper answer to that. The golden era of classical music composition and interpretation, from roughly 1850 to 1950, or so, is far behind us. I'm very interested in that world, and really dig it when prog bands, even though coming from later in time, quote the classics, though something can be progressive without doing so.


Nobody killed classical music.  It is simply not prevalent in mainstream culture at this time.  Many factors, from economics to technology, have brought about the advent of modern popular music in mainstream Western culture, but they have not killed classical music.  There are still many great classical composers alive today, from John Mackey to Carlyle Sharpe and the like.
No one can compose like Berlioz, Brahms, Wagner, Bruckner, no one can sing like Caruso, Flagstad, no one can conduct like Toscanini, Beecham, Furtwangler, no one can play like Schnabel, Arrau, Backhaus. Yes, it has died. Except for the writings and recordings of that previous era, which a lot of people are sadly oblivious to.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2013 at 18:47








Classical music is alive and well.


Edited by Ambient Hurricanes - December 28 2013 at 18:49
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2013 at 19:50
Classical Music is very alive and well.  John Adams is proof of that, even Concerto for Harpsichord by Nyman is great.
A lot of great classical composers composed music for film, Honegger came up with a score for Gance's Napoleon,
which wasn't used but there were others.  Great classical composers today are often film composers.  

Back a few posts someone said something I said was ridiculous.  While I generally don't respond to people who
start off a dialog like that, I will say that Prog Rock generally needs to be pumped up to "rock standards" in the
studio before the mass of Prog Rock fans will look at it, understand it, let alone buy it.  It's a sonic level, not at
a level of the intervals between notes alone, which is how classical music can stand up.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2013 at 20:27
Originally posted by brainstormer brainstormer wrote:


Back a few posts someone said something I said was ridiculous.  While I generally don't respond to people who
start off a dialog like that, I will say that Prog Rock generally needs to be pumped up to "rock standards" in the
studio before the mass of Prog Rock fans will look at it, understand it, let alone buy it.  It's a sonic level, not at
a level of the intervals between notes alone, which is how classical music can stand up.




That is not even close to being true.  At all.  You still haven't explained the appeal of live performances (prog or not) which unless you are a very popular band playing in a very large venue are usually managed with only basic EQ and reverb; you haven't addressed the actual quality of the music, only the tastes of the people who buy it, and haven't proved a word of what you have said.  Forgive me if I am a bit snappy; probably wasn't right to characterize your opinion as "ridiculous right off the bat and I apologize for being rude, but please understand that as a rock musician myself I have great interest in the potential of the genre and when people ignorantly deride the work of me and my fellow rock musicians it doesn't really go over well with me.  I am a composer, not only of rock music but also of classical and jazz music; I have a pretty good idea of how to discern musical quality across genres because I write the darn stuff.  Would you like me to provide you with a detailed musical analysis of some progressive rock tunes to prove my point?  Because I can do that.


Edited by Ambient Hurricanes - December 28 2013 at 20:49
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2013 at 22:03
Originally posted by Toaster Mantis Toaster Mantis wrote:

Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

I am not sure people who subscribe to the second definition of prog rock realise exactly how restrictive it is.  They too ultimately rely more on elimination (of structure or approach that is too close to basic rock and roll music) than an exact application of sonata structure, i.e, anything that is long winded, somewhat complex and not just a jam is prog rock.


See, that's one of the areas where it becomes a liability that my familiarity with music theory extends only to what you need to know in order to play an instrument in a group setting. So I have no way of really testing whether how many progressive rock compositions' narrative structure really fit into the definition of a proper sonata form, or the extent to which rock instrumentation even can accomodate classical composition principles. I have met quite a few classically trained musicians who felt any approximations of neoclassicism by rock groups they've heard to be awkward at best if not unintentionally hilarious at worst, and even more jazz enthusiasts who felt the same about fusion jazz!

I am definitely an ignoramus when it comes to music theory.  So I have gone and read Mark's (Cert1fied) reviews because he seemed to be well versed in it.  IIRC, he said there was no evidence of sonata structure in the entire Selling England By The Pound album.  I doubt he considered Close To The Edge sonata either.  Those are among the 'must haves' of prog rock so if we are going with the second definition, it will likely exclude a lot more than just those groups that the purists would like to get rid of from PA. TongueSo I have a sneaking suspicion that maybe some progheads just equate anything in long form with sonata and that need not be the case at all. The most likely source of non-verse/chorus based structures is classical music but again, as I said earlier, that is not the only source and there are other traditions that involve exploration of melodic or harmonic ideas at length (i.e. not constrained by the pop structure).  I suspect some intentional or unintentional elitism involved in the reactions of classical or jazz musicians to prog rock.  Oscar Peterson played with Keith Emerson once and I don't think he would have done that unless he had a modicum of respect for his abilities.  Nevertheless, prog rock is imo a more freestyle synthesis of rock and classical/jazz rather than a rigorous application of the latter in rock, so it may not adhere to the 'rules' as strictly as hardcore classical or jazz listeners or musicians expect.


Edited by rogerthat - December 28 2013 at 22:06
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2013 at 22:37
No

BTW
Originally posted by presdoug presdoug wrote:

No one can compose like Berlioz, Brahms, Wagner, Bruckner, no one can sing like Caruso, Flagstad, no one can conduct like Toscanini, Beecham, Furtwangler, no one can play like Schnabel, Arrau, Backhaus. Yes, it has died. Except for the writings and recordings of that previous era, which a lot of people are sadly oblivious to.

The reason no one can is because they belong to their era.  Set  a different standard and they will fall short of that, don't you think?  Could any of these decomposing composers have made Kind Of Blue? Wink

Anyway I'm more of a Debussy fan. Big smile


Edited by Slartibartfast - December 28 2013 at 22:47
Released date are often when it it impacted you but recorded dates are when it really happened...

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2013 at 23:51
Originally posted by Ambient Hurricanes Ambient Hurricanes wrote:

Originally posted by brainstormer brainstormer wrote:


Back a few posts someone said something I said was ridiculous.  While I generally don't respond to people who
start off a dialog like that, I will say that Prog Rock generally needs to be pumped up to "rock standards" in the
studio before the mass of Prog Rock fans will look at it, understand it, let alone buy it.  It's a sonic level, not at
a level of the intervals between notes alone, which is how classical music can stand up.




That is not even close to being true.  At all.  You still haven't explained the appeal of live performances (prog or not) which unless you are a very popular band playing in a very large venue are usually managed with only basic EQ and reverb; you haven't addressed the actual quality of the music, only the tastes of the people who buy it, and haven't proved a word of what you have said.  Forgive me if I am a bit snappy; probably wasn't right to characterize your opinion as "ridiculous right off the bat and I apologize for being rude, but please understand that as a rock musician myself I have great interest in the potential of the genre and when people ignorantly deride the work of me and my fellow rock musicians it doesn't really go over well with me.  I am a composer, not only of rock music but also of classical and jazz music; I have a pretty good idea of how to discern musical quality across genres because I write the darn stuff.  Would you like me to provide you with a detailed musical analysis of some progressive rock tunes to prove my point?  Because I can do that.

I am not saying qualitatively classical music is superior to rock music.  I am only saying that
classical music will never have that slick, sheeny coating that rock music has.  And, by surrounding
oneself in it, you might be dulled to the more subtle aspects of a new music, if it isn't produced by
a good producer in a studio with intelligent and creative engineers. 

I'm a big fan of 1970's African American gospel music.  I wouldn't say classical music is superior to that.
While classical music can contain a lot of resolutions of difficult concepts, patterns that may influence
the work of an architect in 100 years, it's still not good black gospel music.  



(*Note, I had to edit this because I said is instead of the word "isn't" in the following: "And, by surrounding
oneself in it, you might be dulled to the more subtle aspects of a new music, if it isn't produced by
a good producer in a studio with intelligent and creative engineers." )



Edited by brainstormer - December 31 2013 at 20:14
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2013 at 23:52
Nope. Not all prog has a strong classical vibe. Some has more of a jazz or electronic or folk vibe. It depends on the band. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 29 2013 at 00:09
Originally posted by brainstormer brainstormer wrote:

Originally posted by Ambient Hurricanes Ambient Hurricanes wrote:

Originally posted by brainstormer brainstormer wrote:


Back a few posts someone said something I said was ridiculous.  While I generally don't respond to people who
start off a dialog like that, I will say that Prog Rock generally needs to be pumped up to "rock standards" in the
studio before the mass of Prog Rock fans will look at it, understand it, let alone buy it.  It's a sonic level, not at
a level of the intervals between notes alone, which is how classical music can stand up.




That is not even close to being true.  At all.  You still haven't explained the appeal of live performances (prog or not) which unless you are a very popular band playing in a very large venue are usually managed with only basic EQ and reverb; you haven't addressed the actual quality of the music, only the tastes of the people who buy it, and haven't proved a word of what you have said.  Forgive me if I am a bit snappy; probably wasn't right to characterize your opinion as "ridiculous right off the bat and I apologize for being rude, but please understand that as a rock musician myself I have great interest in the potential of the genre and when people ignorantly deride the work of me and my fellow rock musicians it doesn't really go over well with me.  I am a composer, not only of rock music but also of classical and jazz music; I have a pretty good idea of how to discern musical quality across genres because I write the darn stuff.  Would you like me to provide you with a detailed musical analysis of some progressive rock tunes to prove my point?  Because I can do that.

I am not saying qualitatively classical music is superior to rock music.  I am only saying that
classical music will never have that slick, sheeny coating that rock music has.  And, by surrounding
oneself in it, you might be dulled to the more subtle aspects of a new music, if it is produced by
a good producer in a studio with intelligent and creative engineers. 

I'm a big fan of 1970's African American gospel music.  I wouldn't say classical music is superior to that.
While classical music can contain a lot of resolutions of difficult concepts, patterns that may influence
the work of an architect in 100 years, it's still not good black gospel music.  


That's not what you said before.

Originally posted by brainstormer brainstormer wrote:

It's kind of funny that while I love much music that can only be considered Prog Rock, it's still "bubble gum" music for the most part


Originally posted by brainstormer brainstormer wrote:


And if you are composing music that fits more into a serious genre than rock really can per se, then liking Prog Rock too much can divorce you from your muse.


You didn't say "superior," but you did say it was "bubble gum music" and inherently less "serious" than classical music.  Which isn't true.  Not even close.

It also isn't true that rock music has a "slick, sheeny coating."  A lot of rock music (including progressive rock) is raw, unrefined, and lo-fi.  The type of rock music that fits your description is mainstream pop rock/hard rock/alternative rock.  Some forms of prog do also.  But you are ignoring most of the music on this site.  Once again I repeat myself: Krautrock, heavy prog, some forms of prog metal, prog folk, RIO/Avant, countless artists besides these broad subgenre generalizations, et cetera et cetera et cetera.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 29 2013 at 00:46
OK, this is my last post in reference to you, as I really am not interested
in dialoging with you because I can sense the motivation behind what you're
saying. 

You can interpolate whatever you want into my words and I will admit that
"bubble gum" does sound negative to most, but it's not meant to be by my
sense of the term.  I will speak in any way I please because I think enough people
with a mature perspective will understand what I mean.  That's not saying
their opinion is right, and yours is wrong.  

The type of music that fits my description is most of the music on this site,
which I've heard a lot of.  Some of it I won't like, and it's still Prog Rock.
I suppose Genesis music is not heavily produced?  By lo-fi, think of a piano
in a room.  I would say all the things you mentioned in your last sentence
have more going into it than what the band sounds like just playing raw.
And even so, since it's popular to admit our love of garage band and other
raw environments, my next statement might open up some more debate.
The music itself is made into rock which is idiosyncratic and for people that
are looking for real experimental music that is also beautiful, that gets old
quickly when done in a "Prog" fashion.  Maybe insert some of the sites older
conversations about what Prog is here, etc.   






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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 29 2013 at 04:33
I prefer to think of prog as a combination of artists with an experimental take on rock music and artists heavily inspired by these experimental takes on rock music(although not necessarily being experimental themselves) and everything in between. I don't believe that certain alternative(so not rock) influences are necessary for something to be prog.
Originally posted by Slartibartfast Slartibartfast wrote:

decomposing composers
lol
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 29 2013 at 06:48

No way, OF COURSE it was not and NEVER is going to be essential for a good prog band. However, by now I'm convinced that the complex melodic or harmonic ideas from the Classical Music helped much more the superb classic prog bands than any other genre, until I get to know some SUPERB jazz, or superb folk, etc.  I'm looking forward to check out Dave Brubeck pieces as soon as I can, in order to either put an end to this question or opening a new world of majestic jazz pieces, as it happened to me with Classical Music.



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