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The Mystical View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The Mystical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Prog Song Structure
    Posted: April 05 2014 at 05:22
Progressive epics often follow unconventional structures, but is there a common formula? It is hard to pinpoint exactly what makes a prog epic coherent.

Thoughts?

Is there a common prog epic structural formula? What do you think of prog song structures? What is your favourite prog song structure?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ExittheLemming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 05 2014 at 07:42
Many celebrated Prog epics are no more than very skillfully and ingenuously segued arrangements of individual musical fragments that still conform to traditional song structures e.g. Supper's Ready and Close to the Edge. That's not to denigrate these brilliant pieces of music but we've been deluding ourselves now for 40 years that such arranging skills represent the classical music of the future. Enough already

Other pieces like Karn Evil 9 by ELP follow a more academic approach where the musical themes and motivic ideas are subject to the developmental rigor of classical forms as deployed by Janacek, Stravinsky, Bartok, Sibelius et al. This does not make them better of course it's just a different approach. And no, Karn Evil 9 ain't the classical music of the future either

Cue an impenetrably oblique rebuttal from Moshkito
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Triceratopsoil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 05 2014 at 09:47
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Post Options Post Options   Quote richardh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 05 2014 at 10:07
According to Jem Godfrey most bands have got the memo from prog central. With his band Frost he tried to to get away from the typical structure of Suppers Ready by darinlngly stick a fast instrumental bit at the end of Milliontown (shock horror!). There is always the quirky bit , a fast bit , a taking stock of things bit followed by a slow building anthemic climax. Its been done a thousand times (okay slight exaggeration) . That is also what Exitthelemming is saying I think.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dr wu23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 05 2014 at 10:11
Here ya go...........
 
Wink
 
Getting serious ,just for a moment, I like the longer ones that start with a melodic theme, go into some more avant garde bits and instrumentation then reprise with the melody again at the end, but then I'm a sucker for a good melody.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 05 2014 at 10:48

(duplicate)



Edited by moshkito - April 05 2014 at 11:05
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 05 2014 at 10:58
Originally posted by moshkito

Originally posted by The Mystical

Progressive epics often follow unconventional structures, but is there a common formula? It is hard to pinpoint exactly what makes a prog epic coherent. 

 
Honestly, in my book, it isn't progressive IF it has a formula at all!
 
 
In the end, the history of music, up until the mid 20th century has been almost nothing but a discussion of what "melody" is, and how much more could be added or subtracted from the melody!
 
A lot of the "progressive" things, was a strong attempt at making changes in that process, otherwise, what is the point of rock music? Just sales of the same old merde, but done in electric stuff instead of accoustic?
 
This is a lot easier to see if you look at it from a historical perspective in the history of music.
 
I would rather, honestly, that the long cut was TOTALLY INCOHERENT, which for the past 75 years has been very important. Many a composer was booed and not appreciated for their work, because it did not sound melodic and the same as the previously "KNOWN" stuff.
 
You are defaulting, to the same thing, and that kills what "progressive" is all about.
 
Stop a minute and think about it!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dr wu23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 05 2014 at 11:03
Originally posted by moshkito

Originally posted by The Mystical

Progressive epics often follow unconventional structures, but is there a common formula? It is hard to pinpoint exactly what makes a prog epic coherent. 

 
Honestly, in my book, it isn't progressive IF it has a formula at all!
 
Well....that negates over half the bands here at PA.
 
LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 05 2014 at 11:26

Originally posted by dr wu23

Well....that negates over half the bands here at PA.

AND it should!

There are far too many bands that shouldn't even be considered, although I would feel sad myself, for the many bands that I like, but that's all they really are ... very nice music, and nothing but very nice music!

I like to separate Pedro the fan, from the rest. I don't think that many folks do this, and thus the borderline things get added, and the focus is on the albums, not the artists, and I think that is totally wrong.

We don't judge Beethoven, Stravinsky or Debussy, on one piece, or album. We do that on a whole bunch of their work.

As I have said before, the definition of "composer" will likely change in the next 100 years, and a group, will be considered as valuable as a single person, and then one can value their "total" body of work, as opposed to one album and the rest is sheep dip!

This is one of the reasons why I would like to see PA adopt a top 100 progressive artists, not albums, so that one person can not have 5 albums, and could be ranked higher than one with a single album because of the number of entries. But PA is a "database" and there is no group of folks more lazy in the working of code than that group. What is essentially an easy sort, all of a sudden becomes a burden, because you don't feel like doing it, and it is just easier for you to do your part in the whole company/process.

I can relate to the time needed to help ... that many of us can not afford. But then, they are not always asking the right people, either!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote ExittheLemming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 05 2014 at 11:32
Originally posted by moshkito

Originally posted by moshkito

Originally posted by The Mystical

Progressive epics often follow unconventional structures, but is there a common formula? It is hard to pinpoint exactly what makes a prog epic coherent. 

 
Honestly, in my book, it isn't progressive IF it has a formula at all!
 
 
In the end, the history of music, up until the mid 20th century has been almost nothing but a discussion of what "melody" is, and how much more could be added or subtracted from the melody!
 
A lot of the "progressive" things, was a strong attempt at making changes in that process, otherwise, what is the point of rock music? Just sales of the same old merde, but done in electric stuff instead of accoustic?
 
This is a lot easier to see if you look at it from a historical perspective in the history of music.
 
I would rather, honestly, that the long cut was TOTALLY INCOHERENT, which for the past 75 years has been very important. Many a composer was booed and not appreciated for their work, because it did not sound melodic and the same as the previously "KNOWN" stuff.
 
You are defaulting, to the same thing, and that kills what "progressive" is all about.
 
Stop a minute and think about it!


It goes without saying that no-one wants to hear formulaic music that merely repeats what has gone before but most enduring musical forms and structures progress and evolve through a process of gradual refinement, revision and polishing. That's how we've advanced historically from say, the monophony of plainsong to the contrapuntal apex of Bach etc
Not everything has to be completely unprecedented, innovative and original to have a lasting value, Just because controversial innovation can be deemed incomprehensible or totally incoherent does not by itself confer a value on such art. Every year can't be year zero and you can get totally incoherent from any mental institution of your choosing. (Choose wiselyWink)


Originally posted by moshkito

But PA is a "database" and there is no group of folks more lazy in the working of code than that group. What is essentially an easy sort, all of a sudden becomes a burden, because you don't feel like doing it, and it is just easier for you to do your part in the whole company/process.

I can relate to the time needed to help ... that many of us can not afford. But then, they are not always asking the right people, either!



OK, so are you offering your services to improve the database used by PA and if so, do you have any concrete proposals that will actually bring about the changes you state are required?


Edited by ExittheLemming - April 05 2014 at 11:39
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 05 2014 at 12:01
Originally posted by ExittheLemming


OK, so are you offering your services to improve the database used by PA and if so, do you have any concrete proposals that will actually bring about the changes you state are required?
 
Been there, and done that! And volunteered more than once only to be shot down.
 
It's up to them. I hope to retire soon and will gladly spend more time on it, but not interested in a bunch of folks that only like RUSH or KANSAS and don't think music anywhere else in the world is a valid attempt at creating music simply because it never got to the radio station in Podunk, North Dakota!
 
That, is a difference that the Internet is helping us learn and work with, but the definitions and desire to understand the different music's is still totally ethnocentric and sad, and sometimes, it's outright English Imperialism!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote verslibre Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 05 2014 at 12:40
Art Rock = traditional structuring, tweaked from "1" to "11" (Symph, etc.)

Progressive Rock = anything goes (RIO/Avant, etc.)

Is this what people are beginning to lean towards? I'd rather just enjoy the music and tasty sounds. There's nothing "progressive" in that sense about a band like, say, the guys in my avatar, but I like that particular "sound" and their music too much to make it a concern.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ExittheLemming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 05 2014 at 18:10
Originally posted by moshkito

Originally posted by ExittheLemming


OK, so are you offering your services to improve the database used by PA and if so, do you have any concrete proposals that will actually bring about the changes you state are required?
 
Been there, and done that! And volunteered more than once only to be shot down.
 
It's up to them. I hope to retire soon and will gladly spend more time on it, but not interested in a bunch of folks that only like RUSH or KANSAS and don't think music anywhere else in the world is a valid attempt at creating music simply because it never got to the radio station in Podunk, North Dakota!
 
That, is a difference that the Internet is helping us learn and work with, but the definitions and desire to understand the different music's is still totally ethnocentric and sad, and sometimes, it's outright English Imperialism!


Originally posted by moshkito

Originally posted by ExittheLemming


OK, so are you offering your services to improve the database used by PA and if so, do you have any concrete proposals that will actually bring about the changes you state are required?
 
Been there, and done that! And volunteered more than once only to be shot down.
 
It's up to them. I hope to retire soon and will gladly spend more time on it, but not interested in a bunch of folks that only like RUSH or KANSAS and don't think music anywhere else in the world is a valid attempt at creating music simply because it never got to the radio station in Podunk, North Dakota!
 
That, is a difference that the Internet is helping us learn and work with, but the definitions and desire to understand the different music's is still totally ethnocentric and sad, and sometimes, it's outright English Imperialism!


Not sure if you were aware but I was being  a tad sarcastic, I didn't expect you would have any concrete proposals. The charges of ethnocentrism  leveled at PA could be more a result of your misinterpretation of the sequence of events rather than any underlying reality. Most credible authorities would agree that what we recognise as Progressive Rock had at its core the seeds of an English cultural phenomenon. I'm not claiming this as an irrefutable fact or not subject to debate and I'm not English but I think it broadly true.Why do you insist that those who hold this view have some sort of covert racist agenda? Prog's progenitors the Moody Blues, the Nice, King Crimson, Procul Harum, Pink Floyd, Arthur Brown at al emerged from the same cultural milieu and their art would of course reflect that it's the soil that begets the fruit etc. Consider that Rock'n'Roll, Jazz and Country Music are American art forms at the source yet all have now gone global and we quite rightly celebrate the diversity with which the rest of the world invests these forms into new permutations. Would you have us believe that their assimilation into other cultures is the result of an engineered imperialistic colonization of their indigenous arts? (though spellcheckers certainly qualify dammit) Of course not, the sea refuses no river. Why should it be any different for Prog? One of the most significant obstacles to overcoming racism is the contemporary progressive mindset of people such as yourself (a.k.a.left wing multi culti Guardian readers/the BBC - see Pat Condell for more details) who like to imagine that a handicapped golfer is the apex of equality. If you call people ethnocentric and imperialistic you will only succeed in getting back the sort of confirmation bias you clearly crave to cement your own cherished delusions. Bravo, a win - win situation Clap

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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2014 at 00:29
^^^ Sorry, but I have a slight disagreement here.  If prog rock is sought to be bound forever to its purported British cultural roots, then it should be called British prog rock music or British rock or British whatever.  Incorporating extended instrumental sections within predominantly rock based music was hardly the sole preserve of late 60s British bands so there's no need to insist on this as the source or base.  While I would certainly not go to the extremes Pedro does here, I wonder if maybe some lazy conformity to old notions of what prog rock used to be is at work here.  For instance, just because Krautrock is a very different kind of music from British symph prog doesn't mean it's not progressive.  Er, to then bring up the wrinkle that it's progressive but not prog rock only compounds the semiotic confusion.  These 'definitions' are not sacrosanct and there's a lot more to prog rock than just symph prog so there's no need to cling to that idea of prog as if it's the only worthwhile or reliable one.  And if you insist you wish to cling, then that's your choice but don't deny it.

Edited by rogerthat - April 06 2014 at 02:45
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Svetonio Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2014 at 02:37
Originally posted by rogerthat

(...) For instance, just because Krautrock is a very different kind of music from British symph prog doesn't mean it's not progressive.  Er, to then bring up the wrinkle that it's progressive but not prog rock only compounds the semiotic confusion. (...)

Kraut was / is progressive, experimental and avant-garde without a qustion. It just wasn't a part of British progressive rock movement. That's the same with American, French, ex-Yugoslavian or Scandinavian progressive rock bands & solo artists; they were progressive rock without a question, but far away from British prog rock movement (scene). Actually, the progressive rock was started first in America with Freak Out! the album by The Mothers of Invention, released in June 1966. Imo, British prog rock started with Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane the single released in 1967; then Music In A Doll's House by Family was released in 1968 as very important album but underrated and (or) overlooked at the present day, and finally British prog rock movement got its corner stone with ITCOTCK in 1969. But, The Mothers of Invention were started first; that's the truth and there's not another truth.

Edited by Svetonio - April 06 2014 at 02:38
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2014 at 02:44
Well said and I agree.   As in I don't really know any older rock albums than Freak Out that could qualify.  Maybe there are, wouldn't rule it out.  
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ExittheLemming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2014 at 03:03
^ I've already stated that the view of Prog's cultural source being English is not beyond debate and is certainly open to further investigation but just found it interesting that there is now a substantial body of written research and publications which support this view. I'm not sure you understand the important difference between British and English? (I was born in Glasgow so I'm Scottish and British but certainly NOT English - that's maybe like confusing an American with a Canadian? I dunno where you're from or much care frankly.
I don't recall making any reference to the difference between progressive and Prog and don't even see the relevance. Nor have I stated or even implied that English Prog is in any way superior to any other Prog from any other part of the world. Similarly, the inference that music that does not resemble English Symphonic Prog cannot be deemed progressive is entirely of your own making. Not sure why you're just making up stuff that I haven't even said? It seems that as soon as there is speculation as to the cultural origins of any artistic phenomenon those furthest removed from the source all get a bit defensive, paranoid and feel excluded. There are no judgements being handed out here and no-one is denigrating the Progressive Rock that has been created outside the cramped confines of late 60's England. Are all the bands I've named Symphonic Prog? (I don't think so but as you say the definitions are not sacrosanct)

I think the reason Prog Rock doesn't get called British Prog Rock is for the same reason that Country and Western isn't prefaced with American Country and Western i.e. both are global phenomena because neither are bound by their cultural roots. (For the sake of clarity, that's a good thing)

BTW what it is exactly that I shouldn't be denying?
Confused

Edited by ExittheLemming - April 06 2014 at 03:03
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2014 at 03:36
Originally posted by ExittheLemming

^ I've already stated that the view of Prog's cultural source being English is not beyond debate and is certainly open to further investigation but just found it interesting that there is now a substantial body of written research and publications which support this view. I'm not sure you understand the important difference between British and English? (I was born in Glasgow so I'm Scottish and British but certainly NOT English - that's maybe like confusing an American with a Canadian? I dunno where you're from or much care frankly.

Er, thank you very much. I do know that British and English are not the same thing.  I however used the word British because 'Canadian' is clearly excluded from 'American' while English is not likewise excluded from British, it is a subset as is Scottish. Moving on...


Originally posted by ExittheLemming


I don't recall making any reference to the difference between progressive and Prog and don't even see the relevance. Nor have I stated or even implied that English Prog is in any way superior to any other Prog from any other part of the world. Similarly, the inference that music that does not resemble English Symphonic Prog cannot be deemed progressive is entirely of your own making.

Er, perhaps you don't recall or would not like to recall but you did say in the other thread on funk that you do not consider Krautrock prog.  That is a curious statement because a lot of Can's work for instance is (a) based around more unorthodox structure than the typical rock verse-chorus pattern and (b) is very much rock-related.  I am speculating that the reason for saying so is holding on to a fixed notion of prog defined in the, ermmm, English image of it.

Originally posted by ExittheLemming

 Not sure why you're just making up stuff that I haven't even said?

I am not making up anything, only deriving the implied meaning of your comments in this thread.  Krautrock has very little to do with English prog rock music but it is nevertheless prog in a broader sense.  If you hold the view that the origins of prog rock are English (and you said you do), then that automatically excludes Krautrock and probably also a lot of other European prog.  Italian prog for instance, while influenced by English prog, is often more classical and less rock-based and is in substance a very different music.  I do not know if the research you alluded to has also considered why say Krautrock or American prog should not be part of the source but both these genres developed parallel to English prog chronologically speaking.  Hence, unless it is clarified that prog only refers to English prog, it IS very confusing to insist that the cultural source of prog is English.  Further, the problem doesn't only end with music that was recorded at the same time as the early English prog.  What about prog rock made later that is not strongly related to English prog rock music?  Going by your approach, it would have to be excluded as well.

Originally posted by ExittheLemming

It seems that as soon as there is speculation as to the cultural origins of any artistic phenomenon those furthest removed from the source all get a bit defensive, paranoid and feel excluded.

Very good. Thank you for not bothering to read what I wrote.  I have not alleged any imperialism or racism here.  All I said is I sense some laziness and inertia in preferring to hold on to a widely held view even if its accuracy is questionable.  My concerns are more semiotic and in calling them defensive or paranoid (and also double triple jumping to the conclusion that it must have to do with my own cultural origins), you only raise questions of your own defensiveness about the whole thing.
Originally posted by ExittheLemming

There are no judgements being handed out here and no-one is denigrating the Progressive Rock that has been created outside the cramped confines of late 60's England. Are all the bands I've named Symphonic Prog? (I don't think so but as you say the definitions are not sacrosanct)

Maybe, but you unfortunately choose to go even further to exclude prog rock created outside England that does not bear a clear relation to that music from the ambit of prog rock.  So that's even worse than denigrating it.  And coming to the last para...

Originally posted by ExittheLemming


I think the reason Prog Rock doesn't get called British Prog Rock is for the same reason that Country and Western isn't prefaced with American Country and Western i.e. both are global phenomena because neither are bound by their cultural roots. (For the sake of clarity, that's a good thing)


Sorry but these aren't nearly comparable.   Country is in fact very strongly connected to its cultural roots and if it didn't imply something very specific, it wouldn't make sense....every country has its own, er, country music as in music played in the countryside.  The same cannot be said of prog rock.  To this day, it continues to be defined in very broad, inclusive terms that only require a certain degree of ambition and openness to long form while operating largely within the boundaries of rock.  Such a broad definition is not compatible with the assertion that prog's roots are English for it then becomes much more specific.  As I said, I am not averse to Englishmen wanting to celebrate their achievement but please call it English prog rock music in that case. 


Edited by rogerthat - April 06 2014 at 03:37
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2014 at 03:42
I agree with Iain (and in his defence he was replying to Roger and Pedro in the same breath so his comments of imperialism, ethnicity and racism were more in response to Pedro's assertions and your follow-on comments)


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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 06 2014 at 03:46
Is that really a defence?  I mean, if I come in subsequently in a thread to say something in disagreement with someone without agreeing with someone else who alleged imperialism, then I too must necessarily have alleged imperialism?  Wow...that totally rocks!  Dead
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