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aapatsos View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote aapatsos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Concept instrumental albums
    Posted: July 19 2014 at 07:17
A Game of Chess

I have been listening to "Red Queen to Gryphon Three" a lot lately, which reminded me that there is another interesting aspect of progressive rock worth exploring: concept instrumental albums.

Although the definition of a concept instrumental album can be more difficult/vague when compared to one backed up with lyrics, there are albums that create this "concept" feeling even if there is no singing going on.

What are some of the "stated" (i.e. the artist has mentioned there is a concept) and "unstated" (left to the understanding of the listener) concept instrumentals you listen to and enjoy?
Have you discovered anything special that draws you back to listening to a specific album?
Do concept instrumental albums have a "kind of magic"?

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Michael678 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 19 2014 at 08:06
haven't heard it but "The Snow Goose"... arguably the most popular of these (ADER!!!)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 19 2014 at 11:28
Hi,
 
A lot of Mike Oldfield also fits!
 
But we have to be careful, because we're expecting the instrumentation to "tell us a story" and sometimes we don't get it, and have no idea what it is.
 
So next time you ask that question, ponder the same question for one of Beethoven's 9 Symphonies! All of a sudden your question comes off a bit strange and weird. And then there is Mahler ... his wife walked out on him, and on that day he had just finished a Symphony ... for HER!
 
The concept is an idea. And not everything out there is based on "ideas".


Edited by moshkito - July 19 2014 at 11:30
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Post Options Post Options   Quote silverpot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 19 2014 at 12:03
Originally posted by aapatsos

A Game of Chess

I have been listening to "Red Queen to Gryphon Three" a lot lately, which reminded me that there is another interesting aspect of progressive rock worth exploring: concept instrumental albums.

Although the definition of a concept instrumental album can be more difficult/vague when compared to one backed up with lyrics, there are albums that create this "concept" feeling even if there is no singing going on.

What are some of the "stated" (i.e. the artist has mentioned there is a concept) and "unstated" (left to the understanding of the listener) concept instrumentals you listen to and enjoy?
Have you discovered anything special that draws you back to listening to a specific album?
Do concept instrumental albums have a "kind of magic"?

Big smile


I don't primarily care much about concepts but if you're looking for a great instrumental album, try Djam Karet's The Trip. It's just one song, very well thought out. And if you're a Floyd fan it's a lot of fun finding all the clues to their albums.
Stellar reviews here  http://www.progarchives.com/album.asp?id=41349
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Post Options Post Options   Quote brainstormer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 19 2014 at 13:21
Originally posted by aapatsos

A Game of Chess

I have been listening to "Red Queen to Gryphon Three" a lot lately, which reminded me that there is another interesting aspect of progressive rock worth exploring: concept instrumental albums.


I was just listening to Duke by Genesis and the album starts out in exact the same way.  Duke came
about five years later. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Aussie-Byrd-Brother Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 19 2014 at 15:09
I've been listening to Bo Hanson's `Music Inspired by "Watership Down" lately, possibly one of the loveliest and most gentle instrumental concept albums! Highly recommended!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 19 2014 at 19:05
Originally posted by moshkito

Hi,
 
A lot of Mike Oldfield also fits!
 
But we have to be careful, because we're expecting the instrumentation to "tell us a story" and sometimes we don't get it, and have no idea what it is.
 
So next time you ask that question, ponder the same question for one of Beethoven's 9 Symphonies! All of a sudden your question comes off a bit strange and weird. And then there is Mahler ... his wife walked out on him, and on that day he had just finished a Symphony ... for HER!
 
The concept is an idea. And not everything out there is based on "ideas".
Would you say then that the musical concepts that work are those where we already know the backstory, ie those that are based upon well-known existing work, such as Watership Down, Lord Of The Rings or The Snow Goose... or those themed albums that are intended to provide instrumental vignettes to characters such as The Six Wives of Henry VIII or inspired on objects such as the cards in a Tarot deck? [no clues... this is a pop quiz - name that album]

Concepts are ideas but not all ideas are not concepts, therefore not all instrumentals are concepts, whether they are based upon an idea or not. Several of Beethoven's symphonies are certainly themed, but they ain't concepts and while Mahler produced two symphonies kinda-inspired by his love for Alma Schindler, neither are concepts and as far as I recall she stayed with him until his death and didn't walk out on him - maybe you're confusing Mahler's biography with Ken Russell's poetically fictionalised film script... (dunno, it's been around 40 years since I saw the film, my memory's good but not that good)

Holst's Planet Suite is most definitely a concept, but Handel's Music For The Royal Fireworks and Tichycoughski's 1812 Overture are commemorative pieces based upon ideas but are not conceptual.


Edited by Dean - July 19 2014 at 19:09


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Post Options Post Options   Quote richardh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 20 2014 at 02:15
Incantations is probably my favourite whether it be an 'idea' or a 'concept' or whatever. It works for me and feels very complete. I like the fact that he had this 'idea' and developed it as far as it could go. Many would say it was stretched out but hey ho.

For me Vangelis was brilliant at creating an 'organised' album that stays true to one idea. There are plenty of examples such as Beauborg , China, Soil Festivities but I guess I would end up naming just about every album he's made!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 20 2014 at 03:23
Originally posted by richardh

Incantations is probably my favourite whether it be an 'idea' or a 'concept' or whatever. It works for me and feels very complete. I like the fact that he had this 'idea' and developed it as far as it could go. Many would say it was stretched out but hey ho.
For me The Song of Hiawatha and Ode to Cynthia would tend to disqualify Incantations as being an instrumental album and Hiawatha is a little "off topic" for the album's goddess concept. However, I do understand where you are coming from, this was the first Oldfield album that popped into my head when Pedro mentioned that a lot of Oldfield fits (in reality only some of his fits in my estimation but strange as it seems, I'm not here to argue finer details since some of his albums are indeed instrumental concept albums).


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Post Options Post Options   Quote richardh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 20 2014 at 03:53
Originally posted by Dean

Originally posted by richardh

Incantations is probably my favourite whether it be an 'idea' or a 'concept' or whatever. It works for me and feels very complete. I like the fact that he had this 'idea' and developed it as far as it could go. Many would say it was stretched out but hey ho.
For me The Song of Hiawatha and Ode to Cynthia would tend to disqualify Incantations as being an instrumental album and Hiawatha is a little "off topic" for the album's goddess concept. However, I do understand where you are coming from, this was the first Oldfield album that popped into my head when Pedro mentioned that a lot of Oldfield fits (in reality only some of his fits in my estimation but strange as it seems, I'm not here to argue finer details since some of his albums are indeed instrumental concept albums).

Also 'Diana' as well I suppose. Does any Oldfield qualify as purely instrumental. I guess if someone is just singing 'Ommadawn' that still using the voice as an instrument rather than singing a song?

BTW Claire Hammill's Voices. Instrumental or not?Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 20 2014 at 04:26
Originally posted by richardh

Originally posted by Dean

Originally posted by richardh

Incantations is probably my favourite whether it be an 'idea' or a 'concept' or whatever. It works for me and feels very complete. I like the fact that he had this 'idea' and developed it as far as it could go. Many would say it was stretched out but hey ho.
For me The Song of Hiawatha and Ode to Cynthia would tend to disqualify Incantations as being an instrumental album and Hiawatha is a little "off topic" for the album's goddess concept. However, I do understand where you are coming from, this was the first Oldfield album that popped into my head when Pedro mentioned that a lot of Oldfield fits (in reality only some of his fits in my estimation but strange as it seems, I'm not here to argue finer details since some of his albums are indeed instrumental concept albums).

Also 'Diana' as well I suppose. Does any Oldfield qualify as purely instrumental. I guess if someone is just singing 'Ommadawn' that still using the voice as an instrument rather than singing a song?

BTW Claire Hammill's Voices. Instrumental or not?Smile
The use of vocalisation and vocable is using the voice as an instrument rather than singing a song so I would consider Claire Hamill's Voices to be an instrumental album and the 'Diana, Luna, Lucina' section of Incantations part one is a rhythmic chant, albeit sung like a synth-pad, so again I would view that as instrumental rather than lyrical. Of course song lyrics do not have to be coherent or make sense to be thought of as songs and many of them form an integral part of the musical content of the tune but I think there is a clear distinction between vocalisation and lyricism that we can recognise even if sometimes vocable seems to be a "place-holder" for a real lyric that failed to materialise (thinking Jon Anderson and Peter Gabriel here where use of vocable is more than just providing a sha-la-la-la type backing vocal - other members of Genesis weren't always impressed by Gabriel's scat vocalisations over instrumental sections on SEbtP).


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Svetonio Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 20 2014 at 04:38



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Post Options Post Options   Quote Svetonio Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 20 2014 at 04:39










Edited by Svetonio - July 20 2014 at 04:49
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ExittheLemming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 20 2014 at 04:49
This whole thread reminds me of the demarcation in classical forms where 'absolute' music that does not purport to represent the external world is contrasted with 'program' music which usually has some sort of textual narrative. No-one 'just hears the notes' in a Mozart, Beethoven or Stravinsky symphony divorced from any subjective aesthetic judgement (that's what a sampler is forWink) I think any instrumental music conjures up imagery and emotional responses just like any other 'song' based music.
Lyrics (and titles) can certainly steer our thinking into areas that perhaps the composer/author intended but as Dean correctly states, calling your instrumental  piece 'Orphaned Fork' does not make it a concept by virtue of your idea for the title. There are clear examples of both types in the work of a single composer like Bartok: Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste, Concerto for Orchestra and the Three Piano Concertos are unequivocally 'absolute' music whereas The Wooden Prince and The Miraculous Mandarin are both clearly 'program' music.
Just an observation: Do we Prog fans feel the need to elevate the music we profess to love above all others by finding a trumping 'concept' card behind everything? Can't it just be great tunes and textures that move us?

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Post Options Post Options   Quote aapatsos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 20 2014 at 05:19
^ we don't and it can.

Similarly, we also can observe and discuss some aspects and/or trends that we consider interesting or stir our imagination - and this is what this is all about.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ExittheLemming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 20 2014 at 05:23
^ I don't share your conviction but don't doubt your sincerity as spokesman for Prog fans for a second. LOL

Edited by ExittheLemming - July 20 2014 at 05:28
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Svetonio Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 20 2014 at 05:26
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Svetonio Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 20 2014 at 05:28
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 20 2014 at 05:35
I agree with Iain, and I also agree with Athanasios that some of these are stated by the composer/artist but those that are not are open to interpretation due to the imagery they conjure in the listener. The Planet Suite does not invoke imagery of the celestial bodies themselves but of the mythical beings they are named after since that is stated in the track (sub)titles (bringer of Joy, bringer of War etc). 

From my own inept experience of creating instrumental music there is no easy way of telling whether each CD of music was constructed to a theme or whether the titles preceded the musical composition unless I explicitly state the case one way or another. Even when I've composed an album with a lyrical narrative, the music alone without the sung vocal doesn't tell a story as such.

Producing a narrative in instrumental music often relies on placing readily identifiable musical phrases or instrumentation within the melody, as can be heard through-out Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring ... or in the Little April Showers song from Disney's Bambi, where pizzicato notes invokes the sound of dripping water before the vocal starts ... but when you strive to avoid the predictable or shy away from the over-use of cliché-ridden phrasing other clues are often needed, be that a title, a cover picture or by the use of explanatory sleeve notes.


(ps: Svetonio - can you PLEASE easy-up on posting random album covers and tell us why you are selecting these albums - we can all list themed and conceptual instrumental albums)


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Svetonio Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 20 2014 at 05:39
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