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Is Pink Floyd prog rock?

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Poll Question: Is Pink Floyd prog rock?
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70 [83.33%]
14 [16.67%]
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silverpot View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote silverpot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 08 2020 at 18:24
Originally posted by Jaketejas Jaketejas wrote:

Originally posted by AFlowerKingCrimson AFlowerKingCrimson wrote:

Originally posted by cstack3 cstack3 wrote:

Nope.  No Mellotrons.  

I always considered PF more of a blues-based, psychedelic band than prog-band in the mold of Yes/Genesis/Crimson etc. 

Inventive?  Yep.  Inspiring?  Certainly.  Progressive?  Never impressed me in that way, particularly.  



Since when does something need a mellotron to be prog? 

Actually, from what I understand they did use a little bit of mellotron on ummagumma, saucerful of secrets and Atom Heart Mother.


Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Who is the proggiest band of all?


The Moody Blues. The masters of the mellotron. And the inventors of the concept album. ClapLOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mortte Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 08 2020 at 23:45
Originally posted by Jaketejas Jaketejas wrote:

Originally posted by Mortte Mortte wrote:

Originally posted by Jaketejas Jaketejas wrote:

Originally posted by Mortte Mortte wrote:

Originally posted by Jaketejas Jaketejas wrote:

Before you vote no, you might want to go back and listen to Piper at the Gates of Dawn and compare it to what was out there at the time. It is true that some of their later music tends toward blues, but prog has so many different characteristics. They are proggy, in my opinion, in many ways. Lyricism, didactic albeit twisted metaphorical storytelling, complex chords / progression, some odd time signatures, innovations with synths. I wouldn't place them in the same sub-category of prog as King Crimson. But, if you take out Pink Floyd from PA, you might as well cut off your nose to spite your face. I think some people may be mixing up the umbrella of prog with their favorite subgenre of prog. And, if you don't like my opinion, hard cheese! Resounding, resonating, and reverberating YES!!!
Have to remember also prog rock started to develop in those early days when musicians mix together blues, jazz, folk & classical music. I hear blues even in Porcupine Tree.


I am in agreement. Many if not most Prog bands incorporate blues into their music. I don’t have a problem with it, as long as there is something else proggy to sink the teeth into. Rush is another band that relied heavily on pentatonic scales but they were also quite proggy. It is strange that the person who posted this mentions Rush as Prog but Pink Floyd as not. Odd time signatures is not the only classifying factor for Prog.
I have listened quite much Delta Blues recent years and there really are odd time signatures. And many really talented guitarists (Robert Johnson & Skip James are the greatest). Really sad many thinks blues is just that boring 12-bar music that it´s mostly is today.


Blues can indeed be quite complex. Guitarists like Lonnie Johnson (one of my faves), Lightnin' Hopkins, Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Johnson, and Stevie Ray Vaughan were exceptional good at digging deeply into the complexities of blues and incorporating some jazz. And, there is nothing wrong with blues. I love blues! However, if one is going to take on the task of classifying music, at some point you have to draw a line between what constitutes the genre of "blues" (even if it is very complex blues) and what constitutes prog, even if the prog contains significant blues components. I would argue that, judging by their initial albums, some bands (Rush is a good example) had their roots in blues-based rock (e.g., Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, and Led Zep), but then they went in proggier directions, adding more classical (e.g., Farewell to Kings), jazz (richer chords and more grace notes), and prog (epic themes, odd time signatures, non-standard progressions, etc., etc.) influences. At the same time, they STILL included quite a bit of blues even in their later work. But, I wouldn't classify them as a blues band. I hope I have clarified my point.
Yeah, I understand what you mean and agree. I think artists like Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Captain Beefheart, Dr. John and also P J Harvey have lots of blues in their music, but no-one thinks them as blues artists. Also I have just watched 9 piece serie of Country Music and really understood what a big variety of music (lots also interesting music) is under that title. Also, have to add your comments about Blues and Jazz that Afro-american Blues & Jazz developed from the same roots and in the same time, so they really have had lots in common specially those early days. But anyway I think it´s still very sad what the common picture of Blues is (even many quite serious music listeners) and from that picture they keep saying "Blues is the most boring music".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cstack3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 09 2020 at 02:13
Originally posted by AFlowerKingCrimson AFlowerKingCrimson wrote:

Originally posted by cstack3 cstack3 wrote:

Nope.  No Mellotrons.  

I always considered PF more of a blues-based, psychedelic band than prog-band in the mold of Yes/Genesis/Crimson etc. 

Inventive?  Yep.  Inspiring?  Certainly.  Progressive?  Never impressed me in that way, particularly.  

Since when does something need a mellotron to be prog? 

Actually, from what I understand they did use a little bit of mellotron on ummagumma, saucerful of secrets and Atom Heart Mother.

"More Mellotrons" is my stock answer to the question "Is it proggy enough?"  Sort of like "More cowbell!" 

I'm a guitarist, so I focus more on guitar in prog music than anything.  Fripp's precise picking, Hackett's fluid lines, Goodsall's blazing jazz-rock riffs all float my boat.  I quite enjoy David Gilmour's playing and style, but it is so heavily blues-based that it is not my favorite sound.  Overall, they are an amazing band, but I consider them more of an arena-rock band than anything. 

And no, I don't consider Rush to be prog either.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jaketejas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 09 2020 at 19:05
Originally posted by Mortte Mortte wrote:

Originally posted by Jaketejas Jaketejas wrote:

Originally posted by Mortte Mortte wrote:

Originally posted by Jaketejas Jaketejas wrote:

Originally posted by Mortte Mortte wrote:

Originally posted by Jaketejas Jaketejas wrote:

Before you vote no, you might want to go back and listen to Piper at the Gates of Dawn and compare it to what was out there at the time. It is true that some of their later music tends toward blues, but prog has so many different characteristics. They are proggy, in my opinion, in many ways. Lyricism, didactic albeit twisted metaphorical storytelling, complex chords / progression, some odd time signatures, innovations with synths. I wouldn't place them in the same sub-category of prog as King Crimson. But, if you take out Pink Floyd from PA, you might as well cut off your nose to spite your face. I think some people may be mixing up the umbrella of prog with their favorite subgenre of prog. And, if you don't like my opinion, hard cheese! Resounding, resonating, and reverberating YES!!!
Have to remember also prog rock started to develop in those early days when musicians mix together blues, jazz, folk & classical music. I hear blues even in Porcupine Tree.


I am in agreement. Many if not most Prog bands incorporate blues into their music. I don’t have a problem with it, as long as there is something else proggy to sink the teeth into. Rush is another band that relied heavily on pentatonic scales but they were also quite proggy. It is strange that the person who posted this mentions Rush as Prog but Pink Floyd as not. Odd time signatures is not the only classifying factor for Prog.
I have listened quite much Delta Blues recent years and there really are odd time signatures. And many really talented guitarists (Robert Johnson & Skip James are the greatest). Really sad many thinks blues is just that boring 12-bar music that it´s mostly is today.


Blues can indeed be quite complex. Guitarists like Lonnie Johnson (one of my faves), Lightnin' Hopkins, Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Johnson, and Stevie Ray Vaughan were exceptional good at digging deeply into the complexities of blues and incorporating some jazz. And, there is nothing wrong with blues. I love blues! However, if one is going to take on the task of classifying music, at some point you have to draw a line between what constitutes the genre of "blues" (even if it is very complex blues) and what constitutes prog, even if the prog contains significant blues components. I would argue that, judging by their initial albums, some bands (Rush is a good example) had their roots in blues-based rock (e.g., Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, and Led Zep), but then they went in proggier directions, adding more classical (e.g., Farewell to Kings), jazz (richer chords and more grace notes), and prog (epic themes, odd time signatures, non-standard progressions, etc., etc.) influences. At the same time, they STILL included quite a bit of blues even in their later work. But, I wouldn't classify them as a blues band. I hope I have clarified my point.
Yeah, I understand what you mean and agree. I think artists like Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Captain Beefheart, Dr. John and also P J Harvey have lots of blues in their music, but no-one thinks them as blues artists. Also I have just watched 9 piece serie of Country Music and really understood what a big variety of music (lots also interesting music) is under that title. Also, have to add your comments about Blues and Jazz that Afro-american Blues & Jazz developed from the same roots and in the same time, so they really have had lots in common specially those early days. But anyway I think it´s still very sad what the common picture of Blues is (even many quite serious music listeners) and from that picture they keep saying "Blues is the most boring music".


Yes, it has only been in recent years that I have discovered some of the early country guitarists who developed the major electric guitars. They were so imaginative and versatile. I also love a creative turnaround in blues.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jaketejas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 09 2020 at 19:10
Originally posted by cstack3 cstack3 wrote:

Originally posted by AFlowerKingCrimson AFlowerKingCrimson wrote:

Originally posted by cstack3 cstack3 wrote:

Nope.  No Mellotrons.  

I always considered PF more of a blues-based, psychedelic band than prog-band in the mold of Yes/Genesis/Crimson etc. 

Inventive?  Yep.  Inspiring?  Certainly.  Progressive?  Never impressed me in that way, particularly.  



Since when does something need a mellotron to be prog? 

Actually, from what I understand they did use a little bit of mellotron on ummagumma, saucerful of secrets and Atom Heart Mother.


"More Mellotrons" is my stock answer to the question "Is it proggy enough?"  Sort of like "More cowbell!" 

I'm a guitarist, so I focus more on guitar in prog music than anything.  Fripp's precise picking, Hackett's fluid lines, Goodsall's blazing jazz-rock riffs all float my boat.  I quite enjoy David Gilmour's playing and style, but it is so heavily blues-based that it is not my favorite sound.  Overall, they are an amazing band, but I consider them more of an arena-rock band than anything. 

And no, I don't consider Rush to be prog either.


I’m curious. Have you heard songs like Freewill, Natural Science, YYZ, or the sequence on Exit Stage Left from Broon’s Bane to Xanadu? How would you classify this genre of music?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote siLLy puPPy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 09 2020 at 19:45
Originally posted by Frenetic Zetetic Frenetic Zetetic wrote:

I thought PF was noise/grind? Wink


I believe you're thinking of Punk Freud LOL

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kenethlevine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 09 2020 at 20:31
I'm not even a fan but for goodness sake they are prog!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Frenetic Zetetic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 10 2020 at 00:19
Originally posted by kenethlevine kenethlevine wrote:

I'm not even a fan but for goodness sake they are prog!

I'm genuinely impressed this thread keeps managing to continue!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cstack3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 10 2020 at 01:17
Originally posted by Jaketejas Jaketejas wrote:

Originally posted by cstack3 cstack3 wrote:

Originally posted by AFlowerKingCrimson AFlowerKingCrimson wrote:

Originally posted by cstack3 cstack3 wrote:

Nope.  No Mellotrons.  

I always considered PF more of a blues-based, psychedelic band than prog-band in the mold of Yes/Genesis/Crimson etc. 

Inventive?  Yep.  Inspiring?  Certainly.  Progressive?  Never impressed me in that way, particularly.  



Since when does something need a mellotron to be prog? 

Actually, from what I understand they did use a little bit of mellotron on ummagumma, saucerful of secrets and Atom Heart Mother.


"More Mellotrons" is my stock answer to the question "Is it proggy enough?"  Sort of like "More cowbell!" 

I'm a guitarist, so I focus more on guitar in prog music than anything.  Fripp's precise picking, Hackett's fluid lines, Goodsall's blazing jazz-rock riffs all float my boat.  I quite enjoy David Gilmour's playing and style, but it is so heavily blues-based that it is not my favorite sound.  Overall, they are an amazing band, but I consider them more of an arena-rock band than anything. 

And no, I don't consider Rush to be prog either.


I’m curious. Have you heard songs like Freewill, Natural Science, YYZ, or the sequence on Exit Stage Left from Broon’s Bane to Xanadu? How would you classify this genre of music?

I first saw Rush onstage in 1975, at an outdoor stage at a US university, for "Fly By Night."  Nice little band. 

However, I never put Rush in the same category as King Crimson, Yes etc.  Eric Lifeson IMHO is only a so-so guitarist.  Geddy is fantastic on bass, but the vocals leave me cold.  Pert was an excellent drummer, but the total package struck me more as album-oriented rock than prog.

Want some prog?  Here, get some. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Awesoreno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 10 2020 at 01:40
^That's a sick track. One of my favorite cuts off that record.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cstack3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 10 2020 at 02:53
Originally posted by Awesoreno Awesoreno wrote:

^That's a sick track. One of my favorite cuts off that record.

I'm an acquaintance of Goodsall's and Percy Jones, amazing gents! 

"Masques" is truly a remarkable work!  I also dig "Deadly Nightshade" a ton!  Goodsall rips one of the best jazz-rock fusion guitar solos of history on this one! 




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Deadwing Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 10 2020 at 03:32
Why wouldn't they be?

For me it's Space Rock through all albums except The Wall and The Final Cut (which is more opera or whatever)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote miamiscot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 12 2020 at 14:49
It's music.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tempest_77 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 12 2020 at 19:20
If we follow the way Wikipedia defines progressive rock—which is, to summarize, rock music that expands upon traditional rock/pop forms and combines elements of avant-garde, folk, jazz, and classical—Pink Floyd is without question a prog rock band. I actually study avant-garde/electronic composition at Oberlin Conservatory, and I wrote a midterm paper in my freshman year on how Pink Floyd uses elements of avant-garde and electronic composition in their works, particularly from Saucerful of Secrets through Dark Side of the Moon. The two most prominent approaches they use are tape loops/musique concrète and manipulation of acoustic space, as well as the broader idea of using the recording medium as a compositional tool. I'll touch on the three examples I focused on in the paper.

Firstly, the track "A Saucerful of Secrets". This piece is pretty wholeheartedly avant-garde; the first section uses non-traditional mic setups in order to capture different sounds, while the second section uses tape loops. In general, the whole piece is an experiment in recording methods and extended techniques (e.g. slide guitar, banging fists on the piano).

Secondly, "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast". This piece actually incorporates a pretty interesting manipulation of acoustic space, spreading the different recordings of the breakfast scene throughout the stereo field in a way you would never really hear if you were in the room. They also make use of tape effects and overdubs on the breakfast scene itself, manipulating both the breakfast sounds and Alan Styles' voice. As for the music itself, the first section makes some interesting processing choices on the steel guitar, the second section is a modified fugue, and the third section makes use of overdubs and stereo manipulation.

Lastly, pretty much all of The Dark Side of the Moon, but especially "On the Run", "Time", "Us and Them". "On the Run" is just a straight-up avant-garde electronic piece. It makes use of modular synthesis, tape manipulation, extended technique on the guitar, stereo manipulation, general effects usage, as well as some pretty extreme experiments with acoustic space. "Time", of course, opens with numerous clock recordings all put on top each other, followed by a two minute instrumental section; it also includes "Breath (Reprise)", which I'll talk about in a second. "Us and Them" is one of the most interesting tracks on the album when it comes to production. Segueing out of Money, as each instrument enters, it occupies its own unique acoustic space (through a combination of how it was recorded and the reverb/delay effects applied). Very few of the instruments occupy the same space; instead, Alan Parsons overlays multiple different spaces to create a very expansive sound despite only using a few instruments. 

This was actually the focus of my paper, because this technique is used throughout the whole album to achieve a very "cosmic" effect. The problem producers often run into in creating a "full" or "expansive" sound is instead creating a very crowded acoustic space. Alan Parsons avoids this and makes The Dark Side of the Moon an album that is so heavily associated with a psychedelic or "space-y" sound, despite the very minimal use of synthesizers that are usually so characteristic of space-related music; only four tracks ("On the Run", "Time", "Any Colour You Like", and "Brain Damage") actually have synthesizers, and two of them only use it to a fairly minimal extent (doubling the bass in the instrumental intro of "Time" and the synthesizer melody at the end of "Brain Damage").

The Dark Side of the Moon, I would argue, is actually one of the most progressive albums ever, because the band so heavily—and expertly—incorporates elements of classical avant-garde and electronic music. Half of the tracks ("Speak to Me", "On the Run", "Money", "Brain Damage", and "Eclipse") incorporate tape loops and/or tape effects into them, often as one of the defining features of the track (the various voices on "Speak to Me", the cash register on "Money"). Furthermore, the track "Speak to Me", in addition to being a very excellent sound collage, effectively serves as an overture to the whole album, introducing many of the motifs that will show up again later: the heartbeat from "Eclipse", the clocks from "Time", the laughter from "Brain Damage", the cash register from "Money", the helicopter from "On the Run", and Clare Torry's vocals from "The Great Gig in the Sky". It also contains the first spoken segment on the album, which is a motif that shows up in most of the songs (briefly in "On the Run", "The Great Gig in the Sky", the end of "Money", the beginning and middle of "Us and Them", the end of "Brain Damage", and the end of "Eclipse"). The second track, Breathe, is also reprised at the end of Time. The motivic nature of many of the albums' defining features is undeniably related to the classical tradition, most notably to Wagner's operas and to the "German" (i.e. Beethovenian) symphony.

These are only a couple of examples of how Pink Floyd uses avant-garde techniques; others include the extended vocal technique on "Pow R. Toc H."; avant-garde recording and extended techniques on "Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun"; musique concrète on "Quicksilver"; manipulation of stereo field and acoustic space on "Grantchester Meadows"; tape effects on "Several Species of Small Furry Animals..."; electronic noise, vocal processing, and tape manipulation on "Atom Heart Mother"; non-traditional/long-form/sophisticated compositional structure on "Echoes"; and tape effects and fairly complex overdub and synthesizer work throughout Wish You Were Here

To summarize, I would argue that Pink Floyd is absolutely a progressive rock band, due to their combination of avant-garde/electronic composition with rock music, and would actually say that most of Pink Floyd's work from their inception through The Wall is very progressive in its approach (The Wall, more straightforward and commercial though it may be, is an excellent rock opera and is a fine example of the use of motifs in rock music).


EDIT: Despite being roughly 1000 words, this is in fact a significantly abridged version of the original 5000+ word paper LOL.


Edited by tempest_77 - August 12 2020 at 19:23
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Jaketejas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 12 2020 at 22:06
   Bravo!   Very educational. Thank you!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Lewian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 13 2020 at 02:20
Originally posted by Jaketejas Jaketejas wrote:

   Bravo!   Very educational. Thank you!

I second that. If we gotta have such a thread running for months and 8 pages for ultimately getting something like this, it is well worth the patience. Clap
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