#1
Hey all.
From the description of wikipedia I didn't get anything.
What's prog and how does it differ from normal rock?
Thanks.
#2
Progressive music is any music that has many differing sections of music that don't have any motivic relations to each other, mainly to create a sense of "progress" and story. Personally, I think it's one of the worst approaches to music ever conceived.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#3
Quote by Xiaoxi
Progressive music is any music that has many differing sections of music that don't have any motivic relations to each other, mainly to create a sense of "progress" and story. Personally, I think it's one of the worst approaches to music ever conceived.


Huh? Who says progressive music needs to be like that? Hell, Gryphon's album Red Queen to Gryphon Three is all in sonata form with perfectly cohesive motivic development. Progressive doesn't refer to the actual piece of music as much as it does the movement as a whole. Introducing foreign elements to "progress" the music.
#4
It's nothing to do with "progressing" during the song, it's to do with progressing away from the normal verse/chorus/bridge structure.

Generally progressive music uses advanced time signatures and song structures, but not necessarily. It also uses more unusual scales, melodies and chords.

The lyrics are usually more poetic in nature and rarely about love - fantasy and science fiction are used a lot.

Advanced technicality is associated quite heavily with prog, although I don't think it's necessary.

Genres are often fused, sometimes purely for the novelty of it tbh, although it can work really well.

It's a ridiculously broad genre tbh.

EDIT: Their sound doesn't have to progress over the years for it to be called progressive (although I do much prefer it when bands do - it's fresher), they just have to have a "progressive" sound/style.
Last edited by benonbass1 at May 18, 2011,
#5
Quote by Xiaoxi
Progressive music is any music that has many differing sections of music that don't have any motivic relations to each other, mainly to create a sense of "progress" and story. Personally, I think it's one of the worst approaches to music ever conceived.


Doesn't have to be that way necessarily, the song I'm currently writing (and which is kind of the same style on planning to use in that project) uses different sections, but with a lot of shared attributes, and I would count it under the prog rock umbrella.

Though there's a lot of 'progressive' music out there that does follow that formula. Sad, really.
#6
I prefer to see it as music that pushes the boundries further and further. At the start, early prog bands would have been called it, but when they do it for 20 years, its not prog anymore.

Even though they dont like their label, i see Porcupine Tree as prog, purely because they've changed so much and pushed their sound.
#7
Quote by Keth
Doesn't have to be that way necessarily, the song I'm currently writing (and which is kind of the same style on planning to use in that project) uses different sections, but with a lot of shared attributes, and I would count it under the prog rock umbrella.

Though there's a lot of 'progressive' music out there that does follow that formula. Sad, really.


It's not a prerequisite like he is implying though. Progressive rock pieces that are completely incohesive are generally not very good.
#8
Quote by Xiaoxi
Progressive music is any music that has many differing sections of music that don't have any motivic relations to each other, mainly to create a sense of "progress" and story. Personally, I think it's one of the worst approaches to music ever conceived.


Are you intentionally thick?

Yes, progressive music can comprise a storyline in multiple steps, but it doesn't lack 'any motivic relation' to each part.

Progressive denotes music with a more complicated or 'progressive' approach to the genre. It's sometimes synonymous with 'fusion'.
EX: The basic rock progression is C-F-G. Progressive musicians (or 'prog') musicians will tend to avoid that progression at all costs. Instead, they'll use complex chords, sometimes even going into jazz territory. Also, time signatures and rhythms lean away from 4/4. Additionally, it's characterized by instrumental virtuosos (obviously if someone is a good guitarist, they're not instantly a progressive rock guitarist).

In my opinion, the best example of progressive rock is Rush.

All of this is mostly my opinion.

EDIT: Keth you're a lucky b*stard. You got to meet Paul Masivdal.
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#9
Quote by Xiaoxi
Progressive music is any music that has many differing sections of music that don't have any motivic relations to each other, mainly to create a sense of "progress" and story. Personally, I think it's one of the worst approaches to music ever conceived.

This is COMPLETELY wrong.

Progressive music is writing music that does just that: progresses music (itself, not the song). A lot of bands that are categorized as Prog use odd time signatures, odd rhythms, odd chord progressions, serialist ideas, weird tunings, weird structures. Anything to push music forward.

Most people would consider me a prog writer, but my music is in 4/4, or 6/8 mostly. It's a very large and open genre, but these are the basics.
#10
From what i can tell.
"Normal Rock" sticks to the basic Verse ,Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge,Chorus Structure
While Progressive Rock will genrally have many parts to it, some parts/riffs may not even repeat again.

"Normal Rock" usually stays within one key, but sometimes a 'whole step' key change could occur usually after a solo.

Prog Rock may have severall key changes which can come in at a completely unexpected time.

"Normal Rock" is usully is 4/4 timing.

Prog Rock will use odd time signatures but i don't listen to much Prog Rock so i can't give a simple example of a typical Prog time sig.

"Normal Rock" will usually use 'simple' chords so 5th Chords, Basic Open & Barre Chords.

Prog Rock will use 5th Chords and 'bigger' chords, so it will genrally stray away from the basic chords.

As "Normal Rock" stays true to the basic pop song structure the songs will fall in the 3-4 Minute ball park wheras Prog will tend to be in the 7-10+ Minute area.

While "Normal Rock" is more based in Blues, Prog Rock is more jazz influenced if anything.

I hope that helps somewhat.

Check out King Crimson - 21st century schizoid man it's a really great Prog song.
#11
I rarely change time signatures, only modulate a few times during a song, chords played by one instrument are most of the time power chords, triads or seventh chords. I don't stick to 'normal' song structures, though.
The thing I don't like about most prog, is that a lot of bands use 'techniques' like this, only to make their music progressive and/or weird. I think this is what Xiaoxi means, and I would agree with him in that case.

(If I'm wrong about what you mean Xiaoxi, by all means, correct me :p
#12
It's hard to draw a specific line for prog vs. normal, sometimes, but I view it as rock that "progresses" beyond the realm of pop music, usually by incorporating classical and jazz influences.
It's typically characterized by:
Multi-part songs that extend beyond a verse-chorus-verse format; typically, you may have multi-part suites with different melodies.
Musical skill: Many bands played in uncommon time signatures, or featured intricate harmonies or highly technical playing.
Non-pop-music influences, especially from British folk and classical music, though there are hints of jazz.
Uncommon instrumentation: Many prog bands had non-guitar instruments sharing the spotlight, such as pianos and organs; Jethro Tull was famous for featuring a lead flautist.
Long songs: Many prog bands did manage to hit the pop charts, but their albums also tended to feature looooong songs, often with extended instrumental sections. Jethro Tull managed to have a album-length song with Thick As A Brick
Lyric writing: Typically, the lyrics (if there were any) dealt with fantasy or sci-fi topics; sometimes, in the sense of using fantasy as an allegory, sometimes just to write songs about dragons or spaceships or whatever.
Britishness: Most progressive bands seemed to be from the UK, though there were also a few from elsewhere in Europe (notably the Dutch group Focus, famous for their crazy flute-and-yodelling masterpiece "Hocus Pocus") and a couple in America (the most notable being Kansas, of "Carry On Wayward Son" fame).
Pompousness: If you hadn't guessed, 20-minute epics about faeries and spaceships with flute solos do tend to sound pretty pretentious.

It's not for everyone, but if you're in the mood for complex, cereberal music, it can be cool.
Last edited by Tha Funkinator at May 18, 2011,
#13
Personally, it's unnecessary to deem the music "progressive" in the sense that it uses new concepts and techniques to advance the genre of music. If that was the case, an awful lot of music would be "progressive". In cultures of music like classical, jazz, and rock, musical advancement is a natural tendency. There is absolutely no need to put it on a podium.

Furthermore, techniques such as uncommon time signatures and scales have been used heavily already by composers by the mid 20th century (Ives, Stravinsky, Bartok, etc). You don't see them being called "progressive". And while these things may be completely foreign to rock music to begin with, it has certainly been in wide use by now.

So the progressive music that I want to clearly label may not be the progressive music that you are thinking of. But I think what I said is a much more substantial distinction than simply music that "sounds more advanced", which is a subjective assessment. It is not a subjective assessment to say there are more than 4 or 5 sections that have no motivic relations to each other, which can be methodically quantified.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#15
Quote by Keth
I agree with you, progressive is basically a misnomer, but somehow it stuck with the people/genre (most likely because it sounds 'cool').

I totally get that, and that's why I insist on being logically consistent rather than to just stick to this false conventional wisdom, which does nothing but cause confusion, as evidenced by many people admitting they don't know where the line is between prog and "normal" music.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#16
Agreed. But it's kind of like the Big Bang theory. Of course there wasn't a literal big bang, but most people wouldn't know what you were talking about if you named it something more logically correct.


(I like physics-related comparisons )
#17
^Yea but there is no dispute or confusion about what the big bang theory is. It's a misnomer but the idea and description behind this misnomer is very unequivocal. Meanwhile, "progressive" music is both a misnomer AND there isn't a logical explanation in the actual concept.

Logic above all!

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#18
Quote by Xiaoxi
^Yea but there is no dispute or confusion about what the big bang theory is. It's a misnomer but the idea and description behind this misnomer is very unequivocal. Meanwhile, "progressive" music is both a misnomer AND there isn't a logical explanation in the actual concept.

Logic above all!


It's not illogical at all. Historically progressive rock is a movement in Britain that focused on progressing rock music by introducing new, foreign elements into it. By mixing rock and other genres such as classical, jazz and world music they achieved an entirely new sub-genre. That's what it is historically. It's debatable how "progressive" some prog rock bands are today but there's no denying that some are pushing the boundaries even further. Notwithstanding, "70s progressive rock" has a definite sound that is often emulated today and therefore they can hardly be considered "progressive", but lest they get mixed up with "normal rock bands" the name stuck. You can't pretend like progressive rock is the normal evolution of rock music because as a revolution it completely failed. Progressive rock is not popular at all nowadays.
#19
Quote by Sóknardalr
It's not illogical at all. Historically progressive rock is a movement in Britain that focused on progressing rock music by introducing new, foreign elements into it. By mixing rock and other genres such as classical, jazz and world music they achieved an entirely new sub-genre. That's what it is historically. It's debatable how "progressive" some prog rock bands are today but there's no denying that some are pushing the boundaries even further. Notwithstanding, "70s progressive rock" has a definite sound that is often emulated today and therefore they can hardly be considered "progressive", but lest they get mixed up with "normal rock bands" the name stuck. You can't pretend like progressive rock is the normal evolution of rock music because as a revolution it completely failed. Progressive rock is not popular at all nowadays.


I agree with this: it may a misnomer when applied to some of today's bands, although there is quite a few that have progressed from the more modern rock sound into prog.

I don't entirely agree with the last statement however, Prog is probably at the most popular that it's been for a while due to the rise of "new prog" bands, such as Porcupine Tree (who I know are older, but are much more popular now then they were) and the Djent bands.
#20
Quote by benonbass1
I agree with this: it may a misnomer when applied to some of today's bands, although there is quite a few that have progressed from the more modern rock sound into prog.

I don't entirely agree with the last statement however, Prog is probably at the most popular that it's been for a while due to the rise of "new prog" bands, such as Porcupine Tree (who I know are older, but are much more popular now then they were) and the Djent bands.


I mean in comparison to rock music. Of course prog rock is very popular and has a lot of fans, but standard rock is much more popular. Prog rock isn't even relevant to the mainstream audience, therefore prog rock never "broke through". There was no switch like there was with the middle ages and the Renaissance and therefore it can't be considered a natural evolution.
#21
Quote by Sóknardalr
It's not illogical at all. Historically progressive rock is a movement in Britain that focused on progressing rock music by introducing new, foreign elements into it. By mixing rock and other genres such as classical, jazz and world music they achieved an entirely new sub-genre. That's what it is historically. It's debatable how "progressive" some prog rock bands are today but there's no denying that some are pushing the boundaries even further. Notwithstanding, "70s progressive rock" has a definite sound that is often emulated today and therefore they can hardly be considered "progressive", but lest they get mixed up with "normal rock bands" the name stuck. You can't pretend like progressive rock is the normal evolution of rock music because as a revolution it completely failed. Progressive rock is not popular at all nowadays.


Your totally right about Progressive ROCK being a movement during the 70's however, I think Xiaoxi is on about "progressive" being misused as a musical term for any type of music.

From what i can tell he is saying "progressive" is a stupid term as all music genres progresses somehow.

But i could be wrong.
#22
So I've got this down:
Unusual time sigs.
more ''advanced'' chords
less usual structures
poetic lyrics
different sections
Can I call Steve Vai progressive?
#23
Quote by SumFX
Your totally right about Progressive ROCK being a movement during the 70's however, I think Xiaoxi is on about "progressive" being misused as a musical term for any type of music.

From what i can tell he is saying "progressive" is a stupid term as all music genres progresses somehow.

But i could be wrong.


Of course, but evolution takes time. In classical and jazz music a sudden and illogical evolution is referred to as "avant-garde" usually, even though that term is also nonsensical (perhaps even more so). I don't see any difference. Two terms describing the same thing, only one of them is linked to a specific historical event. Kind of like how the beginning of the end of the Cold War is referred to as the "détente" between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, whereas you don't usually see the term anywhere else.
#24
Quote by Xiaoxi
Personally, it's unnecessary to deem the music "progressive" in the sense that it uses new concepts and techniques to advance the genre of music. If that was the case, an awful lot of music would be "progressive". In cultures of music like classical, jazz, and rock, musical advancement is a natural tendency. There is absolutely no need to put it on a podium.


You have to look at it in the historical sense. What was rock music in the 50's and 60's like? Pretty stale (looking at it analytically). Lots of I-IV-V's and very simple melodies. If anything, The Beatles could be considered the band that started actual progressive music. They are THE band that progressed music. But it wasn't a sudden change.

And I don't think that it's put on a podium but a lot of people do it just because it makes them sound better than they are.

Furthermore, techniques such as uncommon time signatures and scales have been used heavily already by composers by the mid 20th century (Ives, Stravinsky, Bartok, etc). You don't see them being called "progressive". And while these things may be completely foreign to rock music to begin with, it has certainly been in wide use by now.


No, they weren't called progressive. But they are in an entirely different subgenre of music (of the Classical variety).

And that's what made things "progressive"... the foreign ideas. They may not be foreign to classical music but they were to rock. And enough bands did it that made enough of an impact FAST enough that it became it's own genre and a pissing contest between bands.

Frank Zappa FTW?

So the progressive music that I want to clearly label may not be the progressive music that you are thinking of. But I think what I said is a much more substantial distinction than simply music that "sounds more advanced", which is a subjective assessment. It is not a subjective assessment to say there are more than 4 or 5 sections that have no motivic relations to each other, which can be methodically quantified.


It seems like you're just looking at the bad prog bands. The ones that DO have 4 or 5 sections that aren't related whatsoever. There are tons of extremely brilliant prog bands, and with the rise of djent (in my opinion), they're learning how to use a tasteful melody over tasteful progressions but still keep a nice groove that anyone can listen to, no matter the time signature.