Thursday, May 15, 2008

Beginnings Pt.1

Here, we're going to discuss the roots of the genres in question. Now defining a genre is not easy work and as with anything worth discussing, there are going to be arguments on what is considered what, right down to the tee. Lets start with Progressive Rock shall we? Follow along, and feel free to make notes to help out along the way. Truly defining anything takes teamwork. After all, a million people are smarter than one. Lets begin with a brief description of progressive rock.

Progressive rock found its roots in the late 60s and came into prominence around the early 70s, originating from the fantastic land of England. It was (and still is by many) considered to be one of the most sophisticated forms of rock music, influenced by classical music, various forms of rock music and jazz.

The concept of progressive rock seems to have been born of the desire to simply progress, an (often) basic human desire. More specifically, to progress the rock music of the 60s into something it had never been, something more technical, and to steer away from the mainstream simplicity of what it was. Not to say that ALL of the 60s rock bands were simple, or anything close to mainstream (especially by the standards of today). But there was a need to grow. To borrow from other styles, to create something new. Something faster, something constantly changing (and I mean CONSTANTLY, be it mid song or mid album), something you can listen to time and time again and hear something you missed the first, second, or ninth time around.

Combining the sophistication of jazz, the melody of rock n' roll, melodies reminiscent of classical music, and often pushing technique to the limit, progressive rock (lets call it just call it prog from now on) was created. Now let's talk about composition and instrumentation.

Many prog bands adopted the idea of the concept album. Basically, albums that follow either some kind of story or, well, concept. Sometimes complete with in-song narratives in addition to the main lyrical content. Bands such as Rush, Genesis, Pink Floyd and Yes (to name a few) were fans of the concept album. Many prog bands utilized electronic instruments as well, increasing in popularity around this time. They often veered from standard time signatures and tempos. To write progressive rock music, one had to almost master their instrument (I know, it's impossible to literally master an instrument, no body's perfect) which not every musician is capable of. There was often plenty of solo sections so that the players could showcase their talent. And it wouldn't be surprising to to hear songs upwards of 20 minutes. That was and, still is, the style of prog.

Now, this was a very brief description of progressive rock, there are some great websites out there with tons of information, so check 'em out if you'd like to learn more. My description was just to get the little ball, known as Prunkle, on the roll. If you're still with me, a little description of punk rock is coming up next. Again, any descriptions or ideas are totally welcome so comment away. We're in this together.

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