Saturday, March 9, 2013


This week I read through an old discussion thread on ProgArchives that was started by "TheGazzardian" back on April 2, 2010 that was entitled, "There is no such thing as prog." I was also researching multiple posts and discussions about the 'official' and personal definitions of "prog" or "progressive rock." Also, I'd been thinking about my own recent post on what elements of rock'n'roll should or are required/expected within the prog rock world. This got me started trying to actually make the Venn diagram of prog that I'd been talking about for a while.

A Venn Diagram

First, I put a big circle on a piece of paper with the word "progressive rock" inside. Then I put a circle next to that one in a way that about 30-40% overlapped (or intersected) with the "prog" sphere and labeled it "Rock'n'Roll." Next to this I drew another circle overlapping the same 30-40% with the "prog" circle, named it "Jazz" but realized that this one also needed to overlap with the "Rock'n'Roll" circle. Then I put another circle on the other side of the "Rock" circle, intersecting with both the "Prog" one and the "Rock'n'Roll" one, and labelled it "Classical." But then realized that it needed to also intersect with the "Jazz" circle. The same goes for the "Folk/Traditional" and "World" music circles that I proceeded to try to add:  How was I to get them all to appropriately intersect with one another?


     Then I realized something more crucial:  The tiny little nucleus of the "Prog" circle that is alone, an entity unto itself, that is, supposedly, untouched by the influences of other musics, DOES NOT EXIST!! It finally dawned on me how right TheGazzardian was:  Prog, as a singular, independent, isolated, self-creating, self-defining entity does not exist. There is no Prog without any or all of the other music genres!

                                                         World (green)                                                         Classical (pink)
Jazz                                  Rock'n'Roll
(Prog can occur at the intersection of any two or more of the five musical genres cited.)

     Progressive Rock is an offspring, an amalgamation, a synthesis, a bastard or a love child (depending on your point of view) of elements from other musical genres. Progressive Rock does not and cannot exist without at least two of the other musical genres, for it is the outcome of the marriage/synthesis of two or more musical forms!
     So, does this mean my blog is now obsolete? So long as music lovers are referring to a category of music that they call "prog" or "progressive rock" then I will continue writing. (And listening!) This does, however, further validate my argument against the "rock'n'roll" requirement(s) of prog. For example, should a song, album or artist create, record, and publish a folk song using classical instrumentation, I might hear it and consider it "progressive" even though it contains no Rock elements. Just as classical renderings of classic prog music have become popular (e.g., 1993's Symphonic Music of Yes, 1995's Us and Them: Symphonic Pink Floyd, a whole mess of KRONOS QUARTET and VITAMIN STRING QUARTET recordings and, most recently, THE MUSICAL BOX's keyboard player, David Myers covering Genesis music on acoustic piano on David Myers Plays Genesis), so original compositions that artists and critics might consider "classical" I might hear and call them "progressive" (e.g. STEVE REICH, PHILLIP GLASS, WIM WENDERS, CLINT MANSELL, HANS ZIMMER). Therefore, let go! Ye listeners with close-minded set definitions of "progressive" music! Or, better yet, let's call it something different. Get rid of the limiting word "rock." Progressive music. Cross-genre music! Multi-genre music! Boundary-less music! Eclectic composition! Mixxed music! Melting pot music! Melange music! Kitchen sink music! Gumbo! Compost! Vampire music! Assimilative music. Tertiary music. Adventurous music. Orphean music. Integrative music. Amalgamated music. Paradigm-shift music. Envelope pushing music. "Outside the box" music. Creative music integration/synthesis. Multi-chakra music. Mural music. Abstract music. Surreal music. Metamusic. Supra-music. Intellectual music. Mental music. Musical smörgåsborg. Musical buffet. Walkabout music. Starving artist music. Jungian music. Experimental music. Affective music. Afferent music. Ionic composition. Libertarian music. Democratic music. Socialized music. Technical music. Filibuster music. Ever-expanding Universe music. Nebulanic or supernova music. Titanic music. Designer music. Gourmet music. Hybridized music. Bio-engineered music. Anti-socialized music. Music of the Stubborn and Reverent. Genius music. Anarchistic music. Archistic music. Symbionic synthesis. Expansive music. Unglaciated music. Illustrious music. Visual music. Brackish music. Foreward music. Innovative music. Novel music. Airy music. Salubrious music. White collar music. Radical music. Rational music. Barometric music. Aquarian music. Expressionist music. Intellectual music. Pioneer music. Exploratory music. Quantum music. Organic music. Musique anthropologique. Esoteric music. Inspired music. Evolutionary music. Maximalism. Glorified instrument music. Musician's music. Instrumentalists' music.

"If it ain't progressive then it cain't be prog!" -- Samuel Clemens 


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