|Development phase:||Late 1960s|
|Place of origin:||Great Britain|
|Psychedelic rock , classical music , electronic music , jazz , folk and world music|
The Moody Blues , The Nice , Procol Harum (pioneer)
King Crimson , Emerson, Lake and Palmer , Yes , Genesis , Jethro Tull , Gentle Giant , Pink Floyd ("classic" phase)
|Instruments typical of the genre|
|Electric guitar - acoustic guitar - Mellotron - Hammond organ - Moog synthesizer - clavinet - piano - electric bass - bass pedal - drums - string instruments - wind instruments|
|Neo-Prog , Retro-Prog , New Prog , Progressive Metal|
Progressive Rock ( Prog or Prog-Rock for short ) is a style of music that emerged at the end of the 1960s when musicians picked up on popular genres such as pop music , rock music , blues or rock 'n' roll and added stylistic features of other musical genres. In progressive rock, compositional styles, harmonic foundations and instrumentation from occidental classical music were included. The bands involved also resorted to influences from jazz and traditional, non-western forms, whereby the merging of the latter with rock music is usually referred to as world music and the merging of jazz and rock as jazz rock .
In general, progressive means something like "progressive". Applied to a specific style of rock music, it can be understood as a description of musical design features. The musician Keith Emerson describes the genre he helped shape as shaped by a progressive play with musical ideas:
“It is music that does progress. It takes an idea and developes it, rather than just repeat it. Pop songs are about repetition and riffs and simplicity. Progressive music takes a riff, turns it inside out, plays it upside down and the other way around, and explores its potential. "
“It's music that progresses. She takes an idea and develops it instead of just repeating it. Pop songs are made up of repetition, riffs, and simplicity. Progressive music takes a riff, turns it inside out, turns it upside down, then plays it the other way around and explores its potential. "
Another interpretation of the term was suggested by Robert Fripp , guitarist of the genre pioneer King Crimson . He sees progressive rock less as a stringent style than as an attitude. This is characterized by the will to redefine the stylistic and conceptual limits of rock music using procedural processes (not surface properties) from classical music and jazz. At the point at which a new structure of conventions of his own style had developed from this attitude, he regarded the progressive character as obsolete and ended his activities within the genre for the time being. That happened in 1974 when the first incarnation of the genre was still in its commercial prime.
Interpretations of the term Progressive Rock as a specific draft style can be documented from 1969 onwards. It had previously appeared as the name of a radio format coined in the USA that originated in the late 1960s. The stations in question saw themselves as the mouthpiece of youth culture and played different types of rock music that were ignored by the hit parade-oriented stations, including long and experimental pieces of psychedelic rock . In doing so, they also offered a platform for the initially mainly British bands of the musical style of the same name discussed here.
It is controversial to what extent the genre designation represents a possible value judgment and thus shows a cultural-ethical self-image of the musicians involved. See under reception .
The history of progressive rock can be divided into four parts. The first, "proto-progressive" section can be seen in the late 1960s, in which the roots of progressive rock lie. The second phase is often referred to as the “classic phase” of Prog and can be assigned to the early and mid-1970s. The third step in development was in the 1980s, when, among other things, neo-prog led to a " renaissance " of progressive rock. Finally, the last section presents current developments such as progressive metal from the 1990s to the present day.
The origins of progressive rock can mainly be found in Great Britain in the 1960s. Some rock bands tried to expand their music, based on simple blues structures and conventionally, mostly with guitar, bass and drums , to add new musical and textual dimensions. Political activism, which was connected to the social developments of the time, also contributed to the emergence of a new genre, whose protagonists and audience, far from traditional musical schemes, occupied themselves with new forms of music using instruments that were unusual for rock music at the time .
The advent of electronic keyboard instruments, such as the Mellotron and later synthesizers , as well as the Hammond organ , which has been in use especially in jazz since the 1930s , greatly influenced the development of progressive rock in the late 1960s.
But not only the electronic instruments in rock music were new. Instruments and musical structures from jazz and classical music were also incorporated into the music in the early days of progressive rock. The classic line-up of a rock band consisting of guitar , drums and bass was initially expanded to include flute , saxophone , string instruments or brass instruments , later exotic instruments (e.g. the sitar from the Middle Eastern culture) became part of progressive rock.
Progressive rock not only expanded conventional rock music musically, but the pioneers of this genre also worked on new topics in their texts. While the rock songs of the 1960s were mainly concerned with everyday topics and love, the musicians of progressive rock were already developing concept albums that followed a strictly thought-out textual and musical concept, often motivated and driven by a social or political statement or with fictional, narrative to surreal accents and claims.
From the new, electronically influenced possibilities, music emerged whose texts were more politically and socially critical, as well as music that initially dealt with drugs (psychedelic phase), then included classical and folk music elements (classical phase), and finally jazz elements ( Concept phase). In fact, jazz was now much more developed and experimented in the free area, which rock music did not dare to approach (here King Crimson should be mentioned as an extremely progressive exception with the acceptance of free jazz elements: Catfood, In The Wake Of Poseidon, 1970).
Early examples of progressive tendencies are bands like the Beach Boys with their album Pet Sounds (1966) or the Beatles with Rubber Soul (1965) and Revolver (1966). But other artists and bands such as Frank Zappa , Cream and The Moody Blues are also among the roots of Progressive Rock.
Procol Harum 1968, The Nice 1967 and King Crimson 1969 are considered the first progressive rock bands . However, elements of progressive rock can already be found in the early Pink Floyd 1967 and Jefferson Airplane 1967.
The classic phase
The classic phase of progressive rock is the name given to the activities of the main representatives of the genre from 1968 to around 1976. The most important bands of this time include the British groups Emerson, Lake and Palmer , Genesis , King Crimson and Yes . In addition to them, Camel , Gentle Giant , Jethro Tull , Kansas , Manfred Mann's Earth Band , Mike Oldfield , Procol Harum and Van der Graaf Generator are among the most influential performers of that time. Other groups that have to be considered in the context of prog rock, but are not regarded as typical representatives are the bands of the Canterbury Scene and Iron Butterfly , Traffic , Uriah Heep (see classic hard rock ), and even the hard rock band Deep Purple .
In the Court of the Crimson King by King Crimson from 1969 is the first album in progressive rock history . On this album, the band around guitarist Robert Fripp anticipates many typical elements of the genre, which have influenced numerous other bands and styles Albums. The album is characterized above all by the intensive use of the mellotron , long and virtuoso instrumental parts, rhythmic and harmonic complexity as well as surreal texts.
In the following 1970, many of the well-known bands of the classical phase of progressive rock released their first albums. These include the album Emerson, Lake & Palmer by the band of the same name, Trespass by Genesis and the self-titled debut album by Gentle Giant . In 1971 Yes followed with The Yes album . It was on these albums that the major bands of the genre were able to live out their new, revolutionary music for the first time. After these first albums of progressive rock, the main representatives of the genre published their "classics" until the mid-1970s, on which they could develop their style further. The most famous and most respected albums of this time include:
- Genesis: Nursery Cryme (1971), Foxtrot (1972), Selling England by the Pound (1973), The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974), A Trick of the Tail (1976) and Wind & Wuthering (1976)
- Yes: The Yes Album (1971), Fragile (1971), Close to the Edge (1972), Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973), Relayer (1974) and Going for the One (1977)
- King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King (1969), In the Wake of Poseidon (1970), Lizard (1970), Islands (1971), Larks' Tongues in Aspic (1973), Starless and Bible Black (1974) and Red (1974)
- Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1970), Pictures at an Exhibition (1971), Tarkus (1971), Trilogy (1972) and Brain Salad Surgery (1973)
- Jethro Tull: Aqualung (1971), Thick as a Brick (1972) and A Passion Play (1973)
- Pink Floyd: Meddle (1971), The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977) and The Wall (1979)
Mike Oldfield broke new ground in 1973 with Tubular Bells . It was an album-filling, two-part work that consisted of many different sections. Oldfield broke the barriers of rock music and created a sound that can be described as a mixture of rock, classical and world music . In doing so, he took up a concept developed by composers of minimal music such as Steve Reich , Philip Glass or Terry Riley : the slow but permanent, barely consciously perceptible change in a harmonically mostly quite simple pattern, which results in constantly flowing music with an often hypnotic effect. A special feature of the album was that Mike Oldfield played (almost) all of the numerous instruments (piano, glockenspiel, organ, bass, various guitars, percussion, various wind instruments, etc.) himself.
The British band Camel was also able to release some well-known prog albums in the 1970s. The band around guitarist and singer Andy Latimer was particularly successful with their 1974 album Mirage . The Alan Parsons Project dealt with the works of the American writer Edgar Allan Poe in his debut album Tales of Mystery and Imagination (1976) .
Another well-known prog band of the 1970s was Gentle Giant . This band was characterized by their polyphonic singing, rich instrumentation, but above all their contrapuntal compositional technique. Each band member played several instruments. The band was able to inspire the critics in the 1970s with several albums. The best known are In A Glass House (1973) and The Power And The Glory (1974). The British band Van der Graaf Generator, on the other hand, became known for the gloomy mood on their albums, the expressive vocals of Peter Hammill and their music dominated by saxophone and organ. One of the oldest prog bands is Jethro Tull , whose music forms an intersection with folk rock . The band around singer, guitarist and flautist Ian Anderson was founded in the 1960s. The band's trademark are the flute solos by Anderson. With Thick as a Brick , the band brought a much-noticed concept album on the market in 1972 , which contains two connected pieces (which only had to be separated because of the short running time of an LP of 23 minutes per side) of a total of 43:50 minutes.
The most important albums of other prog bands of this phase belong to
- Van der Graaf Generator: The Least We Can Do Is Wave to Each Other (1970), H to He, Who Am the Only One (1970), Pawn Hearts (1971), Godbluff (1975) and Still Life (1976)
- Gentle Giant: Gentle Giant (1970), Acquiring the Taste (1971), Three Friends (1972), Octopus (1972), In a Glass House (1973), The Power and the Glory (1974), and Free Hand (1975)
- Deep Purple : Fireball (1971)
- Mike Oldfield: Tubular Bells (1973), Hergest Ridge (1974) and Ommadawn (1975)
- Manfred Mann's Earth Band : Messin ' (1973), Solar Fire (1973) and Nightingales & Bombers (1975)
The bands in the style development phase were geographically concentrated in the southern English region. From there, progressive rock spread internationally in the course of the 1970s.
American bands such as Kansas , Pavlov's Dog , Utopia , Starcastle , Happy the Man , Hands and Yezda Urfa as well as the Canadians Rush and Klaatu expanded the classic prog with influences from blues rock and country rock and gave it a particularly bombastic arrangements and production own note. Hands and Yezda Urfa failed to land a record deal in the 1970s; their albums were not released until much later (1996-2004).
In West Germany it was primarily Grobschnitt , Hoelderlin , Novalis , Triumvirat , Pell Mell and Eloy who achieved national fame and sometimes six-figure sales with their symphonic style. In doing so, they inherited the Krautrock groups, which had already drawn attention to themselves from the late 1960s on with their experimental sounds. Less well-known bands like Neuschwanstein and Anyone's Daughter closely followed their British models (especially Genesis) without really providing independent impulses. Germany's most original and most independent prog export are probably the forgotten Schicke Führs Fröhling from northern Germany, who not only impressed Frank Zappa with their instrumental, jazz-rock- inspired progressive rock , but are also considered to be an important influence on retro-prog bands such as Änglagård . Another formation was Nektar , who released the ambitious first-take album sounds like this in 1973 and briefly gained popularity in the USA.
In the GDR there were a considerable number of prog bands in relation to the size of the country. They often took on a substitute role for western artists who were not allowed to play in the east. In the 1970s, however, the bands developed their own, sometimes very idiosyncratic style and also produced commercially successful works that were almost exclusively written in German. The progressive rock of the GDR formations was rarely bombastic, but rather showed a tendency towards song-like pieces and art rock . Numerous bands played prog rock titles at concerts, alternating with light art rock or bluesy pieces. Over seven bridges by Karat can be considered the most commercially successful song , the title track of the album of the same name was covered by Peter Maffay at the time . The blue planet from 1982 developed into the commercially most successful album with more than 1.4 million records sold, although it was already showing tendencies towards pop music. Other important formations in the 1970s were Karat Electra , Stern-Combo Meißen and Lift . The latter in particular was considered a major live event at the time, which was also reflected in the studio. They were perhaps the most ambitious prog rock band in German-speaking countries and stood out not least because they did not use stringed instruments, which were replaced by electronic sounds. In 1978 two formative members died in a traffic accident, and the band's success soon waned. The closeness to the song-like and the blues was particularly evident in Karussell , which, however, with what can I do in 1984 delivered perhaps the most powerful prog rock number in German. Another then popular group that played a particularly idiosyncratic style of prog rock was Reform . Like all early rock albums from the GDR, many prog releases also suffer from a hit music mix. It wasn't until the late 1970s that the studios of the GDR developed an understanding of how to produce rock music so that it really sounds like rock music.
In the 1980s, like the prog rockers in the west, the bands changed their style towards simple, danceable tracks. The previously abstract texts have also been simplified. In many cases, the original elements of Prog-Rock were even completely lost: Karussell, Stern Meißen and Electra degenerated into quiet pop music formations, but this also resulted in the greatest commercial success for these groups. Only a few bands produced new titles after the fall of the Wall, but they still tour the country many times with a tried and tested live program and a different line-up. It may be due not least to the political isolation and the texts in German that only a few titles achieved international fame.
Italy also had a flourishing prog scene in the 1970s, although it was less able to assert itself at the international level because of the Italian singing. Exceptions here are the groups Premiata Forneria Marconi and Banco del Mutuo Soccorso , who also became known outside of Italy through the release of albums specially sung in English and newly recorded. Important representatives of the so-called "Italo-Progs", which, in addition to the typical ingredients of "classical Progs", has particularly Mediterranean guitar arrangements, lyrical singing and increased use of keyboard instruments, are Il Balletto di Bronzo (with the album Ys ), Le Orme (with the Albums Uomo di Pezza , Felona e Sorona and Contrappunti ), Museo Rosenbach ( Zarathustra ) and Arti & Mestieri ( Tilt , Giro Di Valzer Per Domani ) or the New Trolls ( Concerto grosso per i New Trolls , Ut and Night On The Bare Mountain ) .
Rest of Europe
Other European nations produced representatives of progressive rock in the 1970s; It is not uncommon for this to result in unique amalgamations of the music of British models with the respective national musical styles. In France, Ange ( Au-delà du délire ) combined symphonic prog with French chanson . Triana from Spain let the flamenco of her Andalusian homeland flow into her albums ( El Patio , Sombra Y Luz ) . The Swedes Kaipa ( Inget nytt under solen ) mixed their style of progressive rock with folkloric influences and Bo Hansson and his concept album from 1970 to JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings with fantastic echoes. The sphere of influence extended as far as Eastern Europe, where bands like Omega from Hungary ( Skyrover ), partly with the tolerance of the socialist governments, emulated Western models.
End of the classic phase
Progressive rock had reached its peak in the mid-1970s. Now some bands experienced personal and musical upheavals. So left z. B. Peter Gabriel (1975) and Steve Hackett (1977) Genesis and Phil Collins (1976) took on the role of singer. This resulted in a change in style towards pop music. Similarly, many of the more commercially successful bands in the genre developed as they increasingly turned to more lucrative pop music. In addition, the emerging punk movement declared progressive rock, which was now considered pretentious and inflated, to be “dead” at the end of the 1970s (and its musicians for “boring old farts”, in German “boring old sacks”).
In the 80s, however, bands like Marillion took up the idea of Prog Rock again and implemented it in their own way.
After the classic phase of prog, this type of rock music suddenly disappeared from public interest in the mid-1970s. The previously celebrated greats of progressive rock were now considered old-fashioned, staid and too demanding. At the beginning of the 1980s, the zeitgeist turned to other musical developments such as the New Wave . The “harder” genres of music, hardcore punk and heavy metal , also gained in importance. In the GDR, prog rock had developed a certain momentum of its own, the departure from the classic style only occurred around 1982.
Despite these social and musical developments, the Prog experienced a rebirth in the 80s. Some groups founded at the beginning of the decade had bands like Genesis, Yes or King Crimson as models and tried to copy their musical style at the beginning. The early Marillion in particular are said to have tried to imitate their great musical role model, Genesis. As a result, Marillions singer Fish was long held to be just a copy of Peter Gabriel . A good example of this tendency at Marillion is their longtrack Grendel , which is said to be very similar to Genesis' popular track Supper's Ready .
In the following years bands like Marillion became more and more independent and a new style of music developed, the Neo-Prog . From then on, this term was used to summarize the music of the 1980s, which musically related to the prog bands of the 1970s. Many stylistic elements of the classical phase were taken over and partly reinterpreted. The instrumentation was expanded, especially in the area of keyboards, which resulted from the new technologies in the area of electronic keyboard instruments. The music of the Neo-Prog can therefore be classified as strongly influenced by keyboard use. The typical representatives of Neo-Prog also attached more importance to catchy melodies . As a result, some titles from the neo-prog scene have become internationally successful hits.
Well-known representatives of Neo-Prog include Marillion IQ , Saga and the supergroup Asia . Some albums in the scene were able to gain great fame through successful hits. These include above all the albums Misplaced Childhood (1985) by Marillion with the single hits Kayleigh and Lavender and the album Asia (1982) by the band of the same name, which became a sales success with the song Heat of the Moment . These single hits are based on simple cadences of conventional rock music; the classification as Neo-Prog relates more to the other tracks on the albums. Another well-known album in the scene is IQ's The Wake from 1985. It is considered by critics to be one of the best neo-prog albums. However, it could not achieve such a high level of awareness as the aforementioned because the work lacked a commercially successful single.
Some of the main exponents of the classical phase of prog turned to commercial rock and pop music in the 1980s. Genesis was able to celebrate great successes with albums such as Genesis and Invisible Touch in this decade . The studio albums were accompanied by world tours on which the bands filled entire stadiums. Yes also managed a successful album with 90125 , which contained the well-known hit Owner of a Lonely Heart . Other style-defining bands developed in a similar manner in the 1970s. Emerson, Lake & Palmer, on the other hand, were inactive in the 1980s as they disbanded in 1979. A reunion did not take place until the beginning of the 1990s. The reunions of the early 1990s (especially from Yes ( Union ) and ELP ( Black Moon )) were an important engine of the prog revival of the 1990s.
Aside from this type of progressive rock, which is quite suitable for the masses, a large number of bands formed in Europe around the end of the 1970s to the beginning of the 1980s, whose aim was to play complex pieces using both rock-typical and classical instrumentation and thereby harmonic and rhythmic barriers To break through pop / rock music, as the composers of the 20th century had already done in classical music in the course of the new music . The spearheads of these so-called RIO / AvantProg bands were Henry Cow , Univers Zéro , Art Zoyd and Present .
Progressive rock today
From the early 1990s to the present day there have been some developments in progressive rock. The most important and decisive development of this time is the emergence of Progressive Metal . This new genre combines heavy metal , which has existed since the 1980s, with progressive rock. The result of this synthesis is mostly complex and virtuoso rock music at a very high tempo. Progressive Metal is dominated by electric guitar and fast, deep bass runs. Most bands also work with synthesizers and keyboards. Among the best known representatives of the progressive metal include Dream Theater , Threshold , Fates Warning , Queensrÿche , Vanden Plas with "Abydos" and Symphony X .
Another development of the 1990s is the movement known as Retro-Prog . The bands assigned to her are musically returning to the roots of prog of the 1970s. Regional centers of this movement are Scandinavia with bands like The Flower Kings or the pioneers Änglagård and the USA with the successful group Spock's Beard . Another well-known representative of retro-prog is the supergroup Transatlantic , which is made up of members from Dream Theater, Spock's Beard, Flower Kings and Marillion.
There are also numerous bands that take up and develop the styles of the 1970s. Due to their close interlinking and the frequent project character of their musical activities, these often form local or national scenes. At the beginning of the new millennium, bands are particularly active in the classic Prog countries, England and Italy, but also in countries such as Sweden ( Beardfish , The Flower Kings ), Canada ( Miriodor ), USA ( Echolyn , Glass Hammer ) or Japan, where especially the Italian Prog of the 70s and jazz, Zeuhl , or simply weird is received ( Ruins ).
Musical activities in the 1990s and today also showed some of the main exponents of neo-prog of the 1980s such as IQ, Saga and Arena . Marillion is still active to this day. Completely new trends in the 1990s and more recently were set by bands known as “sound perfectionists” such as Nine Inch Nails , Tool , Sigur Rós , Radiohead , Muse , The Mars Volta , Dredg , Primus , Porcupine Tree , RPWL , Riverside , Sylvan and Oceansize .
Some representatives of the classic phase of Prog were also active in the 90s or are still active today, but have often changed their style significantly:
After a few commercially extremely successful rock / pop albums in the 80s and early 90s, singer and bandleader Phil Collins left Genesis in 1995 . The band tried a new singer, Ray Wilson from Scotland . With him they recorded another - commercially unsuccessful - album ( … Calling All Stations… ) and after the European tour in 1998 they only appeared with archive publications and various solo projects. In 2006 rumors were finally confirmed about a new tour of Europe and North America in 2007 in the formation of Phil Collins. Many pieces from the 1970s were played on this tour.
Jethro Tull and Ian Anderson's current band are still active today , with whom he has only appeared under his own name since 2012, whose albums have numerous, sometimes drastic changes in style, but always show characteristic progressive elements for the band (complicated rhythm, dramatic dynamics , sometimes symbiotic interweaving, sometimes sharp contrasts between rock and acoustic music, use of a wide range of instruments, increasingly virtuoso flute and electric guitar). After experimenting extensively with folk rock stylistic devices in the second half of the seventies, the eighties turned to electronic music, which culminated in the complex computer rock album Under Wraps . After its controversial recording, the use of electronic keyboards on Crest of a Knave was reduced to a minimum and the haunting electric guitar playing Martin Barres was brought to the fore more than ever. The album won the first and only Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock / Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental in 1989, against competitors such as AC / DC and Metallica , among others . In the nineties, band leader Ian Anderson released the instrumental album Divinities as a flautist on the EMI-Klassik label . The subsequently released Tull studio albums Roots To Branches and Dot Com deal with influences from traditional oriental music . After Martin Barre left the band in 2012, he and Ian Anderson toured with their own bands, with whom they also record new studio albums. Forty years after the first part, Anderson released Thick as a Brick 2 in 2012 - as in 1972, a concept album that is interwoven both in the libretto and musically, which moves stylistically between Anderson's acoustically oriented previous solo albums and hard rock. In 2013 Ian Anderson was named Prog God at the Progressive Music Awards . In 2014, the concept album Homo Erraticus (“The Wandering Man”) followed, dealing with a forecast of eight thousand years of human migration from prehistory to the future. In 2015 Anderson tours with the project Jethro Tull - The Rock Opera , the textually modified Tull repertoire and new rock songs about the band's namesake , the inventor and agronomist of the Baroque, with elaborate video productions, whereby in addition to the conceptual character also various, Singing roles, some recorded via video, correspond to the format of the rock opera .
The band Yes released some albums in the 1990s that are most likely to be assigned to adult-oriented rock . They found little favor with critics and are rather overshadowed by simultaneously published live recordings and compilations from the 1970s. The situation is similar with other bands in the classical phase of prog. Very different from King Crimson , who, after their reunification in the 1990s, play extremely demanding and complex prog, which is influenced by Balinese gamelan music and modern metal sound.
Furthermore, there are now a large number of cover bands that emulate the genre representatives from the classic phase, first and foremost Genesis. The official Genesis tribute band The Musical Box from Canada has particularly distinguished itself, staging old Genesis concerts with the original sets and costumes in well-attended international concert tours. The Australian Pink Floyd Show gives the British Pink Floyd stage performances an Australian touch and was honored, among other things, with an offer on David Gilmour's birthday.
Progressive rock expands popular rock music with influences from classical music , jazz and world music as well as new textual and conceptual dimensions. The most important and most stylistic features of the Prog are listed and explained here.
Musical complexity . Progressive rock differs from conventional rock music primarily in its complex harmony , rhythm and melody . This also includes the frequent use (e.g. with King Crimson ) of overlays of different rhythms ( polyrhythmics ) and time types ( polymetrics ). The Prog is characterized by modulations between sometimes unfamiliar keys , the use of intervals (major seventh, second, tritone, etc.), odd bars that were rarely used in conventional rock music as well as classical music of the 18th and 19th centuries and treated as dissonant (5, 7, etc.) and complex rhythms, time changes as well as some melodic borrowings from classical or foreign music. The title Infinite Space by ELP, for example, changes from 7/4 to two bars in 3/4 and one bar in 4/4 before returning to the starting meter of 7/4. The strong use of the second interval, which is more likely to be described as dissonant, is also striking here.
Contrapuntal elements also play a role in some bands, particularly pronounced in Gentle Giant .
Hymnal elements . As a counterpoint to the predominantly instrumental, complex passages, there is usually also a song-like component, the creation of which is focused on the richness of melodies. The Beatles are likely to have played a role as the main inspiration of the genre founders . The main proponents of Prog do not tend to regard the sheer complexity of their work as a measure of quality, but rather attach great importance to the harmonization of these two contrasting elements. Only in the marginal areas of the Prog is a recurring refrain usually completely dispensed with.
Long compositions , sometimes longer than twenty minutes. These pieces are often classified as epic pieces. In many cases they are broken down into several different parts. Usually thematic or musical relationships are established between the different parts of a piece. For example, musical themes are taken up again later and / or varied. Well-known longtracks from the classic phase of the genre are Close to the Edge by Yes, Supper's Ready by Genesis or the 43-minute Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull . But long and dissolute pieces are also popular with today's progressive rock bands. Examples of this are the works Garden of Dreams by the Swedish band The Flower Kings , Mei by Echolyn or The Sky Moves Sideways by Porcupine Tree as well as Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and A Change of Seasons by Dream Theater .
Concept albums that are musically and lyrically based on a thematic concept. These albums usually tell a coherent story with a protagonist ( e.g. Snow from Spock's Beard , in the center of which is an albino), other albums contain songs that are only loosely, e.g. B. by similar themes of the individual songs, related ( e.g. Aqualung by Jethro Tull, whose status as a concept album is accordingly controversial). The concept albums of progressive rock are often double albums because of their length, were therefore issued two records and CDs. Well-known concept albums of the genre are The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis, which tells a specially developed surreal story; Tales from Topographic Oceans by Yes , loosely referring to the Shastric writings of India ; the album A Passion Play by Jethro Tull, which is only divided into two parts longer than twenty minutes by limiting the playing time of vinyl records , whose coherent libretto (apart from an animal fable separating the two parts) weighs earthly life against promises of the afterlife; almost all of Magma's albums , which tell the story of the planet Kobaïa in the form of an entire cycle in an artificial language and also convey spiritual ideas; the commercially very successful The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd and Marillions Misplaced Childhood , stories that thematize growing up, or Metropolis Part II: Scenes From A Memory by Dream Theater. Another example is the band Pain of Salvation , which has only released concept albums so far.
Extensive use of electronic instruments . In addition to the electric guitar and the electric bass , the electromechanical and electronic keyboard instruments are the defining styles for progressive rock. Keyboardists like Keith Emerson ( Emerson, Lake and Palmer ), Steve Walsh ( Kansas ), Rick Wakeman ( Yes ), Patrick Moraz (Mainhorse, Refugee , Yes ) or Kerry Minnear ( Gentle Giant ) played countless keyboards in the studio and on stage like Hammond organ , clavinet , e-piano (e.g. Pianet, Wurlitzer , Fender Rhodes ), string keyboard (e.g. Solina String Ensemble ), synthesizer (e.g. from ARP and Moog ) and Mellotron and dominated with these “keyboard castles " the music. Some bass players like Mike Rutherford of Genesis also liked single-manual bass pedals (e.g. Moog Taurus), which allowed the guitar to be played simultaneously.
"Exotic Instruments" . Progressive Rock extends the typical instrumentation of a rock band with instruments from the classical area. Here are mainly the violin (e.g. Gentle Giant, Kansas), the flute (Jethro Tull, Genesis), the saxophone ( Van der Graaf Generator , Supertramp ), the harpsichord (Il Balletto Di Bronzo), the recorder (Gentle Giant ) and brass instruments (magma). In addition, some bands incorporate oriental and other instruments from non-European musical cultures such as the sitar into their music. The instruments, which are unusual for the rock sound, are mostly only used in places as additional timbres (compare, for example, the cello in The Great Nothing by Spock's Beard or the Coral Sitar on Close to the Edge by Yes). The permanent integration of one of these instruments is rare, as is the case with Jethro Tull, UK or Gentle Giant. Only a few bands have permanently expanded their sound with several "classic" instruments, including Isildur's Bane or Godspeed You! Black Emperor .
Long instrumental parts . Many pieces of progressive rock contain long instrumental parts for almost all instruments, in which some musicians are characterized by considerable complexity and virtuosity in their playing. Particularly noteworthy are the demanding keyboard solos by Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson , the atmospheric and / or virtuoso guitar playing by David Gilmour , Steve Hackett and Steve Howe , but also the rhythmically complex drumming by Bill Bruford , Phil Collins and Carl Palmer . Critics of the genre see this “display of virtuosity” as an exaggeration that is no longer conducive to the music and which only serves to present the musicians themselves. Franz Liszt and Niccolò Paganini have already received a similar criticism in classical music .
Good coordination and independence of the rhythm section . The rhythm section of a progressive rock band usually consists of drums and bass. It generally has the task of setting the often complicated rhythms and thus providing the rest of the band with a basis for the virtuoso instrumental solos. Particularly noteworthy from this area are Chris Squire and Bill Bruford at Yes, John Wetton and Bill Bruford at King Crimson and Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins at Genesis. In some cases, however, the rhythm work is rearranged so that one of the two typical rhythm instruments can play a major role and set its own melodic accents. Examples include the “melodic” drumming by Bruford with Yes, Christian Vander with Magma or Neil Peart with Rush and bassist Geddy Lee with the same band.
Integration of classical music . Some bands in the genre incorporate parts of classical works into their music. These can be takeovers of all kinds, such as new arrangements of classical pieces, quotes, allusions, adaptations etc. The band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, who interpreted entire classical works in the context of progressive rock, excelled in this area. The best-known example is her live album Pictures at an Exhibition , an adaptation of Modest Mussorgski's work Pictures at an Exhibition . Another example is Manfred Mann's Earth Band , which uses the orchestral suite The Planets by Gustav Holst on their album Solar Fire . Other bands make use of stylistic features of classical music, but without explicitly referring to specific models. Characteristic here is the polyphonic singing of the band Gentle Giant , which is based on the baroque fugue theory .
Bands like Isildurs Bane or Doctor Nerve, on the other hand, play their own compositions with orchestras or smaller ensembles, such as string quartets. An important example of this are the early attempts of Keith Emerson (the Five Bridges suite by The Nice ) and Jon Lord (the Concerto for Group and Orchestra by Deep Purple ). There are also adaptations and arrangements of progressive rock pieces by classical ensembles, such as the Zorn Trio (music by Isildurs Bane) or Giuseppe Lupis (piano adaptations of ELP pieces). The Genesis for two Grand Pianos project also belongs here.
Demanding texts . Many bands of progressive rock expand the typical texts of rock music, which are about love or everyday things, with new levels of content. The lyrics are often about science fiction , utopias , historical events, war or religion . In many cases the lyrics contain, openly or covertly, a political or social statement by the band to the listener, such as the Marillion song Forgotten Sons on the then bloody Northern Ireland conflict or the socially critical songs Garden Party and Chelsea Monday by the same group . In numerous cases the texts are based on a literary model. Well-known examples are Close to the Edge by Yes, which Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha processes or the text on Jerusalem by Emerson, Lake & Palmer, a poem by the English author William Blake . Genesis, on the other hand, is known for using baroque-like, mystical sagas and legends in some of their pieces. This tendency is best known from the pieces The Musical Box and The Fountain of Salmacis from the album Nursery Cryme .
Supergroups . As supergroups are called bands, composed of members or former members of other successful bands and in which every member was either successful as soloist ever itself, or the makings of a successful solo career had. The tendency to form such groups is particularly pronounced in progressive rock. Some well-known supergroups of the genre are Emerson, Lake & Palmer, the band UK , Transatlantic , A Perfect Circle , Liquid Tension Experiment , Office of Strategic Influence or founded in 1977 from Bill Bruford (later Terry Bozzio ), Allan Holdsworth , Eddie Jobson and John Wetton the entire Canterbury scene, in which the members of the individual bands are often exchanged with one another.
Importance of visual arts . Numerous albums of progressive rock are designed with artistic covers, which come up with experimental photographs or graphics. The Beatles were pioneers with their album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band , on which a collage of 70 well-known personalities was depicted. The band Pink Floyd is also known for visual effects: In addition to a light show at their concerts, the albums, the covers of which were largely created by the Hipgnosis company , are artistically designed. The albums The Dark Side of the Moon and Animals can serve as examples . Even Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Yes, mainly characterized by their cooperation with HR Giger and Roger Dean, working with ornate covers, on which often cryptic graphics or fantastic landscapes were displayed. On the album Olias of Sunhillow (1976), Jon Anderson , singer of Yes, combined a specially developed narrative based on classical myths with his lyrics, music and elaborate image design to his presentation of a total work of art . The album The Pentateuch Of The Cosmogony by Dave Greenslade (music) and Patrick Woodroffe (illustration) can be seen as a particularly ambitious example of a long series of such attempts : It was published as an elaborate gatefold album with a 50-page book section that contains a science Fi creation story in a specially developed pictographic script (with "translation" into English) and numerous illustrations by the fantasy artist Woodroffe, while the record offered music of the corresponding (lost) extraterrestrial civilization.
Game types and related styles
As an eclectic genre, which has also appeared in different incarnations over several decades, progressive rock has both subgenres and relationships to different styles. These can be determined from a musical, personal and mental point of view. The most important styles are briefly presented here based on their characteristics and their main representatives.
1967 to 1978
Artrock : The style designation Artrock (in German: "Art-Rock") can be understood as an upper category for music, which is differentiated from other forms of rock music either by an explicit claim to art or by certain characteristics based on European art music. In contrast to progressive rock, these characteristics are not always of a compositional-structural nature, but can also concern conceptual aspects of the music (such as the tendency towards “large forms”) and visual aspects of its presentation (album design, concerts, etc.). The most important art rock representatives include Pink Floyd , Peter Gabriel , Supertramp , Kate Bush , Tori Amos , The Alan Parsons Project , David Bowie , Radiohead and Björk .
Canterbury Sound : Canterbury Sound is a style that originated at the same time as Progressive Rock, but is closer to jazz and performed with less pathos. It was named after the music scene in Canterbury, England . The typical bands of the genre formed around them. In addition to frequent personnel changes between the individual bands, the English humor in the music and the lyrics is characteristic. Among the most important bands including Soft Machine , Caravan , Henry Cow and quiet sun .
Krautrock : Krautrock is a musical development from Germany in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Krautrock scene encompasses several different and independent musical currents, the stylistic features of which can be jazz-rock-driving (see jazz rock ), spacey-psychedelic (see space rock ) or electronic-experimental (see electronic music ) nature. The term Krautrock comes from the English colloquial term for Germans, the " Krauts ". At first, the term was probably meant as a derogatory term. However, it quickly became the trademark of progressive pop and rock music from Germany, which also received international attention. The most important Krautrock bands include Jane , Amon Düül , Kraan , Can , Kraftwerk , Neu! , Guru Guru as well as the early rough cut .
Space Rock : Space rock has its origins in psychedelic rock music of the late 1960s. He tries to create a futuristic atmosphere by using repetitive patterns, driving rhythms and "spacey" timbres. The "spacey" music is usually supported by extensive light shows at concerts by space rock bands. The early Pink Floyd played a pioneering role in the style, with Hawkwind and Gong in particular shaping the style .
Symphonic rock and classic rock : Two similar stylistic terms can be found for approaches in the area of tension between rock music and European art music before 1900, whereby the term symphonic rock in particular is interpreted differently: On the one hand, it is synonymous with progressive rock with its tendency towards large form and performing Playing with musical themes (see symphony ). In addition, it also stands for attempts to combine structurally simpler rock music with orchestral timbres. Works by bands such as the Electric Light Orchestra , but also by symphony orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra with classically arranged versions of popular rock songs are exemplary. Classic rock, on the other hand, can be understood as a subgenre of progressive rock and then includes pieces of rock music that are designed as adaptations of existing classical models. Representatives of this style are specifically The Nice , their follow-up band Emerson, Lake and Palmer and their Dutch epigones Ekseption .
Zappaesque music : Zappaesque music arises from the combination of perfection and bizarre, as practiced by its namesake and main representative Frank Zappa . Numerous musicians who come together today at scene events such as the Zappanale are still influenced by this attitude . Particularly noteworthy are former musical companions of Zappa such as guitarist Mike Keneally .
Zeuhl : Zeuhl is a very independent genre that was single-handedly launched by the French band Magma . Musically it is characterized as rock music dominated by rumbling electric bass and jazzy drumming with repetitive structures and particularly theatrical singing. Texts are often in the genre's artistic language Kobaïanisch written. Important names besides Magma are its offshoots and successors Zao , Dün and Weidorje . Since the 1990s, the style has been further developed, especially in Japan. Representatives of this new, more aggressive variant are Ruins , Koenjihyakkei or Daimonji .
1978 to 1990
Neo-Prog : Neo-Prog describes a "renaissance" of classic Progressive Rock in the 1980s. The music of the participating bands is characterized by a contemporary production and instrumentation, which was due to the emergence of new electronic synthesizers and keyboards, as well as by melodic compositions of manageable structural scope. The main representatives are the early Marillion , IQ , Pallas , Pendragon and Twelfth Night .
Progressive Metal : The style- defining bands of Progressive Metal resorted to the shaping playing techniques of Metal , especially distorted, powerful rhythm guitars, and expanded them with progressive elements. In particular, the role of the keyboard is greatly enhanced compared to other styles of metal. The style-defining bands include Queensrÿche , Dream Theater , Fates Warning , Opeth , Pain of Salvation , Shadow Gallery , Threshold and, as a border crosser, Tool .
Adult-oriented Rock (AOR): Adult-oriented rock is a melodic, guitar-oriented variant of 1980s rock music. He is mainly characterized by dense harmony singing, but also by a penchant for perfectionism and bombastic productions. There is a special connection to progressive rock in terms of personnel: musicians of its main representatives Yes, King Crimson, ELP and Genesis founded the bands Asia and GTR . The most important bands of the genre also include The Alan Parsons Project (later albums), Saga , Toto , Journey and Survivor .
RIO - Rock in Opposition : RIO means chamber rock music with influences from the classic avant-garde of the 20th century. This is why the name AvantProg is common for this musical genre. The best-known representatives include Henry Cow , Univers Zéro , Art Zoyd and Present .
1990 to 2000
Retro-Prog : The term Retro-Prog is used to summarize rock bands of the 1990s that are strongly based on musical models from the classic phase of progressive rock in the 1970s and that take up and interpret many stylistic devices from that time. The main representatives of this development include Spock's Beard , Shamall , Änglagård , The Flower Kings , IZZ and Echolyn .
Math-Rock : Math-Rock describes a musical phenomenon rooted in progressive metal from the 1990s. Bands of the genre are known for their riff-dominated rock music and, with an almost mathematical perfection, place value on odd time signatures, tricky rhythms and dissonant sounds. The best known math rock band is Spastic Ink .
Post rock : Post rock (from the Latin post = after) tries to overcome conventional rock music and to develop it decisively. The results of this experiment are mostly atmospheric, often overly long instrumental pieces in which the typical rock instruments are used to create sounds that are not typical for rock. As an important representative of post-rock are Tortoise , Godspeed You! Black Emperor , Mogwai , Sigur Rós , Explosions in the Sky and the late Talk Talk .
New Artrock : New Artrock is the name given to bands from the Progressive Rock environment, which have been adding borrowings from electronic music , post rock and alternative rock since the late 1990s . In the foreground is an atmospheric effect compared to the classical progressive rock, which is concerned with structural complexity. Examples are RPWL from Freising, The Amber Light from Wiesbaden, Sylvan from Hamburg, Riverside from Poland, Overhead from Finland, Crippled Black Phoenix from England and in parts Porcupine Tree (also from England). The term New Artrock was coined in 2005 by the magazine eclipsed .
New Prog : New Prog or Post-Prog is a more recent name for the music of bands whose roots lie in alternative rock and who confidently pick up on influences from progressive rock with its attitudes and stylistic characteristics. Representatives include Muse , Mew , Coheed and Cambria, and The Mars Volta .
In the first half of the 1970s, the style-forming British bands regularly managed to occupy the top positions in the album charts in their home country, and sporadically in continental European and North American countries. The steadily increasing number of visitors to concerts in ever larger venues, which from the mid-1970s onwards favored the development of “stadium rock”, also speak in favor of the audience at this time. The artistic success can be seen in the international spread of the style with its independent regional branches. Stylistic influences extend into today's alternative and mainstream rock music; For example, in Radiohead and Coldplay there are instrumental motifs and timbres that are reminiscent of the early Genesis works.
Right from the start, the musicians involved were confronted with persistent and intense criticism. Building on the criticism from music journalism of the attitudes and forms of progressive rock, the representatives of punk formulated their own, deliberately amateurish style as an alternative from the mid-1970s. Criticisms were the allegedly educated middle class art diligence of the style, its turning away from the roots of rock music, its self-glorious display of virtuosity, the perceived lack of reality of its contents as well as its contribution to the relationship between musician and audience.
Critical reception by music journalism
Possible claim to art
One of the central points of attack of the critics lies in a supposed claim to art on which the musicians based their work. The tendency to musical complexity in connection with a clear cultural-ethical awareness of the participants conceals the implication that structurally more complex musical forms are to be assessed as superior and consequently simpler forms as inferior. In the discourse on the artistic content of pop music, progressive rock, as a style based on European art music, thus plays a problematic role. An implicit rejection of artistic reduction processes and especially of the minimalist principle stands in contrast to the development of the fine arts in the 20th century and there above all to the core theses of Pop Art . A self-positioning on the part of high culture can actually be proven in some cases. An example of this is a statement by Carl Palmer , who expressed his desire to “introduce young people to music of higher quality” with his music.
In the same way, however, there are statements from those involved who attribute their aesthetic decisions less to a special cultural awareness than to a gap, as they felt the lack of an originally European style of rock music during the 1960s. Up until now, the successful British bands had mostly based themselves on models from American rhythm & blues . Under the influence of new socio-cultural developments and the hippie culture propagating the idea of self-realization, young British musicians, mostly from the middle class , sought the development of their cultural identity by integrating means of expression in familiar forms. Ian Anderson describes the early transformation of his band Jethro Tull from blues rock to progressive rock:
“When we started out we thought the Rolling Stones were fantastic, but soon decided there was no point in being another Rolling Stones. We didn't suffer from that Eric Burdon complex of wishing we were black. Sooner or later you have to own up to the fact you are whitey and have to play white music. ”
“At first we thought the Rolling Stones were fantastic, but soon we decided not to be another copy of the Rolling Stones. We were not affected by this Eric Burdon complex, which probably wanted to be colored. Sooner or later you come to the realization that you have to come to terms with your skin color and play white music. "
The interest of those involved in minimal music speaks against a general rejection of the minimalist principle in art . Worth mentioning here are the instrumental albums by Mike Oldfield, influenced by Philip Glass , as well as the Frippertronics, an invention by Robert Fripp and Brian Eno from 1972, which is based on tape experiments by Steve Reich .
Criticism of genre-specific means of expression
Criticized was not only the self-classification of the musicians in an implied discourse about the cultural value of pop music, but also the forms of expression they chose themselves. This criticism initially concerned the approach to expand the conventions of rock music in favor of non-original, European means of expression. A style of this kind, which moves away from the roots of rock music, is condemned to result in music that is “artificial” and “cerebral” compared to the music of Afro-American style, which is apparently closer to the ideal of naturalness and directness.
Such criticism, which is typical of 1970s music journalism, was fundamentally challenged in 1992 in Allan Moore's musicological publication Rock: The Primary Text . This refers to a given theoretical foundation of the blues, which - not unlike the forms of European classical music - takes place within a certain formative set of rules, and on this basis criticizes dubious ideological implications that conjure up a dichotomy between "natural" Afro-American and " more intelligent “European art music.
The accusation of displaying craftsmanship in a narcissistic way, on the other hand, was not only raised by critics, but also shared by musicians from supposedly their own ranks, such as Genesis main composer Tony Banks , who rejects the idea of a musical performance exhibition and is displeased in such an appearance of the bands Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer expresses. Rush demonstrated a self-deprecating approach to this accusation in 1978 with the title La Villa Strangiato (An Exercise in Self-Indulgence) .
The lyrics and conceptual efforts of the progressive rock bands met with displeasure - on the one hand because of their perceived lack of reality, on the other hand because of their seriousness, which consequently often culminated in a distant pathos. Above all, critics from the political left spectrum also indirectly accused the artists of not positioning themselves politically in their texts. Other styles of rock music were equally accused, so the texts of hard rock often deal with motifs from literary fantasy and legends from European tradition. Edward Macan states in his evaluation of the critical reception, however, that the perception of the critics is quite selectively directed towards the tendency towards such motifs, while existing texts critical of the zeitgeist were rather neglected. Hints of an ironic attitude can be found in Jethro Tull, for example in a self-written review in the liner notes of her album Thick as a Brick, which was presented as a newspaper . A thoroughly self-ironic treatment of the genre finally took place from the 2000s onwards by representatives of the genre such as The Tangent and Beardfish with self-referential, ironic concepts. The Tangents concept album Not as Good as the Book describes how in 2008 the world was accidentally destroyed with the help of Yes's album Relayer , and 80,000 years later scientists tried to use surviving progressive rock CDs from this time to capture people's lives reconstruct.
Contribution to the relationship between musician and audience
From the mid-1970s, the dominant British representatives played large-scale stadium tours in the United States, thus decoupling themselves from the subcultural club audience of their homeland. In parallel with the size of the venues, the effort involved in stage presentations also increased. With the accusation of creating a gap between the audience and the musicians, the representatives of British hard rock and glam rock, who were acting at the same time, were also confronted - albeit without reaching the proportions of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, which in 1978 with an 80- Mann Symphony Orchestra went on tour and experienced a financial disaster. As one of the first participants, Robert Fripp perceived the growing size of rock concerts as unsatisfactory and, among other things, took this as an opportunity to break up his band King Crimson in 1974.
Progressive rock is accompanied by numerous fanzines , periodic magazines that are produced and distributed by fans on their own initiative, and articles in larger, commercially oriented music magazines. Since its inception in the late 1960s, it has been permeated by critical musicological research and journalistic book publications. As early as the early 1970s, individual academic texts appeared, in Germany mainly by Tibor Kneif (e.g. on Gentle Giant). In addition, the first biographical works by music journalists on bands and musicians such as Yes , Genesis and Rick Wakeman were created . The number of titles published has increased significantly since the 1990s, now in the hundreds. In the USA in particular, groups of musicologists have formed who deal intensively with the progressive rock phenomenon . Until the mid-1990s, the traditional music-sociological approach dominated (represented by Bill Martin , for example ), but today the haunted analysis of individual works or groups of works predominates, mostly under a higher-level theoretical approach, such as that of intertextuality , which is reflected in the eclectic character of these Special style (such as Kawamoto Akitsugu's dissertation: Forms of Intertextuality: Keith Emerson's Development as a “Crossover” Musician ). In addition, there are individual studies on certain aspects of Prog culture such as cover design or questions of marketing. Aside from science, numerous band biographies have also been published in recent years for less well-known bands such as Gentle Giant , Happy the Man , Focus and some Italian bands. There are also autobiographical texts (for example by King Crimson's Gordon Haskell , by Yes' Rick Wakeman or by Gongs Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth ) and (self) critical studies of the scene by musicians such as Chris Cutler from Henry Cow as well as numerous song books and elaborate transcriptions. (A selection of important literature on progressive rock and a link to an extensive bibliography can be found below under Literature .)
Scientific publications in German are rare. Some biographies, for example about Jethro Tull, are also available in German. Also works by Horst Herold, Andreas Hinners and several by Michael Custodis and Bernward Halbscheffel.
- Rock music
- Category: Progressive Rock
- Category: Progressive Rock Band
- Category: Progressive Rock Musicians
- List of progressive rock bands
- Horst Herold: Symphonic Jazz - Blues - Rock. On the problem of the synthesis of art and popular music in symphonic works of the 20th century. LIT, Münster 1999, ISBN 3-8258-4296-7 .
- Kevin Holm-Hudson (Ed.): Progressive Rock Reconsidered. Routledge, New York-London 2002, ISBN 0-8153-3715-9 .
- Jerry Lucky: The Progressive Rock Files. Collector's Guide Publishing, Burlington Ca 1998, ISBN 1-896522-10-6 .
- Edward L. Macan: Rocking the Classics. English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture. Oxford University Press, New York-Oxford 1997, ISBN 0-19-509888-9 (Analyzes progressive rock using the tools of classical music theory and sociology. With extensive analyzes of Tarkus , Close to the edge and others).
- Joe Benson: Uncle Joe's Record Guide. Vol. Progressive Rock. J. Benson Unltd., Glendale 1989, 2005. ISBN 0-943031-15-X .
- Bernward Halbscheffel: "Rock baroque" Rock music and a classic-romantic educational tradition. Verlag Halbscheffel, Berlin 2001. ISBN 3-00-008178-X .
- Bernward Halbscheffel: Lexicon Progressive Rock - musicians, bands, instruments, terms. Publishing house Halbscheffel, Leipzig 2010; Revised new edition 2013. ISBN 978-3-943483-01-7 .
- Bernward Halbscheffel: Progressive Rock - The serious music of pop music. Verlag Halbscheffel, Leipzig 2012. ISBN 978-3-943483-00-0 .
- Frank Samagaio: The Mellotron Book. ProMusic, Vallejo CA 2002. ISBN 1-931140-14-6 .
- Bill Martin Jr .: Listening To The Future - The Time of Progressive Rock, 1968–1978. Open Court, Chicago Ill 1998. ISBN 0-8126-9368-X .
- Andreas Hinners: Progressive Rock. Music between artistic demands and commerce , Tectum, Marburg 2005, ISBN 978-3-8288-8942-2 .
- Markus Heidingsfelder: “Pop as a system”, in: Roger Lüdeke (ed.): Communication in the popular. Interdisciplinary perspectives on a holistic phenomenon . Bielefeld 2011, pp. 153–172, ISBN 978-3-8376-1833-4 .
- Klaus Näumann / Martin Lücke (Eds.): Reflections on Progressive Rock . Allitera, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-86906-843-5 .
- The Progressive Rock Bibliography on the pages of the Progressive Rock Bibliography , an English language but German website.
- Baby blue pages (Prog Review Encyclopedia of the [progrock-dt])
- Progressive newsletter (German print magazine with CD reviews and, according to its own statement, the largest link list on the topic of progressive rock on the Internet)
- Supper's Ready (reviews of classic prog albums)
- Ragazzi (reviews mainly of prog albums, also interviews and concert reports)
- The past and present of prog rock. - Article by Arno Frank in the taz of October 10, 2005.
- Proggies.ch (The Swiss Progressive Rock Portal)
Attempts to explain
- What is progressive rock? - Article on the baby blue pages (short)
- What is progressive rock? - Article on the baby blue pages (long)
- Essay by Arne Schäfer
- The Progressive Rock Bibliography (extensive directory of articles and books on the subject of progressive rock)
- New Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock (Progressive Rock encyclopedia including biographies, discographies and reviews)
- DPRP (Chronological Review of the History of Progressive Rock)
- Progarchives (biographies, discographies, reviews and ratings of progressive rock bands, forum and further information about progressive music)
- Acid Dragon magazine (magazine specializing in progressive rock since 1988)
- Mark S. Spicer: A Review of "Rocking the Classics - English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture," by Edward Macan . In: John Covach, Walter Everett: Contemporary Music Review , Vol. 18, Part 4: American Rock and the Classical Music Tradition . - Amsterdam: Harwood Academic, 2000, p. 149.
- Edward Macan: Rocking the Classics - English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture , p. 206.
- “It is the new, more specific application of this term which is clearly intended in the liner notes of Caravan's debut LP of 1969: 'Caravan belong to a new breed of progressive rock groups - freeing themselves from the restricting conventions of pop music by using usual time signatures and sophisticated harmonies. Their arrangements involve variations of tempo and dynamics of almost symphonic complexity. '" From Macan, p. 26.
- "For this reason, it is not inaccorporate to say that the Mooody Blues, Procol Harum, Pink Floyd, and the Nice, while considered proponents of psychedelic music by their contemporaries, actually represent a proto-progressive style, a" first wave " , as it were, of English progressive rock. Nonetheless, it is a sign that the genre had yet to fully crystalize that the music of each individual band did not fully incorporate all of these elements. " ; from Macan, p. 23.
- Edward Macan: Rocking the Classics - English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture , pp. 179 ff.
- Ian Anderson - Prog Rock God. Retrieved August 17, 2020 .
- Marillion Lyrics: Forgotten Sons Garden Party , Chelsea Monday
- The website Progressive Rock Bibliography documents several hundred examples of the integration of literary templates in progressive rock song texts.
- Top chart positions in the UK were No. 1 for Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Yes, and No. 3 for King Crimson and Genesis. In Italy, Van der Graaf Generator was # 1 in the charts for 12 weeks with their album Pawn Hearts .
- The History of Rock Music: Radiohead . Retrieved May 17, 2010.
- byte-funk.de: What the prog
- "Carl Palmer remarked to at Lester Bangs indignant that" we hope if anything we're encouraging the kids to listen to musicthat has more quality ", Macan, S. 168th
- Macan, p. 169.
- Chris Welch. In Search of the Pied Piper. Melody Maker. May 27, 1978.
- Macan, p. 170.
- Alan Moore, Rock: The Primary Text. P. 184.
- Interview: Tony Banks - "I don't do anything anymore because of the money" - Kultur - Süddeutsche.de. September 10, 2014, accessed August 17, 2020 .
- Macan, p. 194.
- Macan, p. 173.
- Jethro Tull, Thick as a Brick, Liner Notes, p. 7: “Taken on the whole however this is a fine disc and a good example of the current pop scene attempting to break out of its vulgarisms and sometimes downright obscene derivative hogwash. "
- Macan, p. 207.
- »The serious music of pop music?« Humor in Progressive Rock by Attila Kornel July 19, 2015 | POP MAGAZINE. Retrieved on August 17, 2020 (German).
- Classical Music Today. A search for traces in rock music, Bielefeld 2009, 270 pp.