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British Progressive Rock 1967-1977
Transcript of British Progressive Rock 1967-1977
Rodger Scruton identifies musical aesthetics that include:
• Sound and how we perceive it
• The relation between sound and tone
• The nature of melody, rhythm and harmony
• The standards of taste and judgment
How are British Prog Rock Audience Identified?
Sgt. Pepper - What kind of influence did this give off?
-What aesthetic approaches were used to create the idea of prog rock?
-What kind of cultural relationships were used to express prog rock? How did these relationh
Is Progressive Rock more than manipulating sounds with the newest technology?
Did the studio producers of the time have to tackle the recording process with new techniques?
Experimental production for experimental music?
What were the differences between the live and Studio performances?
More so how were the musicians able to represent the psychedelic live performance on a studio album?
Who comprises the audience?
According to Edward Macan, author of Rocking the Classics: English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture
Mostly from Southeast England
Equal male and female ratio but performers were mainly male
'Young' audience (under thirty)
How were they reached?
London clubs such as
Royal Albert Hall
Open Air Festivals
Isle of Wight Festival
Free concerts at Hyde Park
‘There is an inevitable tension between words and music. In songs, music gives life to the words. But change the words, and you change the meaning of the music. Moreover, in our conversations and writing about music, our words have power over music: the terms we use to describe music, or the terms used in describing it to us, shape how we think about the music, what we listen for, and the values by which we judge it.’ (1999, pp. 1)
How is progressive rock music analyzed?
How do we perform it?
“ Yes was a good idea at the time and still is a good idea. Because one wanted to be a musician and one wanted to learn about the sort of jazz traditions and things. I would of gone to a school were there a school, but there wasn’t a school so the best thing was to form one and take it round the country as it were which is Yes” – Bill Bruford: BBC 1972
Did performances in bigger venues increase band popularity?
Ethnomusicologists generally analyze these aspects of writing music:
• Historical change
• Economic systems
• Sociological and anthropological ideas
How did the bands interact with their fans?
Why are most fans from a middle-class background?
Here are the following questions about progressive rock that manifest from the analytical processes mentioned:
• What tension is there between the composers and audience?
• What aesthetics are identified in compositions and performances?
• How did the listener connect to the participants?
• How did the music writing style determine the genre’s image?
Performers often perceived as 'one of them'
Personal interaction to audience (1968)
As performers were also mainly from the same socio-economic background, they both share the familiarity with the art, literature and music of 'high culture'.
How Do You Study British Progressive Rock 1967-1977?
How do we understand the work?
What affect does Progressive Rock have on people socially?
According to the documentary Prog Rock Britannia directed Chris Rodley and shown on BBC:
Charter House Private School was affected because a group of their scholars decided that instead of following a pre-determined career route into accountancy or something, they decided they wanted to create a Prog Rock Band.
Genesis were a band formed by Charter House Private School students who started off as a song writing partnership with no intention of performing but with more bands writing their own songs, their was a demand for young and inexperienced songwriters so they quickly evolved into a Progressive Rock Band.
Mark Cunningham (1999). Good Vibrations: History of Record Production: Sanctuary Publishing Ltd.
Prog Rock Britannia: BBC Documentary.
Time Shift - Prog Rock: BBC Documentary.
Edward Macan (1997). Rocking the Classics: English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture. USA: Oxford University Press.
‘Music… confirms what is already present in society and culture, and it adds nothing except patterns of sound’. (1990, 147)
"Weed was a stimulant" - Gary Brooker
What affect did the genre have economically?
CD cases were introduced, before them there was big artistic vinyl covers. CD covers were smaller though so it was harder to be as creative so bands such as Jethro Tull spent more time on their album covers rather than the album itself as they created a album sleeve which looked like a mini newspaper. This showed that there was more then just the music and more ways to appeal to the audience. Bands could make money through CD sales.
Companies started to invest more money into their bands.
In the book rocking the classics written by Edward Macan, he says Pink Floyd were fairly representative of English Progressive Rock musicians as a whole because they never set out to be working class heroes.
"Colleges, universities and the Anglican church were part of the formation of progressive rock" Edward Macan (Rocking the Classics)
The genre has a south Eastern English based subculture
Why did Progressive rock develop in Southern England rather than another part of Britain or the USA?
The South-East of England are more professional and white collar while central and northern England are more working class and blue collar.
Progressive rock with its references not only to classical music but also to art and literature of high culture , the genre was not going to spring from a working class environment.
Two cultural factors made Southern England the logical birthplace of progressive rock, they were: Southern England is the most Anglican part of the country and the region where the distinctions between the social classes have been most overt.