lundi 28 mars 2016

What One Should Know About Scandinavian Prog Rock

By Martha Graham

Progressive pop is a subgenre within the rock music. The term is often shortened to prog rock or simply as prog and at times people refer to the subgenre as art rock. Before the term progressive rock came into existence, the subgenre was referred to as progressive pop. The main country of origin of progressive pop was the United Kingdom and the subgenre was developed in an attempt to elevate the genre.

The United Kingdom was the country where prog started being developed, but other western countries participated in further development. Italy, Germany, and France are among western countries that helped in developing the genre. Similarly, artists in other European countries also developed their own versions that came to be known by their countries of origin. Scandinavian prog rock is one such version that was developed in Scandinavia. Psychedelic rock was the original genre from which progressive pop was birthed.

Efforts to develop the subgenre began in mid 1960s and progressed into late 1970s. Prog pop was primarily developed to give this music credibility and more artistic weight. Instrumentation and compositional techniques that bands started to adopt were borrowed from jazz and classical music. The intention was to earn the genre more critical respect and raise it to a higher level of musical sophistication.

The danceable beats that were typical in the early version were dropped completely or incorporated less. Instead, artists started preferring incorporating harmony, rhythm, lyrical content, and compositional structure instead. Thus, to enjoy the music, listeners have to put in some effort. This subgenre is a collection of styles because it borrows musical styles from several genres such as jazz. This makes it more sophisticated than any one genre or music.

The traditional song structure of verse/chorus form, which is dominant in popular music is not followed in prog pop. Artists play with song sections to generate classical-style suites that popular genres do not incorporate in songs. Harmony is achieved through thematic unity between sections. Transitions between acoustic and electric sections are the source of dynamic contrast. Also, bands commonly employ group improvisation as a technique.

Progressive pop gives more emphasis to the whole band than to individuals. The traditional idea of a single, dominant singer being accompanied by a band is dropped in this subgenre and instead the whole group given priority. Most songs have a length of between three and five minutes, but really long pieces also exist. For instance, it is uncommon to come across songs that run for as long as twenty minutes.

The reception of this subgenre by the public was mixed. There was a great amount of criticism as well as critical acclaim since the year it was launched. Many have described it as being parallel to classical music composed by some of the most renowned artists in the music industry. Criticism resulted from the desire by many artists to expand the boundaries of the subgenre even more.

The expansion of boundaries of the genre was often accompanied by dismissal of mainstream pop music by some bands and musician. The dismissiveness was considered to be elitism. Themes in this subgenre were also too exotic for British and most European adolescents to identify with due to bad economic times.

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