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Information 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.

Although the United Kingdom was the main country where the subgenre was developed, further development was done in other Western countries. Some of the western countries that helped to develop the genre further include France, Germany, and Italy. Other European countries also started to develop their own versions such as the Scandinavian prog rock. Psychedelic rock was the mother of progressive pop.

Development efforts started in the mid 1960s and continued until late 1970s. The main reason for the development of prog pop was to give the music more artistic weight and credibility. Bands started adopting instrumentation and compositional methods similar to those used in classical music and jazz in order to earn this genre a higher level of musical sophistication and critical respect.

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.

In progressive pop, individuals receive less emphasis compared to the band. The traditional idea of a band accompanying a single, soloist does not exist. Typically, most songs run for 3-5 minutes, but there are also longer songs. There are artists who record songs that play for over 20 minutes. Such songs have often been recorded in response to too much criticism.

The public had mixed reaction towards this new genre. A lot of critical acclaim and criticism continue to be experienced along the years. This genre has been considered to be parallel to the works of some of the most renowned classical music artists. Criticism often stemmed from the overzealousness of some artists to further the boundaries of the genre.

As musicians worked to expand the boundaries of the genre, they also started to dismiss mainstream pop music in preference for the new version. This dismissiveness was taken as elitism. European adolescents, especially British ones also failed to identify with the exotic themes incorporated in songs.




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