Progressive Rock

Progressive Rock

Starting in the late 1960s in England, progressive rock, or prog rock, is an extremely diverse and creative sub-genre of rock. Bands aimed to stretch the boundaries of conventional genre traditions by employing compositional techniques and varied instrumentation more commonly found in classical, jazz, funk and folk styles. Important progenitors were The Beatles and the Beach Boys with their innovation in concept albums and unconventional instrumentation. 70s prog bands such as YesKing Crimson and Genesis pioneered the use of synths and keyboards, now a distinctive characteristic of the progressive style. These bands also catapulted prog into the mainstream with hits like 21st Century Schizoid Man which fused jazz and hard rock influences, and Genesis infused catchy pop melodies with longer song structures and unconventional time signatures on records such as Selling England By The Pound

Pink Floyd massively popularised progressive concept albums and longer instrumental compositions with The Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here. Whilst drawing on many influences and being a particularly diverse subgenre, there are a few common characteristics which identify progressive rock. Advanced compositional techniques such as complex harmonies, unusual and alternating time signatures, and extended, unconventional song structures are common across all prog music. Synthesisers and orchestral instruments can also often be heard, as well as close links to classical music, especially in bands such as Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Notable artists:

Pink Floyd




Emerson, Lake and Palmer

King Crimson

Jethro Tull

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