Writing Progressive Metal/Rock

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by cult-leader-of-djent, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. cult-leader-of-djent

    cult-leader-of-djent SS.org Regular

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    Lately I've found myself trying to find the "Progressive Song Structure" but til' now I've discovered the true meaning of it.

    This is very eye opening to me for sure.

    I'd like to share an exert I've found on another forum website with you.
    Progressive Song Structure - Jordan Rudess' Community Forums


    "Exert"
    Progressive is an attitude you have to FEEL inside. Progressive is experimenting BUT NOT ONLY experimenting, and this doesn't EXACTLY mean doing ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ songs. Progressive is technique BUT ALSO feeling. There's no real definition for Progressive actually. It's something you have to FEEL. You can do A1B1C5D4E2 songs and come out with rubbish. You can play solos at warp 9.5 and still be as prog as Avril Lavigne - but teenagers will hate you 'cos they'll get bored.
    Oh and, by the way: Pull Me Under is the model of a GOOD PROGRESSIVE METAL song. Dance of eternity is the model of a SHOW OFF I CAN PLAY REALLY FAST song (after Jordan's piano solo it's damn hard to go on with the listening...).
    Not that I don't ADORE the technique that Jordan puts in the song.
    But Dream Theater hasn't written a chapter in the bible of Prog since 1992. Just a couple of lines in 1993 and a small note in 1995.

    Prog is a mystery and is all about changes, and is in the end music that turns on your mind. There's no progressive structure, because progressive isn't a structure, something you can bound into chords nor scales nor modes.
    If you feel you ARE progressive, just write what comes into your head, and you will know what a prog artist would put here and there.
    If you don't feel like this, just listen. Listen to a whole lot of prog bands - and NOT only prog metal. Kansas (Leftoverture), ELP (Tarkus), Yes (CTTE), Rush (2112), just to name a few of the best known!

    It's futile to say IMHO since I strongly believe this IS progressive and no further word is needed.
    Deceit.

    :hbang:

    Just makes me wonder
     
  2. celticelk

    celticelk SS.org Regular

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    Shitty songwriting is shitty songwriting whether it's simple or complex.

    Also: excerpt. "Exert" means "to put forth effort."
     
  3. NaYoN

    NaYoN Heavy Blog Is Heavy

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    [​IMG]

    To elaborate: I disagree. Progressive music, to me, means that you have a progression in your song that is beyond the typical song structure of verse chorus verse chorus interlude chorus or variants. Everything else is bells and whistles. Yes, being forward-thinking is important, but progressiveness is also quantifiable in my opinion, not just a state of mind or some hippie crap like that.
     
  4. vampiregenocide

    vampiregenocide SS.org Regular

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    That's not true. Progressive music is music that strives not to adhere to the popular conventions of musical composition, favouring non-linear structures, improvisation, a wider range of musical influences. The songs 'progress' instead of repeating themselves, as typical verse/chorus/verse tracks tend to do.

    All music has structure, what changes is the form it takes. And all music can be broken down to its basic components.




    If you want a guide to writing progressive music then it is this: do not allow yourself any barriers. Do not confine yourself to what you perceive to be the way to write music, instead try to do the opposite of what you might normally do. The greatest works of art were made by artists working outside their comfort zone, against the grain.
     
  5. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    The sentence you quoted is saying that there is no speceific structure, chord type/progression, or scale that is "progressive". Take the blues formula for example: 12-bar structure, dominant 7ths in a I-IV-V progression, and using the pentatonic and blues scales, and occasioanlly the Dorian mode. There is no equivalent formula for progressive music because progressive music seeks to progress, or move beyond the status quo.
     
  6. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    "Progressive" is, indeed, a mindset, NOT a genre. Most of what passes as "progressive metal" is more of a rehashing of established ideas. Art and society work in this way: some new ideas come along, they're rough at first, then they are expanded and tweaked until the ideas are realized to their full capacity. Then, something new comes along and the process repeats. We tend to remember the forces at the beginning of this cycle (the Innovator) and the ones at the end of the cycle (the Exemplar), simply because you can basically get the whole story by looking at the extremes. I will also point out that this process favors function at the Innovator stage and progresses toward design approaching the Exemplar stage. Take the history of electric lighting:

    [​IMG]

    An early arc lamp. Very utilitarian. The people that used these were so desperate for a light source that they were willing to put up with the racket that they produced. An imperfect design, but it worked and it got the ball rolling.

    [​IMG]

    Modern Spöka lamps from Ikea. Much cuter, doesn't really illuminate well, but we have enough lamps by now that we can afford the luxury of a night light with a cartoony face.

    Music is an artform, so it's difficult to say that we're concerned with function more than we are with design at some point, but if you think of it, this does exist: blues came out of field hollers, work songs, spirituals, music made by African-American slaves to establish their common identity, to coordinate work, to communicate messages through metaphor that were otherwise forbidden by the Euro-American power structure. Fast forward to Joe Bonamassa. Times change, huh?

    Of course, rock 'n' roll came out of the blues. Its original function was dance. Within a few decades, practitioners of rock music were getting tired of the dancey stuff and wanted more aural stimulation from the music, so they began blending jazz, classical, non-occidental, and electronic elements into their music. This was done with the purpose of progressing the music from the function stage to the design stage. They succeeded: nowadays, you'll hear all sorts of cool harmony on the radio, all sorts of electronically synthesized sounds, all sorts of instruments and styles, all sorts of subject matter, actual attention to form and arrangement. I'm sorry, but this isn't very expressive lyric writing. It needed to change. That said, modern music that uses the language of the progressive rock trend of the 1960's and 1970's is not progressive rock. Dream Theater is closer to the Exemplar status than they are the Innovator status, or something in between that facilitated the progress from Innovator to Exemplar, and are therefore not a progressive band.
     
  7. smackhead999

    smackhead999 Well-Known Member

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    Im not even sure I want to get involved here, but....

    I love Dream Theater. But you are right. What they are doing would have been more progressive had they been doing it 30 years ago. They have a unique sound and are very good musicians, no doubt. If you need to put them in a genre, it would probably be prog metal/rock... which is fine in an attempt to label their sound. But because you can label them with a sound, that kind of removes the true progressiveness.

    In my opinion, something like Animals As Leaders is a sound that I personally cant fix a label to, because I am not aware of anyone else that really is doing what they are doing. When I listen to AAL, I find myself expecting what the next phrase should be according to what I have been exposed to, but then they give you something different, and you are all like "What!?!" To me, they have progressed out of the status quo.
     
  8. vampiregenocide

    vampiregenocide SS.org Regular

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    Ah yes I see what he meant now, ignore that part of my post.
     
  9. cult-leader-of-djent

    cult-leader-of-djent SS.org Regular

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    This thread has really blown up. Some people have made very potent points on the subject matter.
     
  10. Amaranthine Vitality

    Amaranthine Vitality .

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    progressive |prəˈgresiv|
    adjective
    1 happening or developing gradually or in stages; proceeding step by step

    In order for there to be progressive bands there must be non-progressive bands/music.
    In a sense the non-progressive bands, indirectly, contribute to the progression.
    If every band was "progressive" the term would have no merit because they would all be doing the same thing, which is progressing music.
    If every band was doing something extraordinarily different where would you begin to use the term "progressive?"
     
  11. viesczy

    viesczy SS.org Regular

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    While I love me some virtuoso level pieces that demand hours of rehearsal, you know what is even harder?

    Writing the great hook within that piece of music.

    The great composers had the gift to be able to write challenging AND memorable music. They could move the spirit, the body, the ear and the heart with their compositions. That is harder than any of the hardest technical flourishes we might come up with while our most diabolic!

    Think about it, fomr JS Bach with those great hooks filled "logic" that won't let you go once it gets you in its grips, to Mozart's melodic command to Prince's funk. Yes, there were a few between that skipped over, but just showing you wide variance of what I mean.

    Writing challenging pieces is fun, performing them is a personal challenge, but remember that the music written should be as much for your audience to apprecieate its musical aspects as well as your technical abilities.

    One of the hardest things to do, IMNSHO, is writing a melody and then apply that melody over a completely different chord progression. How that change impacts the music is amazing!

    Derek
     
  12. SirMyghin

    SirMyghin The Dirt Guy Contributor

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    Everything you need to understand the term progressive is in Schecterwhore's post (no surprise there).

    It seems a common misunderstanding here is mistaking development for progressiveness. You see that opinion a lot that 'progressive is music that goes somewhere'. The is just development.

    If your song is without development, it stinks. (with very few exceptions). Most development you see in modern pop music occurs in the melody if anywhere, not often in the harmony. A lot of the 'progressive' metal we see around here shows development in the harmony as well as the melody (and still is not my cup of tea). You tend to see that with the so called 'through written' stuff, which has 'no repeating riffs', but those riffs are often just some development on what came before. It is good practice, by all means, to see where you can take ideas, we just need to keep the terminology straight so we can speak the language.
     
  13. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    Attention deficit disorder: the development section of the new millennium.
     
    SirMyghin likes this.
  14. SirMyghin

    SirMyghin The Dirt Guy Contributor

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    ^^

    Holy fuck :lol:
     
  15. Rick

    Rick ALL HAIL DJOD Forum MVP

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    :lol:
     

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