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Prog-Rock Sampler I
Some of the greatest music of the late 1960s and early 70s was created and produced by bands that fall into the Progressive Rock category. Some of the items that put songs in this world include- extended and experimental compositions, complex harmonies and arrangements, classically influenced themes and techniques, and frequently a high level of virtuosity on the part of the musicians.
The two best-known purveyors of the style were probably Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Both featured keyboard wizardry at the hands of Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson, dynamic bass players in Chris Squire and Greg Lake, drummers at the top of the percussion world in Bill Bruford and Carl Palmer, strong and distinctive vocalists with Jon Anderson and Lake (who was also a great acoustic guitarist), and of course Yes had one of the most astonishing guitarists of our time with Steve Howe.
Other pioneering bands for the genre would include King Crimson (with Lake on bass and vocals), and The Nice, which is where Keith Emerson started experimenting with classical themes and extended solo sections. The early days cannot be brought up without mentioning Genesis and Gentle Giant, as they were also very important in the evolution of the style.
Most Prog-Rock tunes feature complex layers of instruments and parts that really require a talented ensemble to reproduce but many songs have interesting and playable sections that can be done by a solo guitarist. This set of lessons contains exactly that and represents a range of different sub-genres.
River Of Life is from the Italian band PFM. This lesson goes over the introduction, which is really a short classical guitar piece that becomes Baroque-like with the addition of piano, bass and flute or violin (depending on the band line up at the time).
In The Land Of Grey And Pink is a tune from Caravan, a band that falls into the Canterbury sub-genre. This style features some jazzy elements, frequently with unusual chords/progressions and somewhat whimsical lyrics. It is mostly a strumming song but includes an intro that uses some 3-string chord shapes moving up the neck, along with a percussive strumming pattern.
King Crimson is one of the bands that can be credited with being one of the creators of the entire genre. Their first album, In The Court Of The Crimson King featured Epitaph, sung by original bassist Greg Lake. This lesson goes over the basic chord progression, adds some arpeggio picking, and includes a look at common variations on some of the chords.
Camel was a band consisting of Andy Latimer on guitar and Peter Bardens on keyboards, along with Doug Ferguson on bass and Andy Ward on drums. Their first album came out in 1973 and included Never Let Go, a song that almost became a hit for them. It opens with a cross-picked arpeggio before settling in to a solid rock tune with a catchy melody. It included a well worked out solo section, which is part of what makes it a Prog-Rock tune. This lesson looks at the rhythm guitar part as well as the intricate intro.
At the top of the heap in the sub-genre of Symphonic Progressive would be Renaissance, an English band featuring singer Annie Haslam whose time spent studying opera added another element to the classically influenced compositions of Michael Dunford (guitar) and John Tout (keyboards). Their song Ocean Gypsy is an example of an intriguing chord progression and dazzling melody combined with a solo section for the piano. This lesson teaches the rhythm guitar accompaniment to the entire song.