Progressive Rock (306b)
Winter 2001    Monday, Wednesday, Friday  1.00-2.00pm    TC-205    Instructor. Serge Lacasse

     Course Description

     Appendix. Books on Reserve


Faculty of Music      
Department of Music History


14/03/2001 CD-04 is in library!!! You'll find three copies of it. See the content here

12/03/2001 CD-03 is in library!!! You'll find three copies of it. CD-04 on its way. See the content here

09/03/2001 See the changes in the Schedule, especially regarding Test 2 (which is now on March 23). 

09/01/2001 CD-02 is now on reserve. See the content here.

05/01/2001 CD-01 is now on reserve. See the content here.

05/01/2001 There is a new book on reserve (Smith 1997). Check it out!

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Course Description

Teaching Approach


Progressive rock music emerged in Britain in the late 1960s and became very popular in Europe and America during the 1970s. The music of bands such as Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, ELP, and numerous others, was generally characterized by a combination of classical, avant-garde, or jazz music with elements of rock music. After challenging problems related to the genre's definition, we will investigate how progressive rock was idiomatic of its corresponding subculture. In order to do so, we will explore both the social context in which the genre emerged and flourished, and the genre's musical characteristics.


By the end of the course, students should:

become familiar with the progressive rock repertoire;
become familiar with the most representative groups and artists;
be able to identify characteristics of the different sub-genres;
be able to identify the social, economic and cultural factors that led to the birth of progressive rock and further influenced its development, and to link those factors to the music;
have developed skills for the analysis of progressive rock music;

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Teaching Approach

Although classes will mainly consist of traditional lectures, a significant portion of the time will be devoted to listening and viewing audiovisual material. Students are also expected to participate in discussions and debates that might emerge in class.

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Every student is required to purchase the following book, which is available at the UWO Bookstore (University Community Centre).

MACAN, Edward. Rocking the Classics. English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.
ISBN 0-19-509888-9. 
Price: 28.95$

There will also be a number of books on reserve at the Music Library (see Appendix).

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Recordings needed for the course will be on reserve at the Music Library.


  1. The Nice, "Acceptance Brandenburger" (3rd movement), Ars Longa Vita Brevis, 1968

  2. Genesis, "Firth of Fifth", Selling England By the Pound, 1973

  3. Emerson, Lake and Palmer, "Tarkus", Tarkus, 1971

  4. Yes, "Roundabout", Fragile, 1971

  5. King Crimson, "Red", Red, 1974

  6. Yes, "Close to the Edge", Close to the Edge, 1972


  1. Gabriel, Peter, "Digging in the Dirt", Us, 1992

  2. Morissette, Alanis, "Front Row", Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, 1998

  3. Fisher, Miss Toni, "The Big Hurt", 1959

CD-03: Proto-Progressive Bands (1967-1969)

  1. Beatles, The, "She's Leaving Home", Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967. (Elements of classical music aesthetic, such as a string ensemble).

  2. Beatles, The, "Within You, Without You", Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967. (Indian music influence).

  3. Beatles, The, "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite", Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967. (Influence of musique concrète/electroacoustic music, especially toward the end of the track).

  4. Pink Floyd, "See Emily Play", 1967. (single)

  5. Pink Floyd, "Interstellar Overdrive", The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, 1967.

  6. Moody Blues, "Nights in White Satin", Days of Future Passed, 1967.

  7. Moody Blues, "Forever Afternoon (Tuesday)", Days of Future Passed, 1967.

  8. Procol Harum, "A Whiter Shade of Pale", Procol Harum, 1967.

  9. Procol Harum, "A Salty Dog", A Salty Dog, 1969.

  10. The Nice, " Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack", Thoughts of Enmerlist Davjack, 1967.

  11. The Nice, "America", 1968 (single).

  12. The Nice, "Acceptance 'Brandenburger' (3rd Movement)", Ars Longa Vita Brevis, 1968.

  13. Giles, Giles and Fripp, "Newly-Weds", 1968 (single).

  14. King Crimson, "21st Century Schizoid Man", In the Court of the Crimson King, 1969.

  15. King Crimson, "Epitaph", In the Court of the Crimson King, 1969.

  16. King Crimson, "Cat Food", In the Wake of Poseidon, 1970.

CD-04: Early Progressive Bands (1969-1971)

  1. Yes, "Looking Around", Yes (1969)

  2. Yes, "Time and a Word", Time and a Word (1970)

  3. Emerson, Lake and Palmer, "The Barbarian", Emerson Lake and Palmer (1970)

  4. Emerson, Lake and Palmer, "Lucky Man", Emerson Lake and Palmer (1970)

  5. Genesis, "Where the Sour Turns to Sweet", From Genesis to Revelation (1969)

  6. Genesis, "The Knife", Trespass (1970)

  7. Van Der Graaf Generator, "Refugees", The Least We Can Do Is Wave to Each Other (1969)

  8. Jethro Tull, "The Witch's Promise" (1970) (single)

  9. Gentle Giant, "Giant", Gentle Giant (1970)

  10. Soft Machine, "Hope for Happiness", Volume One (1968)

  11. Soft Machine, "The Moon in June", Third (1970)

  12. Caravan, "Place of My Own", Caravan (1968)

  13. Caravan, "Golf Girl", In the Land of Grey and Pink (1971)

  14. Gong, "Mystic Sister/Magyck Brother", Magick Brother (1970)

  15. Gong, "Tropical Fish: Selene", Camembert Electrique (1971)

  16. Gong, "Wet Cheese Delirium", Camembert Electrique (1971)

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Schedule (Tentative)

Note. Click on the links (dates) to access an outline for each lecture







a. 03/01/2001



b. 05/01/2001



a. 08/01/2001

Musical Parameters 1


b. 10/01/2001


c. 12/01/2001



a. 15/01/2001

Musical Parameters 2


b. 17/01/2001


c. 19/01/2001



a. 22/01/2001



b. 24/01/2001


c. 26/01/2001



a. 29/01/2001

The Counterculture


b. 31/01/2001


c. 02/02/2001



a. 05/02/2001

Sociology of Progressive rock

Analysis (20%)

b. 07/02/2001


c. 09/02/2001



a. 12/02/2001

Emergence of Progressive Rock.1967-1968


b. 14/02/2001


c. 16/02/2001

Test 1

Test 1 (25%)



Conference Week



a. 26/02/2001



b. 28/02/2001


c. 02/03/2001



a. 05/03/2001



b. 07/03/2001


c. 09/03/2001

Initial Draft


a. 12/03/2001

Canterbury Scene 


b. 14/03/2001


c. 16/03/2001



a. 19/03/2001

Golden Age 1


b. 21/03/2001


c. 23/03/2001

Test 2 Test 2 (25%)


a. 26/03/2001

Golden Age 2


b. 28/03/2001


c. 30/03/2001



a. 02/04/2001

Toward the 1980s


b. 04/04/2001


c. 06/04/2001

Final Paper

Final Paper (30%)


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Written English: Students must demonstrate the ability to write clearly and correctly (University Regulations).

Assignments: They will consist of one analysis (20%), two tests (25%; 25%) and one final paper (30%). Here is a more detailed description of the assignments:

Analysis (20%) [Due Date: 5 February 2001]
This assignment will consist in the analysis of a given piece, or section of a piece. Students are expected to use methods seen in class and which are adapted to the particular nature of rock music.
Test 1 (25%) [16 February 2001]
This first test will be devoted to social aspects of progressive rock: relationship between progressive rock and the counterculture; sociological profile of progressive rock musicians and fans; etc.
Test 2 (25%) [16 March 2001]
Test 2 will assess students' ability to identify musicians, groups, songs, etc. This test will include a listening section.
Final Paper (30%) [Due Date: 6 April 2001]
In the final paper, students are expected to demonstrate their ability to relate rock music analysis with extramusical aspects of the progressive rock genre (characteristics of the counterculture; sociological profile; other issues, such as gender, race, etc.). Papers should be between 3000 and 4000 words, including footnotes (10-15 pages, double space). Papers should follow the style outlined in Kate Turabian's, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (LB2369.T8 1996; Music Library reference). Students will be invited to submit an initial draft by 3 March 2001, which draft will be returned with comments for revision. The final version will be submitted by 6 April 2001.

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Serge Lacasse (Instructor)

The best way to ask questions is through email.
You can also phone me at 661-2111 ext. 84331.

Office Hours (TC-226): Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00-3:00 pm, or by appointment.

Have a Nice Term!!

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Appendix: Books on Reserve

Bowler, Dave. 1992. Genesis: A Biography. London : Sidgwick and Jackson. [ML420.G33B6 1992]

Covach, John, and Boone, Graeme, eds. 1997. Understanding Rock: Essays in Musical Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [ML3534.U53 1997]

Gracyk, Theodore. 1996. Rhythm and Noise: An Aesthetics of Rock. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press. [ML3534.G7 1996]

Lucky, Jerry. 1998. The Progressive Rock Files, 4th edition. Burlington: Collector's Guide. [ML3534.L93 1998]

Macan, Edward. 1997. Rocking the Classics: English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture. Oxford: Oxford University press. [ML3534.M28 1997]

Martin, Bill. 1998. Listening to the Future: The Time of Progressive Rock, 1968-1978. Chicago: Open Court. [ML3534.M412 1998]

Martin, Bill. 1996. Music of Yes: Structure and Vision in Progressive Rock. Chicago: Open Court. [ML421.Y48M37 1996]

Middleton, Richard. 1990. Studying Popular Music. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. [ML3470.M5 1990]

Moore, Allan F. 1993. Rock, the Primary Text: Developing a Musicology of Rock. Buckingham: Open University Press. [ML3534.M66 1993]

Moylan, William. 1992. The Art of Recording : The Creative Resources of Music Production and Audio. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold. [ML3790.M63 1992]

Smith, Bradley. 1997. The Billboard Guide to Progressive Music. New York: Billboard Books. [ML156.4.P6S6 1997]

Stump, Paul. 1997. The Music's All That Matters: A History of Progressive Rock. London: Quartet Books. [ML3534.S85 1997]


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©2001 Serge Lacasse
University of Western Ontario
Updated 26 March, 2001