Reception of Cultural Texts in the Progressive Rock Concept Albums




progressive rock, cultural memory, interpretation, reflection, allusion, palimpsest


Relevance of research. The special place of progressive rock among other phenomena of popular music is not least due to its semantic richness, concentration of bold artistic ideas and originality of creative solutions, which immediately transferred this layer of pop culture into the category of “music for listening”. The main achievements of progressive rock belong to a relatively short period (late 1960s — mid 1970s). However, it had a significant impact on the further development of rock music and popular music in general. Many studio albums by progressive rock bands show signs of some kind of echo with a number of specific cultural texts, as well as with the systems of cultural codes.

Main objective of the article is to describe the mechanisms of the work of the cultural memory in the processes of creating a new artistic integrity by demonstrating in the creative works of progressive rock groups the projections of cultural texts related to different traditions and layers of artistic heritage.

The research methods. The article is dominated by the principles of the semiotic approach, which allows us to apply to the subject of research such concepts and categories as reception, cultural memory, cultural texts, interpretation, reflection, intertextuality.

Results and conclusions. The artistic value and semantic richness of the creative heritage of progressive rock bands of the “classical” period was formed in the interaction of many components, which showed itself both in dynamics, at different stages of the formation and implementation of the idea, and in the final result: a combination of compositional and dramatic characteristics and means of musical expression. In the case of conceptual albums, the initial stages are of great importance, when the mechanisms of transferring the cultural memory are started in the process of creative search. In fact, it is this that becomes the main factor ensuring the emergence of a general principle, which should unite individual fragments into a single whole. Examples of the albums by “Genesis”, “Camel”, Rick Wakeman and others, allow us to determine the effect of the reception of cultural texts in different variations: from reinterpretation with a significant transformation of the source material to subtle displays of intertextuality (intermediality). The value of the finds localized in this layer of musical culture triggered further experiments in the field of popular music (such as Sting’s albums of the 2000s), which is a confirmation of the depth of the already implemented and the limitless potential of future dialogues of cultures.

Author Biographies

Maiia Rzhevska, Kyiv National I. K. Karpenko-Kary Theatre, Cinema and Television University

Doctor of Art hab., Professor, Professor at the Department of Theater Studies

Volodymyr Romanko, I. P. Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine

Candidate of Art Criticism, Associate Professor at the Department of Theory of Music


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