A subset of rock and roll noteworthy for its intricate arrangements and experimental sound. Originating in the late [=1960s=], "Prog Rock" often combines stylistic elements from Classical, Jazz, Folk or sometimes electronic implementations, uses non-standard song structures (including complex rhythms and time signatures) and complex instrumental orchestrations, and frequently employ lyrics which are abstract or [[HeavyMithril fantasy-based]].

The original idea was to bring some of the sophistication of "legitimate" musical styles to rock, which was still regarded as worthless pop trash. Music/TheBeatles' ''Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'' featured songs that were (loosely) tied together by a common theme, making it an example of a "song cycle". At around the same time, Music/TheMoodyBlues recorded their ''Days of Future Passed'' album in which a full symphony orchestra accompanied the band and played interludes that connected the songs. [[Music/DeepPurple Imitators]] [[Music/ProcolHarum followed]]. Another major influence on the developing scene was the works of Music/FrankZappa (with and without the Mothers of Invention), especially 1967's ''Music/AbsolutelyFree'', which consisted of two side-long suites borrowing liberally from classical music (especially the works of Music/IgorStravinsky) and including a mini-RockOpera, "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" (described as a "condensed two-hour musical").

Classically-trained musicians such as [[Music/EmersonLakeAndPalmer Keith Emerson]] and [[Music/{{Yes}} Rick Wakeman]] started to be drawn to rock, and they brought their repertoire with them. This is where Prog gets its modern image of classically-influenced songs with many extended solos, but Art Rock could refer to any attempt to elevate rock from its lowbrow image. This could include pop music with experimental elements (10cc and Music/RoxyMusic), and bands that used orchestral instruments (The Music/ElectricLightOrchestra). Some bands fused with other styles: Music/JethroTull were based on folk music, and the Canterbury bands leaned toward modern jazz. Prog was largely a British phenomenon, although Music/{{Kansas}} and Music/{{Rush}} were significant examples from America and Canada, respectively.

Critics usually dismissed these bands as being "pretentious". Some people just want to have a good time, and Prog bands sometimes took themselves far too seriously. Perhaps the most notorious offender was [[Music/{{Yes}} Yes']] ''Tales From Topographic Oceans'' album: it was seen by many as a clear drop in quality from their previous efforts, and it taxed listeners' patience by stretching a total of four songs over 2 [=LPs=]. The genre was mostly exhausted by 1980, although notable later bands included Marillion, IQ and Spock's Beard. Prog experienced a rebirth around the turn of the millenium, led by Music/DreamTheater, Music/PorcupineTree, and Music/TheMarsVolta. Both Yes and Music/{{Genesis}} shifted toward a more mainstream sound in TheEighties, to great commercial success.

Prog Rock was one of the originators, and certainly one of the main motivators, of the ConceptAlbum.

See also ProgressiveMetal for when prog gets ''[[DarkerAndEdgier heavy]]'', and TechnicalDeathMetal for when prog gets ''[[UpToEleven even heavier]]''. {{Krautrock}} is a somewhat more Teutonic variant, which is sometimes considered a subgenre of progressive rock and sometimes its own (albeit related) genre.

Notable Progressive Rock acts include and are labeled with their respective sub-genre according to the [[http://www.progarchives.com/ ProgArchives]]:

[[index]]
* 10cc, in the Godley & Creme era (Progressive Pop)
* Music/{{Aghora}} (Progressive Metal)
* Music/TheAlanParsonsProject (Symphonic Prog)
* Amon Düül II (Krautrock)
* Amplifier (Psychedelic/Space Rock)
* Anekdoten (Heavy Prog)
* Änglagård (Symphonic Prog)
* Arena (Neo-Prog with Progressive Metal leanings)
* Ash Ra Tempel (Krautrock)
* Music/{{Asia}} (Prog Related)
* Music/{{Ayreon}} (Progressive Metal)
* Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso (Progressivo Italiano)
* Creator/IsaacBaranoff (Crossover Prog)
* Be-Bop Deluxe (Crossover Prog)
* Music/BetweenTheBuriedAndMe (Progressive Metal)
* Big Big Train (Symphonic Prog)
* Music/{{BT}} (Progressive Electronic)
* Music/{{Camel}} (Symphonic Prog)
* Can (Krautrock)
* Caravan (Canterbury Scene)
* Children of Nova (Neo-Prog)
* Citizen Cain (Symphonic Prog)
* Music/CoheedAndCambria (Crossover Prog; sometimes Progressive Metal)
* Colosseum and their later incarnation Colosseum II (Jazz Rock/Fusion)
* Comus (Prog Folk)
* Music/{{Conception}} (Progressive Metal)
* Music/TheDecemberists, sometimes (Prog Folk)
* Music/DeepPurple recorded at least two "band and orchestra" albums in the late 1960s (Symphonic Prog)
* The Dixie Dregs, nominally a Southern Rock band (Jazz Rock/Fusion)
* Music/DreamTheater (Progressive Metal)
* Music/DockersGuild (Neo-Prog)
* Music/ElectricLightOrchestra (at least their pre-''Discovery'' stuff) (Crossover Prog)
* Eloy (Space Rock)
* Music/EmersonLakeAndPalmer (Symphonic Prog)
* Music/{{Extreme}} ( Progressive [[FunkMetal Funk]] / HairMetal )
* Music/FairToMidland (Crossover Prog)
* Music/TheFallOfTroy (Heavy Prog, although they're a slight case of NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly and also count as {{Post-Hardcore}} and other styles)
* Faust (Krautrock)
* Music/TheFlowerKings (Symphonic Prog)
* Frost* (Neo-prog)
* Gazpacho (Crossover Prog)
* Music/{{Genesis}} up to Wind & Wuthering (and the occasional song afterward) (Symphonic Prog)
* Music/{{Gentle Giant}} (Eclectic Prog)
* Music/GoldenEarring (Prog Related)
* Music/{{Gong}} (Canterbury Scene)
* Music/GordianKnot (Progressive Rock, Jazz Fusion and Progressive Metal)
* Roy Harper (Prog Folk)
* Music/{{Hawkwind}} (Psychedelic Rock/Space Rock)
* Henry Cow (Avant-Prog/Canterbury Scene/Rock In Opposition)
* IQ (Neo-Prog)
* Jadis (Neo-Prog)
* Music/JethroTull (Prog Folk)
* Music/{{Journey}} prior to 1978 (Prog/Fusion)
* Music/{{Kansas}}: a relative rarity who could compose successful commercial songs, but whose core material was more similar to Yes or King Crimson. Later overlapped with ChristianRock (Symphonic Prog)
* Music/KingCrimson (Eclectic Prog)
* Koenjihyakkei (Zeuhl)
* Music/{{Kraftwerk}} (Progressive Electronic; also Krautrock)
* Magma (Avant-Prog/Zeuhl)
* Music/{{Marillion}} (Neo-Prog)
* Music/TheMarsVolta (Heavy Prog)
* Music/{{Mastodon}} (Progressive Metal)
* Men of Lake (Progressivo Italiano)
* Music/TheMoodyBlues (Crossover Prog)
* [[Franchise/TalesSeries Motoi Sakuraba]]; he was part of a few bands before doing video games (Symphonic Prog)
* {{Music/Mountain}} (Crossover Prog)
* {{Music/Mudvayne}} (Progressive Metal)
* {{Music/Muse}} (Prog-Related/New Prog)
* Nektar (Crossover Prog/Symphonic Prog)
* Neu! (Krautrock)
* The Nice; Keith Emerson's first group, before joining Music/EmersonLakeAndPalmer (Symphonic Prog)
* Oceansize (Space Rock)
* MikeOldfield (Eclectic Prog, most often crossing over with WorldMusic or NewWaveMusic)
* Music/{{Opeth}} (Progressive Metal)
* Music/OrphanedLand (Progressive Metal)
* Pallas (Neo-Prog, later Progressive Metal)
* Pendragon (Neo-Prog)
* Music/PinkFloyd (Space Rock according to progarchives; whether and exactly how Floyd counts as prog is a ''very'' controversial topic. Pink Floyd is the only prog band that most critics will admit to liking.)
* Music/PorcupineTree (Heavy Prog; but most of what you can say about Floyd can also be said - and has also been said, some of it by Steven Wilson himself - about Porcupine Tree; later became Progressive Metal)
* Premiata Forneria Marconi (Progressivo Italiano)
* Music/ProcolHarum (Crossover/Symphonic Prog)
* Music/{{Quatermass}} (Progressive/Hard rock)
* Music/{{Queen}} (Progressive Metal/Heavy Prog) that is, their early stuff.
* Music/{{Queensryche}} (Progressive Metal)
* Music/{{Radiohead}} (Crossover Prog, although they themselves have denied this)
* Renaissance (Symphonic Prog)
* Riverside (Progressive Metal)
* Music/RoxyMusic (Crossover Prog)
* Ruins (Zeuhl)
* Music/{{Rush}} (Heavy Prog)
* Music/JoeSatriani; (Well, some of his work, at least.) (Heavy Prog)
* Music/TheSmashingPumpkins, ''Music/MellonCollieAndTheInfiniteSadness'' being the best example (Crossover Prog/Heavy Prog, with a touch of Progressive Electronic)
* Soft Machine (Canterbury Scene)
* Music/SoundHorizon (Symphonic Prog. [[GenreRoulette Usually]].)
* Music/SpocksBeard (Symphonic Prog)
* Music/{{Styx}}, prior to 1975 or so (Crossover Prog)
* Super Furry Animals (Prog-Related/Space Rock)
* Music/StatusQuo (their early albums/Crossover Prog)
* Music/{{Supertramp}} (Crossover Prog)
* Music/SymphonyX (Progressive Metal)
* Tangerine Dream (Progressive Electronic, also Krautrock)
* Music/{{Tool}} (Progressive Metal)
* Transatlantic (Symphonic Prog)
* Music/{{Trans-Siberian Orchestra}} (Crossover Prog)
* Triumvirat (Symphonic Prog)
* Twelfth Night (Neo-Prog)
* Underground Zero (Psychedelic Rock, Hawkwind-style)
* Univers Zero (Avant-Prog/Rock In Opposition)
* Uriah Heep (Heavy Prog)
* Music/SteveVai (Prog Related)
* Music/VanDerGraafGenerator, even if they themselves dispute this (Eclectic Prog)
* Music/{{Voivod}} (Progressive Metal)
* Robert Wyatt (Canterbury Scene)
* Music/{{Yes}} (Symphonic Prog)
* Music/FrankZappa has been described as such (Avant Prog)
** Zappa is describable?
[[/index]]

Tropes frequently associated with progressive rock include:

* ConceptAlbum: Developed somewhat in tandem with prog rock. The Mothers of Invention, Frank Zappa's band, were responsible for many of rock's early concept albums.
* ConLang: Practically ''de rigeur'' in zeuhl. Examples include Magma, Ruins, and Koenjihyakkei.
* DeadHorseGenre: Critics, who usually believe in ThreeChordsAndTheTruth, have tended to hate the genre. A prominent exception is Allmusic, which has given several famous prog albums the maximum rating of five stars, as is the Italian writer Creator/PieroScaruffi, who ranks prog albums as two of his top three albums ever made (three of three if you count Beefheart as prog). Pitchfork has been known to give prog records good reviews on occasion as well, but on the whole it much more frequently lambastes them.
* EpicRocking: Naturally, given the song lengths. Often more focus on "epic" than rocking, obviously.
** The Music/JethroTull albums ''Thick As a Brick'' and ''A Passion Play'' contained one song each, broken up by an interlude that allowed the listener to flip the record.
*** MikeOldfield has done this multiple times. His current [[IncrediblyLamePun record]] is ''Incantations'', seventy-three minutes split over four sides, without interludes to let the listener to flip the record. As a result [[TropesAreNotBad it works very well on CD]]
* FandomRivalry: With PunkRock, dating back to TheSeventies.
* GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff: The genre is popular in Eastern Europe.
* GeniusBonus[=/=]ViewersAreGeniuses: In addition to the fact that musicians are more likely to appreciate the musicianship there are often all sorts of bizarre subtexts to the lyrics that can't be easily picked up on.
** Also, frequent quotes/covers from the Classical and traditional repertoire that might not be familiar to a casual listener.
*** Many references to obscure science fiction and fantasy works will go over the heads of most listeners.
* HeavyMithril: While progressive rock bands aren't necessarily heavy, the use of references to science fiction and fantasy works are not only common, but expected. There's a reason that many progressive rock bands have entries on the [[http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/sf_music Encyclopedia of Science Fiction ]].
* {{Instrumentals}}: Since most songs either featured long instrumental interludes or solos, this was the next logical step. Depending on the listener [[LoveItOrHateIt this is either the best or worst part of prog-rock]]. Either it shows the musician's true talent as an artist, or it's needless showboating.
* NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly: It's not uncommon for prog bands to incorporate multiple genres in one song, and in many cases, to incorporate them well.
** Dixie Dregs in particular stand out for this.
* NeverLiveItDown: The Godley & Creme album ''Consequences'' caused one. It was a triple-disc ConceptAlbum released in 1977; despite being pretty much the only one of its kind during prog's heyday, the phrase "triple-disc concept album" comes up fairly frequently in criticisms of the genre.
** In the popular imagination, prog rock is also 20-minute Mellotron solos.
* {{Purple Prose}}: Many bands such as Music/{{Yes}} would write songs in a rather flowery fashion. But {{Tropes are Not Bad}}, not to mention that some bands were actually good at it.
* RockOpera: Often goes hand-in-hand with the concept album.
* SongStyleShift: Very common, particularly with "chapter"-structured songs that many prog bands had. The main reason for these chapters was that they were perceived as separate songs [[MoneyDearBoy for royalty purposes]].
* SpiritualSuccessor: PostRock and MathRock. While both genres draw from AlternativeRock and PostPunk, they keep the weirdness of progressive rock, including the odd time signatures and unusual instrumentation.
** Some AlternativeHipHop artists utilize elements of progressive rock as well, such as Music/{{Atmosphere}}, Music/AesopRock, Music/{{Cage}}, Music/{{Caparezza}}, Music/KidCudi, Music/LupeFiasco and Music/KanyeWest (Mainly on ''Music/MyBeautifulDarkTwistedFantasy'', but even before then he had prog elements, e.g. ''Late Registration'''s orchestra).
* TrueArt: What prog musicians were aiming for, with varying degrees of success.
* TallPoppySyndrome: Why U.K. critics hated the genre so much.
* UncommonTime: It would probably take less space to list progressive rock bands that ''don't'' use this trope than to list progressive rock bands that do use it. It's pretty much a requisite of the genre.
* UpToEleven: Musicianship and complexity of songwriting for starters.
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