Progressive Rock is a genre of rock music that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It is known for its complexity, intellectual depth, and its innovation in musical technique and composition. Progressive Rock musicians are influenced by musicians from other genres, such as jazz, classical music, blues and folk.
Progressive Rock has a large number of subgenres that vary in the type of genre they are associated with. Progressive Rock artists can be classified into different categories such as psychedelic rock, progressive metal or post rock and other.
The last few years some new incredible bands are serving this sophisticated genre with high quality tracks and a big success. As many music styles from the past have been in the forefront of contemporary music, progressive rock in one of them.
Bands like Leprous from Norway, Riverside from Poland, Haken from England and Agent Fresco from Iceland or Australian Caligula's Horse and Rishloo from USA among others, are constantly releasing great albums the last few years.
Some of them are also combining metal elements withing their compositions, others go for more symphonic like stuff and others introduce some pop components in their sonic recipes.
The most common instruments for this genre are the electric guitar, the electric bass, the drums and of course the synthesizers.
In the progressive rock genre, sound is a vital aspect of the music. The sound is not just used for rhythm and melody but also for adding texture, identity variety and depth to the overall composition.
In today’s prog rock, there are many ways to create sounds. Some of them include using software synths instead of hardware units or using a combination of both.
Software synthesizer is a computer program that uses algorithms to create music. It can use various inputs like MIDI data or audio samples to generate new sounds and music in real time. The sound of the generated song could be similar to what you hear from a hardware synth, or it could have unique characteristics depending on what type of input was used for its creation.
A common use case for software synthesizers is when they are used as part of a musical composition process where artists or producers need to make sure that their work sounds good before it goes live in their albums, concerts, etc.
Especially for bands with lower budget the softsynths give a great pallet of weapons and tools to create never heard before sounds.
The advantage of software synthesizers is that they allow for vast ranges of creative freedom. Today's synthesizers are capable of producing a wide range of sounds, from the most basic to complex and layered. Some software even allows for live performance with an audience or in front of a webcam. The ability to produce music has been around since ages ago, but now it has become more accessible than ever before thanks to software synthesizers.
I have release many soundbanks and presets for Progressive rock genre, moreover is one of my favorite kind of music. You could find those patches here
Synthesizers like Omnisphere, Pigments and Diva as well as synth emulations are a great choice for this type of music.
From the other side there are the hardware synthesizers.
They are typically more expensive than software synths.
Hardware synthesizers provide a lot of control over the sound that is produced. They also have a more physical feel to them as compared to software synths and DAWs. This is because many of the controls on hardware synths can be adjusted by physically rotating knobs or moving sliders on the front panel. Also it is safer to use a hardware unit for live purposes - although more and more bands bring their software synths on the stage. I still remember Tangerine Dream using the Native Instruments FM8 on stage.
I really love both options - with every kind of synth we can have a great result. As progressive rock is pretty much multidimensional genre the experimentation in both types of synths is what it leads to uncharted territories - a basic ingredient for fresh sounding prog rock.