“And the winner of the coveted My Playlist of Relaxing Ambient Music Award is….You!” Everywhere we go, ambient music seems to surround us and often we never realize it. That is how good this genre of music is. By design, ambient can either be in the forefront, background or completely ignored. A general, multi-purpose soundtrack of our lives.
Ambient can be a very relaxing and peaceful backdrop for relaxation. We can focus on it to begin and as we go deeper into a relaxed state, lose track of the music itself. Ambient serves as a filter of other sounds and a filler of empty spaces.
A great music for work, study, relaxation, meditation, dining…and the list really is endless.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
“Ambient music is a genre of music that puts an emphasis on tone and atmosphere over traditional musical structure or rhythm.” This is (usually) instrumental music using a gentle soothing sound to be a backdrop for our lives. Ideally intended to relax and to be unobtrusive.
This music style rewards passive and active listening and can incorporate Natural Sounds with instruments like the piano, stringed, and wind instruments; most of the modern ambient music (in the last 40-50 years) is produced through a synthesizer. To paraphrase Brian Eno; ignorable and interesting.
Modern ambient music originated in the United Kingdom in the 1970s. Brian Eno released “Ambient 1: Music for Airports” in 1978, essentially naming the genre. The late ’80s saw the rise of house and techno music. With its relatively open style ambient music often incorporates new-age, drone music, classical, avant-garde music, folk, jazz, and world music. A bit of everything, for everyone.
Erik Satie, a 20th-century French composer, created a form of music that he labeled “furniture music” He was trying to create a type of background music that could be listened to, or not listened to. Suitable for dining to help hide outside noises, to cover the sounds of knives and forks and to fill the sometimes awkward silences. And yet not to intrude on the conversation or mood.
Developing in the 1970s, Brian Eno played a key role in Ambient music’s development and popularization. Ambient music first incorporated New Age ideals with the synthesizer. Eno went on to record 1975’s “Discreet Music”
with this in mind, and is generally credited with coining the term “Ambient Music”. “Ambient” is based on the Latin term “ambire”, “to surround”.
By the early 1990s, artists such as The Orb, Aphex Twin, Seefeel, the Irresistible Force, Geir Jenssen’s Biosphere, and the Higher Intelligence Agency gained commercial. Ambient compositions are often quite lengthy and contain many rise and fall transitions, far more than most popular music.
The London scene artists all took a part in popularizing and diversifying ambient music where it was used as a calming respite from the intensity of the hardcore and techno popular at that time. Clubs often used a separate
area devoted to Ambient where fans could “rest” from the often-intense techno music in the Main Room.
The Internet is where ambient music has gained the most popularity and widespread recognition, with uploaded pieces, usually ranging from 1 to 8 hours long, are generally known as, “relaxing music”. Ambient blends well with yoga, study, sleep, massage, meditation, self-help and creating a peaceful atmosphere.
Ambient music continues to influence biomusic where they
feature sounds of nature, including those of a beach, rain forest, thunderstorm, and rainfall, with vocalizations of animals such as bird songs. Pieces containing binaural beats are common and are used in the self-help of depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness, among many others.
Style origins: Electronic, beautiful music, background music, light music, easy listening, furniture, lounge, minimal, experimental, and
drone. With bands such as Tangerine Dreams, rock and psychedelic rock were major influences for the earlier albums.
Cultural origins 1960s and 1970s, United Kingdom, Jamaica, and Japan.
Derivative forms: Ambient house, chill-out, downtempo, space music, IDM, trance, trip hop, biomusic, and New Age.
Ambient music is important in today’s music industry. With many artists seamlessly shifting between genres and the music continuing to evolve, I see ambient remaining a popular influence for many years. There seems to be a style for everyone and a massive appetite for the music, especially in relaxation and meditation circles. Ambient music is ideal for many aspects of our modern lifestyle.
I use Ambient for work, as background, because it allows me to focus on my work without distracting and allow mini-breaks where I can listen and recharge. At home, we use it as a kind of transition music, allowing our family a chance to come down from the days’ highs or to come up from the lows. An opportunity to sit and talk or to just simply to sit and be comfortable without talking. For relaxation and to ease into sleep, I prefer the Biomusic form. This is and remains the “my Time” that keeps me on track and focused.
As always, comments are welcome and if you have suggestions, please include them.
Remember to follow the Path of Peace in all you do.