Ambient music

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Ambient music is a genre of music that emphasizes tone and atmosphere over traditional musical structure or rhythm. It may lack net composition, beat, or structured melody.[5] It uses textural layers of sound which can reward both passive and active listening[6] and encourage a sense of calm or contemplation.[7][8] The genre is said to evoke an "atmospheric", "visual",[9] or "unobtrusive" quality.[10] Nature soundscapes may be included, and the sounds of acoustic instruments such as the piano, strings and flute may be emulated through a synthesizer.[11]

The genre originated in the 1960s and 1970s, when new musical instruments were being introduced to a wider market, such as the synthesizer.[12] It was presaged by Erik Satie's furniture music and styles such as musique concrète, minimal music, Jamaican dub reggae and German electronic music, but was prominently named and popularized by British musician Brian Eno in 1978 with his album Ambient 1: Music for Airports; Eno opined that ambient music "must be as ignorable as it is interesting".[13] It saw a revival towards the late 1980s with the prominence of house and techno music, growing a cult following by the 1990s.[14] Ambient music may have elements of new-age music and drone music, as some works may use sustained or repeated notes.[15]

Ambient music did not achieve large commercial success, being criticized as everything from "dolled-up new age, [..] to boring and irrelevant technical noodling".[16] Nevertheless, it has attained a certain degree of acclaim throughout the years, especially in the Internet age. Due to its relatively open style, ambient music often takes influences from many other genres, ranging from classical, avant-garde music, folk, jazz, and world music, amongst others.[17][18]

  1. ^ a b Drone is now classified as a subgenre of ambient music, but early drone music influenced the origin of ambient. See the other note from Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Music (Cook & Pople 2004, p. 502), and the note from Four Musical Minimalists (Potter 2002, p. 91).
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference eem was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
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  5. ^ The Ambient Century by Mark Prendergast, Bloomsbury, London, 2003.
  6. ^ Elevator Music: A Surreal History of Muzak, Easy Listening & Other Moodsong by Joseph Lanza, Quartet, London, 1995.
  7. ^ Crossfade: A Big Chill Anthology, Serpents Tail, London, 2004.
  8. ^ "Ambient music - Definition of ambient by Dictionary.com". Dictionary.com. Archived from the original on 2018-02-12.
  9. ^ Prendergast, M. The Ambient Century. 2001. Bloomsbury, USA
  10. ^ "Ambient – Definition of ambient by Merriam-Webster". merriam-webster.com. Archived from the original on 2015-04-20.
  11. ^ "Ambient – Definition of ambient by Cambridge Dictionary". dictionary.cambridge.org. Archived from the original on 2018-02-12.
  12. ^ Lanza, Joseph (2004). Elevator Music: A Surreal History of Muzak, Easy-listening, and Other Moodsong. University of Michigan Press. p. 185. ISBN 0-472-08942-0.
  13. ^ Eno, Brian. "Music for Airports". Archived from the original on 29 January 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  14. ^ "Music Genres". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2012-02-13.
  15. ^ George Grove, Stanley Sadie, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Macmillan Publishers, 1st ed., 1980 (ISBN 0-333-23111-2), vol. 7 (Fuchs to Gyuzelev), "André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry", p. 708: "in L'épreuve villageoise, where the various folk elements – couplet form, simplicity of style, straightforward rhythm, drone bass in imitation of bagpipes – combine to express at once ingenuous coquetry and sincerity."
  16. ^ "AllMusic". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2011-11-14.
  17. ^ New Sounds: The Virgin Guide To New Music by John Schaefer, Virgin Books, London, 1987.
  18. ^ "Each spoke, tracing a thin pie-shape out of the whole, would contribute to the modern or New Ambient movement: new age, neo-classical, space, electronic, ambient, progressive, jazzy, tribal, world, folk, ensemble, acoustic, meditative, and back to new age... "New Age Music Made Simple Archived 2010-04-05 at the Wayback Machine

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