Exploring Music's Complexities

New-Age Music

What is New-Age Music

While there appears not to be an exact definition of New-Age Music there does appear to be agreement that it is music created by composers and musicians whose aim is to focus on providing a peaceful, meditative, and relaxing environment.  It had its beginnings in the 1970s in conjunction with the growing interest in spirituality and healing where it was used as an aid in meditation, massage therapy, or yoga.

New-Age Beginnings

It’s hard to say where New-Age began as style and social text are as important as music to its development.   In the1960s and 1970s many musicians engaged in experimental and electronic music that was also highly influential for New-Age music. In Germany at the time, experimental music flourished within the so-called Kraut rock scene, The synthesizer-based electronic music of Tangerine Dream also provided an important influence on what would become New- Age music.

New-Age Instruments

New-Age artists have produced solo or ensemble performances using classical-music instruments including the piano, acoustic guitar, flute or harp. Eastern instruments such as the sitartabla, and tamboura. have also been used.  There is also a significant overlap of sectors of new-age music with ambient music, classical music, jazz, electronica, world music, chillout, space music, pop music and others.

Vocal arrangements were initially rare in New-Age, but as it has evolved vocals have become more common, especially those featuring Native American-, Sanskrit-, or Tibetan-influenced chants, or lyrics based on mythology such as Celtic legends.

New-Age Performers

As noted in Wikipedia “New-age music was influenced by a wide range of artists from a variety of genres—for example, folk-instrumentalists John Fahey and Leo Kottke, minimalists Terry Riley, Steve Reich, La Monte Young, and Philip Glass, classical avant-garde Daniel Kobialka, synthesizer performers Brian Eno, and jazz artists Keith Jarrett, Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Paul Horn (beginning with 1968’s Inside), Paul Winter (beginning in the mid-1960s with the Paul Winter Consort) and Pat Metheny.”

Samples of a variety of New-Age music are available on streaming hosts.  Visit https://www.wonderofsound.com for more of Daniel Kobialka’s “unwound sound”.

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