Relaxation and meditation music is one of the most important music styles available to us today. Quite simply, this music is designed to help people relax and in some cases assist in the healing process. Arguably, no other genre or music style creates as much of a healthy affect on the majority of people. Styles differ within regions and cultures around the world however the principle same guidelines below will suit most needs.
Whilst each of us chooses the type of music we love and in some cases people choose energetic music, and even styles such as heavy metal as their relaxation music of choice, in general we tend to find soft sounds with slow tempos work better for us.
In a four part series I want to set out how to create relaxation music. Through licensing thousands pieces of relaxation music to therapists and businesses in the wellbeing markets I have learnt what features of music work well to assist relaxation.
Part 1: Getting Started; Themes & Resources
Themes for inspiring the composition
Like with any music, a theme or idea creates the driving force for the creativity. Emotions and feelings tend to be a common driver for musicians composing for pop and rock tracks, if you think of many of the well know tracks over the past fifty or more years, love along with the ups and downs of relationships always provide a great resource for composers.
So for inspiring relaxation, essentially a mood or physical state itself, a composition needs to be driven from similar feelings and experiences. Clearly a composer who has just been involved in an argument of some kind isn’t going to be in the best position to create relaxing music. Likewise, someone who has just heard sad news perhaps will be feeling too melancholy to create relaxing music and will instead create something melancholy even if it is slow and soft in nature.
So if they are not good sources or drivers for relaxation music, what are? Feelings and experiences associated with relaxation can for many include happiness, but not excitement, nature, calm weather, bright sunny days, peaceful environments and situations, friendships and harmony in many situations and environments from a simple situation such as a quite café to a field of grass gently blowing in the wind. Nature of course is a great source for relaxation.
Resources for creating the music
Creating relaxation music requires instruments that lend themselves well to forming sounds and melodies that inspire relaxation. Obvious examples will include the flute that can create floaty natural sounds as opposed to a guitar set up to create distorted ‘abrasive’ sounds.
In addition environmental sounds such as wind, waves, water and animal sounds may be useful as long as they don’t too startling. Also see the composing section about the careful use of nature sounds that may not be as useful as you might think.
Examples of instruments that can be the core to a relaxation composition include:
|Instrument||Press play to listen to sample:|
|Tuned Percussion: Marimba|
|Tuned Percussion: Chimes|
Instruments you will less likely see within a relaxation track include the following although there are always exceptions and ways in which a sympathetic musician can make almost any instrument create a relaxing sound.
Violin: because it is more likely to produce high frequency sounds that don’t feel relaxing.
Brass: because brass often is deep and ‘ominous’ sounding, or is lively, Sure there are many examples of chilled trumpet playing but this tends to engage the mind rather than relaxes.
Drums: because a beat, again, will tend to engage and stimulate rather than relax. Of course percussion and drums are often used in chill out and downtempo music styles in great ways to form the backbone of relaxing music but for here we are focusing on very relaxing music, rather than music to chill to.
Next in the series is part 2 which covers composition and arrangement requirements for our relaxation music.