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Is there a definition of ambient music?

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  • Is there a definition of ambient music?

    Maybe a stupid question (so best to ask now while I am still new around here)

    Is there a simple definition of 'Ambient Music' ?

  • #2
    I can suggest some threads here at AO which may or may not help, but will certainly provide some food for thought.


    To misquote Trent Reznor - "The lines begin to blur"
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    • #3
      I think the second link was more useful.

      Perhaps the most useful aspect of all is that there really is no simple and clear definition and the genre has obviously expanded and incorporated aspects from other genres.

      To me "ambient" music began by meaning "instrumental" music. which had the purpose of being a background or, ermmm, ambient music.
      Something that was there to kill the silence, fill the space, but not be intrusive. In a way, a band playing live instrumental music on a bar would fullfil this purpose and I did, in my mind, put many pieces of what might actually be "soft modern Jazz" into that ambient category.

      What has struck me in recent years is that "instrumental" can be a completely obsolete qualifier for "ambient music" as a lot of modern ambien music contains no instruments at all. In fact, sometimes contains no scales and no rhytm either. And amazingly can sometimes still be perceived as "musical", by many if not most people.

      At the end of the day, I like what I like. The genre label that comes with it is much less important.


      • #4
        I use to think Ambient was just another kind of Chillout music. The kind of chillout music you'd find on compilations like THE VERY BEST EUPHORIC CHILLOUT MIXES BREAKDOWN. The kind of chillout music that you often find is remixes of big trance tracks. The kind of chillout that has a LOT of dynamic changes, big sweeping emotional pads, spine-tingling builds/breakdowns, stuff that takes your attention.

        And that is JUST the thing - that kind of chillout often is "attention-grabby". Chilled it may be, but still grabs attention.

        Then I discovered and learned about Brian Eno's concept of Ambient. And I have recently come to realise that a lot my music, stuff I was referring to as "ambient", is not in fact Ambient. Chillout, yes. But not Ambient. Unless it is stuff that can actually seep into the background, go un-noticed consciously, but it's still "there". It "becomes" the environment. Rather than you becoming It. Any dynamic changes and variation happen soooo gradually.

        Yes Chillout and Ambient can intertwine. But so can House and Trance. They still have their unique elements.
        Last edited by Guest; 06-23-2014, 09:08 AM.