New-age music

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New-age is a genre of music intended to create artistic inspiration, relaxation, and optimism. It is used by listeners for yoga, massage, meditation,[1] and reading as a method of stress management[2] to bring about a state of ecstasy rather than trance,[3][4] or to create a peaceful atmosphere in homes or other environments. It is sometimes associated with environmentalism and New Age spirituality;[5][1] however, most of its artists have nothing to do with "New age spirituality", and some even reject the term.

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New-age music includes both acoustic forms, featuring instruments such as flutes, piano, acoustic guitar and a wide variety of non-Western acoustic instruments, and electronic forms, frequently relying on sustained synth pads or long sequencer-based runs. Vocal arrangements were initially rare in the genre, 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.[6][7][8][9]

There is no exact definition of new-age music.[7] An article in Billboard magazine in 1987 commented that "New Age music may be the most startling successful non-defined music ever to hit the public consciousness".[10] Many consider it to be an umbrella term[11] for marketing rather than a musical category,[8][12][13] and to be part of a complex cultural trend.[14]

New-age music was influenced by a wide range of artists from a variety of genres. Tony Scott's Music for Zen Meditation (1964) is considered to be the first new-age recording.[13][15] Paul Horn (beginning with 1968's Inside) was one of the important predecessors.[16] Irv Teibel's Environments series (1969–79) featured natural soundscapes, tintinnabulation, and "Om" chants and were some of the first publicly available psychoacoustic recordings.[17] Steven Halpern's 1975 Spectrum Suite was a key work that began the new-age music movement.[18]