Ambient music

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Ambient music is a musical genre that focuses largely on the timbral characteristics of sounds, often organized or performed to evoke an "atmospheric",[2] "visual"[3] or "unobtrusive" quality.

Contents

History

The roots of ambient music go back to the early 20th century. In particular, the period just before and after the first world war gave rise to two significant Art Movements that encouraged experimentation with various musical (and non musical) forms, while rejecting more conventional, tradition-bound styles of expression. These art movements were called Futurism and Dadaism. Aside from being known for their painters and writers, these movements also attracted experimental and 'anti-music' musicians such as Francesco Balilla Pratella of the pre-war Futurism movement and Kurt Schwitters and Erwin Schulhoff of the post-war Dadaist movement. The latter movement played an influential role in the musical development of Erik Satie.

As an early 20th century French composer, Erik Satie utilised such Dadaist-inspired explorations to create an early form of ambient / background music that he labeled "furniture music" (Musique d'ameublement). This he described as being the sort of music that could be played during a dinner to create a background atmosphere for that activity, rather than serving as the focus of attention.[4] From this greater historical perspective, Satie is the link between these early Art movements and the work of Brian Eno, who as an art school trained musician, had an appreciation of both the music and art worlds.

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