For centuries, relaxation music has found its way into the hearts and minds of people, helping them unwind and destress. Today, it remains a popular choice for therapy, inducing sleep, or simply providing soothing background noise during daily tasks.
Relaxation music is incredibly diverse, with some styles featuring vocals, while others focus entirely on the instrumental aspect. In this article, we discuss some of the most popular genres to relax.
Dating back hundreds of years, classical music is a well-established genre that is commonly associated with orchestras and symphonies. However, it can also be performed by smaller ensembles and soloists. Classical music encompasses various styles, such as baroque, romanticism, and impressionism.
Originating in African American communities during the late 19th century, jazz has its roots in West African cultural and musical expression, as well as European military band music. Regarded as one of America’s original art forms, jazz boasts a distinct sound and style.
Jazz musicians combined European instruments like horns with traditional African rhythms found in spirituals, leading to the development of subgenres such as swing music, big band sounds, and ragtime tunes.
The blues genre emerged from the African-American communities in the Southern United States, drawing inspiration from African musical traditions, European folk music, and spirituals. Blues modes have persisted throughout its history, with the term “blues” possibly originating from “blue devils,” signifying melancholy and sadness.
The early 1900s saw the popularization of blues music, with W.C Handy writing numerous songs in this genre, including St. Louis Blues (1914), Beale Street Blues (1916), and Yellow Dog Rag (1918).
It’s originating in the Southern United States, is characterized by its unique blend of folk, blues, and bluegrass sounds. The genre comprises several subgenres, such as bluegrass and honky tonk, but the most popular is country pop.
Country pop merges elements of pop music with traditional country styles like honky tonk or western swing, resulting in catchy, upbeat tunes that are perfect for relaxation after work or before bedtime.
Encompassing a vast array of styles, including country and bluegrass, folk music was initially performed by people in rural areas but is now enjoyed by city dwellers as well.
Folk songs can be categorized into ballads and dance tunes.
Ballads are slow, emotional songs about love or tragedy, typically sung solo with guitar or piano accompaniment.
Dance tunes, on the other hand, are lively pieces designed for dancing at parties and festivals.
Reggae, a Jamaican music genre, emerged in the late 1960s as a fusion of ska, rocksteady, and R&B. Having gained popularity across various cultures and countries, reggae consists of numerous subgenres like roots reggae, dancehall, dubstep, ragga, and hip-hop-influenced dub poetry or deejaying.
These subgenres share common elements, such as heavy bass lines, syncopated offbeat rhythms, melodic vocal harmonies, and call-and-response chanting.
This is a genre that fuses styles from across the globe. Often used to describe folk and traditional music, it can also encompass pop, rock, and jazz.
Contrary to popular belief, world music isn’t solely for hippies or yoga enthusiasts. In fact, Stanford University Medical Center researchers found that listening to world music can help reduce stress levels by up to 65%.
So, if you’re feeling stressed after work or school, listening to world music while engaging in other activities, like reading or cooking, can help calm your mind and ensure a peaceful sleep.
Frequently linked to relaxation, ambient music helps listeners unwind and feel more at ease. It’s commonly used in meditation, therapy sessions, and even in high-stress work environments.
Ambient music typically consists of slow-paced, repetitive electronic sounds, although some tracks may feature faster beats or more upbeat tones.
For example, New Age, developed in the 1970s, uses synthesizers to create soothing melodies, while drone music focuses on repetition with minimal variation between notes.
Now that you have a better understanding of relaxation music and its benefits, you can explore different genres to find the perfect fit for your needs.