New-age is a genre of music intended to create artistic inspiration, relaxation, and optimism. It is used by listeners for yoga, massage, meditation, and reading as a method of stress management to bring about a state of ecstasy rather than trance, or to create a peaceful atmosphere in homes or other environments. It is sometimes associated with environmentalism and New Age spirituality., however, most of its artists have nothing to do with "New age spirituality", and some even reject the term.
|Cultural origins||1960s and early 1970s, Europe and United States|
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.
There is no exact definition of new-age music. 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". Many consider it to be an umbrella term for marketing rather than a musical category, and to be part of a complex cultural trend.
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. Paul Horn (beginning with 1968's Inside) was one of the important predecessors. Irv Teibel's Environments series (1969–79) featured natural soundscapes, tintinnabulation, and "Om" chants and were some of the first publicly available psychoacoustic recordings. Steven Halpern's 1975 Spectrum Suite was a key work that began the new-age music movement.