“Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital.”
New Age music is an unfocused, multi-directional music with various styles and mainly defined by the effect of feeling it produces. So, depending on composer’s concern, it has been classified as spiritual, peaceful, healing, relaxation, meditation, peace, harmony and personal healing.
It has enjoyed using a wide range of instruments, including electronic, acoustic or a mixture of both with artists range from solo to ensembles.
As for the vocals, they usually are not common unless they are used as additional instrument like Enya's work or are based on mythology such as Celtic legends.
In the beginning, New Age music term was reserved for any Electronic and Instrumental music that did not fit under Classical or Jazz, but now includes Progressive Rock like Tangerine Dream, Post-romanticism instrumentalists like Yanni and Enya, Electronic artists like Jean Michel Jarre and even Ethnic- Electronic- a bit Classical artists such as Kitaro.
herefore, new age music would fit into multiple categories with an overlap to Ambient music, Classical music, Jazz, Electronica, World music, Chillout, Space music and others.
As a music genre, media and industry specifically marketed New Age music to a specific belief system like energy crystals, homeopathic medicines, wiccan paraphernalia and world religious movements. This conception led to a negative stigma for New Age genre and many musicians have resented and even rejected the New Age label.
Steven Halpern suggested Contemporary Adult Instrumental for New Age music that is not expressly spiritual in nature, Yanni clearly mentioned that he preferred Contemporary Instrumental and Loreena McKennitt asked Billboard to be placed on the World music chart instead of New Age.
While New Age music was deserted and regarded by many people as boring and artistically bankrupt, from the ashes, rises a new wave of New Age artists with elements of Electronic, Ambient and Space music that is not therapeutic, but more back to elemental New Age, mysterious, sensational and sensual spiritual. Some artists call it Contemporary Classical or Neo-Classical. These artists use computers, synthesizers, samplers and drum machines and mix it with natural sounds or sampled acoustic instruments to create complex textures and multi-layered rhythms.
Their music surrounds and invites the listener to explore strange new sonic landscapes. It could be relaxing and soothing or energizing and vitalizing, while it is always uplifting and harmonious.
Listeners are responding more favorably to this new hybrid music that demands their sub-conscious and capture their imagination.
So, now that the New Age angle came to the forefront again, it is time to lose yourself in the music and enjoy the experience.