The term ‘easy listening’ has been used as a tag for the style of popular music that is easy on the ear; soft, beautiful, light music for years. It first emerged in the middle of the 20th century and evolved into big band and swing music. The simplicity of ‘easy listening’ music is that it catches the romance of laid-back rhythmic melodies, popular with couples throughout the globe. The genre can include anything from pop singers and bands, exotica artists, through to instrumental forms often played on violins, organs etc. The genre is very similar to what is called ‘lounge music’. However, lounge music is more jazz orientated and more dependent on musical improvisation. Easy listening is usually arranged and orchestrated rather than improvised, which is probably why it’s ‘easy listening’.
Another title given to ‘easy listening’ is ‘elevator’ or ‘lift’ music. This is usually referred to as ‘muzak’, and generally referred to in a derogatory way. I’m sure we’ve all been stuck in a lift, having to put up with the constant drone of noise spilling out of the speakers – so there’s no wonder ‘muzak’ is thought of in a derogatory way. However, as Muzak is actually a corporation which manufacture, produces and programmes this ‘easy listening’ music, it isn’t actually a genre in itself at all.
The American magazine ‘Billboard’ featured an easy listening singles chart in the 1960’s – an ‘easy listening music top 40’. This morphed into an adult contemporary chart in 1979 and continues to this day. Nostalgia or beautiful music; a subset of easy listening music, had quite rigid standards for instrumentation when played on the radio – few or no saxophones could be played and only a restricted amount of vocals could be played in an hour. Often, well known cover versions of the 60’s and 70’s were re-arranged and customized into instrumental songs for the radio format during its peak in popularity.
The term ‘easy listening’ is a relatively broad one in that it’s also used to describe genres such as new age music, smooth jazz and soft rock, and many more, although it isn’t correct to include these in the label at all. After all, even Metallica have songs on the softer side that could be labeled as easy listening, but not many of us would put them in this genre of music.
New age music is the perfect accompaniment to yoga, massage, meditation, stress management and reading. The melodies are repetitive and soothing and often include a drum beat to give a hypnotic effect. And although there are rarely vocals in new age music, they can include tribal chants and angelic harmonies.
Smooth jazz is a sub-genre of jazz that is influenced by R&B, funk, rock and pop. Modern derivatives of the genre include the new adult contemporary format of broadcast radio. However, the popularity of smooth jazz has waned since 2007 and in the US it was abandoned by several high profile radio stations, even though smooth jazz concerts and record sales still continue to show fan support.
Soft rock, also labeled easy, mellow or light rock, uses the techniques of rock ‘n’ roll to compose a softer, more toned down sound which is easier on the ears and heart rate. Soft rock songs tend to be based on love and life and relationships and tend to involve acoustic guitars, pianos and synths. Electric guitars are toned down to give a softer sound.
It’s quite important that all the differing forms of music should keep their own identity and not be put under this very ‘easy to use’ ‘easy listening’ label. There are very many styles of music it would be convenient to stuff into the, let’s face it, usually bland, easy listening box that have their own very unique nuances and deserve to have their own label.
Nadel Paris is a recording artist, musician, music producer, songwriter, dancer, published author, screenwriter, and her music is a mix between different styles: Dance, EDM, Pop, Urban …etc.
She is also an actor, an acting coach, a film/TV producer and the owner of the leading acting institution in personal growth for children. For year Nadel and her staff have been the driving factor towards personal growth for children.
For more details, please visit here: http://nadelparis.strikingly.com/