DECCAN CHRONICLE | Swati Sharma
HYDERABAD: In today’s fast-paced, overly stimulated world, ambient music provides an escape and a chance for listeners to relax their mind and body. Because it is non-intrusive and mellow, ambient music provides an excellent background for activities such as yoga, meditation, reading, or light chores.
It aims to create a specific mood or atmosphere. It is distinguished by its repetitive and meditative nature, and it frequently lacks traditional song structures and vocals.
Due to the rise of streaming music services like Spotify, Apple Music, and others, ambient music has become more popular in recent years. The way it promotes calmness, encourages creativity, and helps people concentrate all work in its favour.
"In today’s world, where everyone has so many things to worry about and different stressors, ambient music provides an easy and almost subconscious way of relaxing your mind without putting in extra effort. It’s even more beneficial if you’re doing something mindful, like yoga or meditation or dance, where you’re not actively listening to the music but the musical notes soothe your mind and thoughts. I believe that the more frequencies you have in your mind, the more diverse your thoughts, the more distracted and disturbed you’ll be. Ambient music assists in calming your mind, making it more focused and attentive, and helps you deal better with difficult life situations," says Shinjini Kulkarni, granddaughter of Kathak Maestro Pt. Birju Maharaj.
There’s music everywhere
In our tech-obsessed world, it's all too easy to get caught up in the digital whirlwind and lose sight of the natural symphony all around us.
According to Arjuna Harjai, a Bollywood composer, singer, and musician, ambient music and even everyday noises play a significant role in life. "In the midst of all the technology and noise in my life, ambient music and nature’s own sounds have provided a haven for me," he says.
"The gentle sounds of ambient music actually sync with my brain’s chill-out and focus waves — alpha and theta waves. And sometimes I just want to unplug and listen to the music of the world — the hum of a busy street, the rustle of leaves, or distant birdsong. They provide me with a respite from the daily grind, assisting me in finding moments of peace and mindfulness."
The sound of nature
Ambient or atmosphere music often incorporates natural sounds, such as birdsong, waterfalls, and wind, which can evoke a sense of connection to the natural world. This connection to nature can be seen as a spiritual experience, as it encourages a sense of harmony and interconnectedness. "We are located away from the hustle and bustle."
We want our guests to experience the soothing sounds of nature — the chirping birds and the whistling of winds. Therefore, we maintain a low volume of music and opt for instrumental melodies in the lobby and common areas to complement the overall ambiance. We select music based on the specific treatments our guests receive, often opting for Indian instrumental tunes or the tranquil sounds of water," says Ashley James, General Manager, Angsana Oasis Spa & Resort.
A mood booster
Ambient music speaks to the soul, it’s not just a collection of sounds and rhythms. "It has the ability to change our mood, lift us up when we are down, and inspire us to be our best selves. Music has the power to move us in ways that nothing else can, whether it's the haunting melodies of a classical symphony or the driving beats of a rock anthem," feels Apeksha Niranjan, Bharatanatyam dancer, choreographer, and Marathi Film actress.
"Music has the power to soothe our souls and bring us peace and calm in a world that can often feel chaotic and overwhelming. It’s a universal language that connects us to ourselves and to one another in ways that transcend time and space," she adds.
Nowadays, many hotels place a lot of emphasis on selecting the ideal music for their lobby, restaurants, spas, and all other spaces. The right music can help hotels create the ideal ambiance throughout their entire facility and increase both sales and brand recognition.
According to The Telegraph, guests left 4% more tips when the background music included many ‘happy tracks.’ Four out of ten people reported staying longer when they appreciated music in a business space. Also, 31% of all customers return, 21% recommend the company to others, and 14% purchase more when the ambient music is to their liking.
"By selecting the ideal music and establishing the ideal mood, we foster a nurturing and energising environment. Guests can unwind and find comfort in the warm embrace of our hotel thanks to the gentle rhythms and thoughtfully designed ambiance, which offer a respite from the outside world," says Hari Sukumar, Asst. Vice President of Operations, Hotel Royal Orchid.
It is impossible to overstate the value of background music and atmosphere, says Richard Lunel, Rooms Division Manager, Sheraton Grand. "What first catches your attention is the lobby's overall atmosphere. It is tranquil and comforting because of the relaxing music playing in the background. Whether it's the selection of calming, melodic tones in a spa or the upbeat sounds of jazz in a restaurant, the careful selection of music is crucial in creating the ideal environment for an unforgettable guest experience," he feels.
Music, even when subtly woven into the background, has remarkable influence, says Poonam Agarwal Nair, Vice President Sales & Marketing, Radisson Blu Palace Resort & Spa, Udaipur. "It goes beyond setting the mood - it affects our emotions, energy levels, and recall, fostering a profound connection with people, experiences, and spaces. We curate our musical choices, favouring instrumental compositions with a regional or folk touch - deeply rooted in the cultural tapestry of Udaipur. Our music not only reflects our brand identity but also sets the perfect tone, transforming different nooks of our resort into coveted destinations in their own right," adds Poonam.
What science says
The claims of ambient music being therapeutic have been backed by science. According to a study written about in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, background music can help patients feel less anxious while having medical procedures. Another study reported in the Journal of Music Therapy found that ambient music can enhance older adults’ sleep quality.
Research has shown that listening to ambient sounds can help reduce stress and anxiety, making it a great way to unwind after a stressful day at work. Ambient music is being incorporated into immersive virtual reality games as a stepping stone to calmer states of mind.
Brian Eno, the artist who named the ambient music genre and often gets credit for its invention, wrote in the liner notes to Ambient 1: Music for Airports, "This record is designed to induce calm and space to think."