Ambient is a music genre which originated in the United Kingdom. Developing in the 1970s, ambient stemmed from the experimental and synthesizer-oriented styles of the period, while being influenced by Kraftwerk and Klaus Schulze; nevertheless, the dance and techno music of the 1980s also played an important role in the genre. Basil Kirchin and Brian Eno are regarded as ambient's main founders. The concept of background or furniture music had already existed some time before, yet both Kirchin and Eno created ambient by fusing elements of environmental music with electronic music. Ambient's sound was additionally influenced in part by space rock and Krautrock.
As a genre, ambient focuses on creating a mood or atmosphere through synthesizers and timbral qualities. It often lacks the presence of any net composition, beat, or structured melody. Due to its relatively open style, ambient music often takes influences from many other genres, ranging from house, dub, industrial and new age, amongst several others. Since it is a relatively ambiguous term, ambient has no distinct characteristics, and its style can vary a lot. In essence, it is a term to describe any form of electronic music which puts an emphasis on tone and atmosphere over songwriting, composition and craftsmanship, hence often lacking musical structure or rhythm. Ambient music is often highly conceptual and experimental in style, while it is said to evoke an "atmospheric", "visual" or "unobtrusive" quality.
Ambient did not achieve large commercial success, being criticized as having a "boring" and "over-intellectual" sound. Nevertheless, it has also attained a certain degree of acclaim throughout the years. It had its first wave of popularity in the 1970s, yet saw a revival towards the late-1980s with the prominence of house and techno music, growing a cult following by the 1990s.
Read more about Ambient Music: History, 1990s: Developments, Soundtracks, Notable Ambient-music Shows On Radio and Via Satellite
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“Music is either sacred or secular. The sacred agrees with its dignity, and here has its greatest effect on life, an effect that remains the same through all ages and epochs. Secular music should be cheerful throughout.”
—Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (17491832)