Background music

Background music

Although background music was by the end of the 20th Century generally identified with Muzak or elevator music, there are several stages in the development of this concept:


In the Baroque and Classical music era music could be performed as a background to other activities, for instance:
*French kings of the baroque era could have music performed during their stately dinners.
*Opera or other public music performances could have such a high "social function" character that few people would actually listen to the music being performed.

Furniture music

Furniture music was an invention of Erik Satie around 1920. This type of "background music" fell into oblivion when the composer died a few years later, and was not again executed until it was rediscovered several decades later. Typical of "Furniture music" are short musical passages, with an indefinite number of repeats.

Elevator music

Elevator music is a more general term indicating music that is played in rooms where many people come together (that is, with no intention whatsoever to listen to music). There is a specific "sound" associated with elevator music, usually involving themes from "soft" popular music or "light" classical music being worked over by slow strings. The type of music for instance the Mantovani Orchestra, and conductors like Franck Pourcel and James Last produced, peaking its popularity around the 1970s.

Ambient music

The term Ambient music is generally used when more, but often less distinguishable, influences (like for instance elements of Jazz and/or sounds from nature, etc...) are mingled in the "soundscape". Note however that some producers and/or composers of "Ambient music" or "soundscapes" (or similar associated types of music, see Ambient article) might not have (had) any intention to use the qualifier "background" for their music.

Foreground music

In opposition to background music, foreground music is intended to be listened to actively. Lifestyle Companies in particular like to employ foreground music, individually compiled and scheduled to increase customer loyalty and time spent in their stores. However, sometimes the opposite effect is achieved; if the music proves to be too intrusive, people may be driven out of the store by it. Very often these companies have professional DJ's select the music matching their brand. In most cases currently popular chart music is used.

Anime, video game and blog music

Background music (often abbreviated "BGM") is also the term used to describe the music in video games, incidental music in anime, and music in blogs or websites.

ee also

* [ PCM Technologies, Inc.]
*Applied Media Technologies Corporation
*Muzak Holdings LLC
* [ Streamit]
* [ Symphonex]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • background music — background ,music noun uncount 1. ) quiet music that plays in a public place 2. ) the music used in a movie to create a particular mood …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • background music — noun also background : music performed especially by unseen performers as an accompaniment to some activity essentially unrelated to it (as dining, shopping, or factory work); specifically : music specially composed or arranged to accompany the… …   Useful english dictionary

  • background music — music which is played softly to create a nice atmosphere …   English contemporary dictionary

  • background music — 1. music, often recorded, intended to provide a soothing background, usually played over loudspeaker systems in public places, as railway stations or restaurants. 2. music composed specifically to accompany and heighten the mood of a visual… …   Universalium

  • background music — back′ground mu sic n. 1) mad music, often recorded, intended to provide a soothing background 2) sbz music composed to accompany and heighten the mood of a visual production, as a movie • Etymology: 1925–30 …   From formal English to slang

  • background music — noun a) Any music played in a public space whose main function is to create an atmosphere suitable to a specific occasion, rather than to be listened to. b) Any music in a film, video game or other medium that establishes mood and is not meant to …   Wiktionary

  • background music — UK / US noun [uncountable] 1) quiet music that plays in a public place 2) the music used in a film to create a particular mood …   English dictionary

  • background music — noun Date: 1928 music to accompany the dialogue or action of a motion picture or radio or television drama …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • background music — noun music intended as an unobtrusive accompaniment to an activity, or to provide atmosphere in a film …   English new terms dictionary

  • background music — / bækgraυnd ˌmju:zɪk/ noun music played over the tannoy in a shop, supermarket, atrium etc., as a means of calming potential customers …   Marketing dictionary in english

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