New age is a musical genre composed to spread an artistic, relaxing and optimistic atmosphere.
It is in principle played during yoga, massage, meditation and reading sessions in order to relieve stress or to diffuse a soothing atmosphere, whether in a home or another environment, and is associated with environmentalism and New Age spirituality.
The harmonies that characterize the new age imply a bass drone, and vary according to the themes associated with them. Music often contains sounds from nature, sometimes used as an introduction during a song or during a passage.
New age is both a form of electronic music, frequently characterized by sustained pieces of synthesizer or sequencer, and an acoustic form, characterized by instruments such as flute, piano, acoustic guitar and a wide variety of non-western acoustic instruments.
Vocal arrangement is rare in the new age, but over time the music gradually becomes vocal and then consists of songs inspired by native Americans or Tibetans, or lyrics inspired by mythology. Gender boundaries are not properly established; therefore, some alternative terms are used for its categorization.
New age music is inspired by a variety of artists themselves from a variety of genres, such as instrumentalists John Fahey and Leo Kottke, minimalists Terry Riley, Steve Reich, La Monte Young, and Philip Glass, the progressive and hovering rock group Pink Floyd, the synthesizers players Brian Eno, Vangelis, Giorgio Moroder, Jan Hammer, Jean-Michel Jarre without forgetting the jazz musicians Keith Jarrett, Paul Horn and Pat Metheny.
Different styles and mixes of electronic, experimental and acoustic new age were launched in the early 1970s and included Asian artists like Kitaro and the Yellow Magic Orchestra.
Spectrum Suite by Steven Halpern, published in 1975, is generally considered to be the first album of the new age musical movement. New age music is initially produced and sold by small independent labels. Sales explode in small shops and bookstores, in particular.
In 1979, RnB musician Stevie Wonder composed the soundtrack for the documentary The Secret Life of Plants, another first example of new age, which, in turn, became the first new age album sold on the shelves. In 1981, Tower Records of Mountain View (California) launched a "new age" row.
The new age is inspired by a variety of artists themselves from a variety of genres. The albums entitled Environments (1969–1979) by Irv Teibel, which consist of natural noises and songs "Om?", become the first psycho-acoustic albums published.
Nn 1973, Mike Oldfield's progressive rock album Tubular Bells became one of the first recognized albums in the new age genre. Spectrum Suite (1975) by Steven Halpern is a key song of the new age musical movement.