As an Asperger suffering and highly sensitive introvert, it’s no surprise that music is my way of calming down when the world gets too crazy. I’ve used ASMR roleplays, ambient sounds, instrumental music, and other types of background music to calm myself down.
However, I’ve always done ambient sound (such as city, park, or outdoor sounds) and instrumental music apart based on my mood or the activity I was doing, so when I discovered ambient music through artists such as David Toop and Enzo, I was shocked to discover the benefits as well as the history of the genre I loved.
Ambient vs Instrumental
While instrumental music is played using the same rules as traditional music, such as using a rhythm and melodies, ambient music focuses more on tone and repetitive melodies. It’s also a lot slower paced and focuses on fading into the background of your mind.
Some of my favorite ambient music tracks are just three hours of two simple melodies being played over and over again by different instruments in a pattern. This might sound boring to those unfamiliar with the genre, but the intent isn’t for the music to be listened to – it’s just there.
Ambient music is designed to calm your mind and emotions, which is why it is played while people sleep or have had a stressful day. It’s like breathing- something you do every day but not something you focus on or think about.
One creator of ambient music stated that “It must be as ignorable as it is interesting.”
The inclusion of other sounds
Most of the ambient music I listen to has the sound accompanied by rainfall, birds chirping, or other nature or quiet sounds, such as a dry cleaner running. This further stimulates and relaxes the mind and also helps break up the repetitive melodies if it is being actively listened to.
In addition, other instruments will play the same melody or break up the pattern, and most are acoustic such as guitars, harps, and flutes.
Synthesizers and droning sounds are also added in to provide a constant hum to the music in order to prevent gaps in the sound from becoming noticeable, and all these other sounds work with the main melody to provide a constant stream of white noise.
Benefits of ambient music
Ambient music is often designed as something to listen too before bed, after a stressful day, and when a period of focusing is required. The music can also heal physical and emotional pain and is commonly played in therapist and other offices where deep discussions are often held.
It’s been known as a sleep aid and can even bring down a heart rate, which is useful for me whenever too many stimuli bring me over the edge. By allowing my brain to loop this constant melody, I can focus on each stimulus one at a time and then calm myself down enough to put the world back in its place and then take it on.