Different styles of music have different” sounds.” We can each enough much agree on that point. For illustration, Jazz uses seventh passions nearly simply. This, and the kind of passion progressions used in Jazz gives it its unique flavor. But what about new age music? Does it have it’s own special constituents? Yes it does.
Now, there are no hard and fast rules then but for the utmost part, new age music is a consonant music. That is, there’s little or noharshness going on in the music. No Saxes wailing and what not. Having said that we can exclude utmost of the tense jazz passions and their venting. So what are we left with? substantially Major and minor passions grounded on the regular scales and the modes. The passion progressions are simpler and generally start on the l passion. No ll- V- l progressions then.
What about air? In jazz, we’ve a soloist who generally plays a lot of polychromatic notes. This is rare in new age music because it would produce conflict. New age warbles tend to be softer and further on the spiritual side. Solos, if there are any, aren’t so much concerned with the expression of the tone than they’re with letting the music express itself. A subtle but veritably important distinction. Jazz players may have some pride invested in their performance. New age musicians learn to let the music play them. They learn to come a channel for the music itself allowing it to speak through them. Of course, I am not saying that this can not be in Jazz, but, just watch a Jazz pantomime and you will see what I mean.
Last but not least is meter. Let’s do a comparison/ discrepancy between Jazz and New Age music. Jazz has a definite perceptible meter. It’s what makes Jazz Jazz. New age music can have a pattern or an underpinning meter to the music. It can be used to produce reverie like countries in the listener. cans are generally a part of Jazz music. Percussion is substantially absent from the New Age sound simply because it would not add to the atmosphere most New Age musicians produce. Timing is veritably important to the Jazz musician. The soloist has the freedom to play whatever he wants as long as he maintains the cadence and stays in time. New Age music is more elastic in that timing is there, but isn’t a master of the player. The New Age player can disregard time altogether. Just hear to Zen flute music as a good illustration of this.
Now, what does all this mean for the aspiring New Age musician? A couple of good effects. It means that there’s a definite new age” sound” out there. That it’s then to stay and that people like and need to hear it. And it means that there are some guidelines out there for what defines the meaning of New Age music.