Ambient Music, Using usual instruments

In previous article about music,  I just explained what ambient music is, and we learned that this genre, is famous because its minimal, relaxing and unusual form.  But, in this article, I’m going to explain how we can use a usual instrument and classical music technique, to make this kind of music.

Before we start, I’m going to explain one important thing, ambient is a minimalistic genre of music, so we have to keep it as simple as we can. minimalism means we have to use only maximum three chords, and repeat shapes and melodies for a while. Minimalism is the most important characteristic of ambient music!

Now, let’s discuss about our goal : making unusual music with a usual instrument. I choose piano in this case, because I have a lot of good piano sounds in my laptop, I personally play guitar, but I have no good guitar sound (VST or soundfont or … ). I chose piano, you know, piano is used to be one of the most known instrument in classical music. Also, people used this instrument to play Jazz, Rock, Symphonic Metal, etc. You only need to install “Piano tiles” game and play it, to realize how people used piano in different genres and styles! So, when people used piano even in rap music, we also can use it in our modern and minimalistic style!

Let’s talk about technique, in this case, I want to use Ostinato , which means playing a melodic shape repeatedly for a while. And if you have read this article carefully, you will realize that ambient (and any other minimalistic style of music) has this characteristic. And again, we can find that every musical genre, even these modern, minimal and unusual ones, have roots in the classical music.

As an example, I’m going to write a simple song. First, we need to decide about progression. I want to use 1-3-5 in key of D minor, which means I need these chords :
Dm – F – Am
So, we need to play these chords, each bar (or measure, I really don’t know what it’s called in different parts of the world :D) , includes one chord. This can be our sample :

So, We just played chords, it makes no sense at all. If you play piano (or any other classical instrument) you know when we want to play a piece, we need to decorate our main line. So, I add some decorations to my piece, which will be my ositnato :

And for now, I just play this piece for 5 times, then I do some sound engineering (adding effects, etc) and what you will hear is :

Yes, this is a simple ambient song! A simple ostinato, with reverb and pitch shifting, fades in and then fades out. I used LMMS for writing song, and playing it on a piano, and I also used Audacity for sound engineering.

I try to write more about ambient music in my blog, because I know it’s one of the most popular musical styles, and I know a lot of people who want to play this kind of music, but they don’t know how to start.

Good Luck!