Music for Zen Meditation

Given my current location I thought I’d try this one out readers of this blog. I bought the album Music for Zen Meditation about 20 years ago; it was recorded in 1964 and features jazz clarinettist Tony Scott with two Japanese musicians, Shinichi Yuize (who plays the koto, a 13-stringed Japanese harp) and Hōzan Yamamoto (shakuhachi, a kind of bamboo flute). I think the music, and especially Scott’s lovely tone on the clarinet, creates a wonderful sense of peace, and it’s fascinating to hear the blending of styles. However, I played some of the music for my Japanese friend Chiaki some time ago and he said it sounded like something you would hear in an elevator. Ouch!

This album is often said to have been the first ever recording in the musical genre that came to be known as New Age, most of which I can’t stand. That reminds me of one of my favourite Gary Larson cartoons:


Music for Zen Meditation is certainly a far cry from bebop, but I’ll leave it to you to make your own mind up about it. See what you think. This track is the first one on the album and is entitled Is All Not One?

4 Responses to “Music for Zen Meditation”

  1. For me this type of music is beneficial after intense activity. Listening whilst lying on ones back, creating a feeling of melting into the floor for 2-3 mins. works well. Young children in class also benefit from this type of meditation.

    The tone of the clarinet is pure and works together with other two instruments. Sounds of water with music doesn’t gel with me.

    Music is very personal. Like a pair of shoes, what fits one does not necessarily do for another – just keep on enjoying the moment!!

  2. Michael Kenyon Says:

    I’ve got that on vinyl.

    It’s filed next to Stephan Micus playing flowerpots.

    David Toop’s book ‘Noise in the new age’ has some is worth reading as it touches on bits of New Age music.

  3. Anton Garrett Says:

    Does “Best of New Age Music” consist of repeated playings of John Cage’s 4:33?

    Certainly pre-dates Tubular Bells…

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