sad swelling music
August 27, 2012 7:18 PM   Subscribe

Looking for sad music: instrumental, ambient, classical or swelling musical scores.

I really prefer something with no voices in them. The kind of music that you can just listen to on endless loop while you are lying on the floor in the dark.

For example, in my current playlist, there's usually a range/movement -

from quiet and poignant:
Dustin O'Halloran - Opus 23
Arvo Pärt- Spiegel im Spiegel

to something nebulous and swelling, like being brought to the precipice:
Michael Giacchino - Moving On
Hans Zimmer - Time

Not sure if the following details matter, but: I listen to these on my 'off' days/weeks/months, that is, when I am incredibly depressed and/or when I am currently transitioning from an 'up' phase. They kind of balance things out, and help me from acting recklessly (i.e. do something creative vs thinking about self-harm).

Would appreciate any recommendations.
posted by pleasebekind to Media & Arts (27 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
This recent Mefi thread will interest you.
posted by thisclickableme at 7:34 PM on August 27, 2012


Theme music from Band of Brothers?
posted by lakeroon at 7:36 PM on August 27, 2012


Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Moya
Four Tet - She Just Likes To Fight
Gridlock - Done Processing
New Order - Elegia
Diaphane - Signa
Nadja - Bug / Golem
Nine Inch Nails - Leaving Hope
posted by Jairus at 7:38 PM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Adagio in G Minor by Tomaso Albinoni
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:40 PM on August 27, 2012


I really liked the score to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" for these moods. Tan Dun's very quiet, very spare, very repetitive figures really spoke to that part of me that was in need of attention. Here is a good example.

Also be sure to check out the Amelie soundtrack. There are plenty of good options.

Of course there is always Barber's heartbreaking Adagio.

I know you said you prefer no vocalists, but I would still suggest Mvmt 2 from Gorecki's Symphony No. 3 for this purpose.
posted by jph at 7:45 PM on August 27, 2012


Remember Me as a Time of Day
First Breath After Coma
Your Hand in Mine

All by the wonderfully evocative Explosions in the Sky
posted by invisible ink at 7:54 PM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


For classical, Cesar Franck's Symphony in D Minor. It's sad and doomy, then swelling and joyous (no vocals). I used to listen to it all the way through every weeknight, to get rid of the mad-at-my-aggravating-boss funk. Great music therapy.
posted by Corvid at 8:05 PM on August 27, 2012


Clint Mansell's soundtrack for The Fountain.
posted by milk white peacock at 8:12 PM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


For graceful melancholy, you can't beat Yumeji's Theme by Shigeru Umebayashi popularized by Wong Kar wai's In the Mood for Love.
posted by Pantalaimon at 8:28 PM on August 27, 2012


"Saturn", from "The Planets" by Holst
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:32 PM on August 27, 2012


Mozart's last four string quartets---they sound as if he knew his time was running out.
posted by Napoleonic Terrier at 8:52 PM on August 27, 2012


Also this recent AskMe. I repeat my suggestions there (especially Mahler's 6th symphony, the backstory is worth a read).
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 8:58 PM on August 27, 2012


Leyland Kirby's music, IMO, fits the description of what you're looking for about perfectly- melancholic, nostalgic ambient with a distinctly cinematic/swelling sound. I can highly recommend his most recent album, Eager to Tear Apart The Stars- here's my favorite track from it.

In a somewhat different vein, William Basinski's Melancholia is excellent as well- also melancholic ambient, but much more subtle, quiet, and minimalist. Here's the second track from it.
posted by a louis wain cat at 9:22 PM on August 27, 2012


Tim Hecker: The Piano Drop

actually, his whole album Ravedeath 1972 might be to your liking.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:32 PM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Keith Jarrett's poignant encore improvisation from his 1976 solo concert in Tokyo.
posted by prinado at 11:51 PM on August 27, 2012


I adore, adore Michael Nyman. His music is beautiful and plays on soulful tragedy. If you have seen The Piano, or Gattica, you might recall the incredible moods established by the musical scores. Try the Carrington soundtrack for swelling music. Outside Looking In is my favorite.
posted by loquat at 12:30 AM on August 28, 2012


Maybe something by Erik Satie?
posted by pknodle at 1:28 AM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


From the soundtrack to The Mighty - My Noble Knight
posted by koucha at 6:41 AM on August 28, 2012


Oh also, Alexandre Desplat's "The Heroic Weather Conditions of the Universe" recently featured in (written for?) "Moonrise Kingdom?" Sad and swelling. Check and check.
posted by jph at 8:42 AM on August 28, 2012


Camille's Theme
(from Contempt (Le Mépris) and also Casino, IIRC.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:42 AM on August 28, 2012


From Melos, by Tsabropoulos, Lechner & Gandi:

Gift of Dreams

Song of Gratitude

Tibetan Dance (Gurdjieff)
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:52 AM on August 28, 2012


Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works
posted by Th!nk at 10:37 AM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I agree with Unicorn on the Cob that Tim Hecker would be perfect for this.
posted by the foreground at 11:53 AM on August 28, 2012


Seconding Satie, especially the Gnossienes.

The Adagio from Bach's Violin Concerto in E. I think most of The Art of the Fugue by Bach would fit your description as well.

Ravel's Pavane por un infante defunte, as well as the second movement of the Sonatine.

The Adagio of Mozart's Piano Concerto #23 has a SUPER sad punch in the beginning, then gets happy, then ends back on its sad streak.

Chopin's Nocturnes seem like they'd also work here.

If you're willing to step outside of classical, maybe some Eno would fit the bill.

Also, can't go wrong with Northern Lights by The Dixie Dregs.
posted by saladin at 2:46 PM on August 28, 2012


Perhaps this song by the Punch Brothers.
posted by wittgenstein at 2:50 PM on August 28, 2012


"Andro" and (especially) "Replica" from Replica (side A of said album) by Oneohtrix Point Never may be of interest.
posted by yz at 6:30 PM on August 28, 2012


Brian Eno's An Ending (Ascent)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:56 PM on July 13, 2013


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