I need good mellow music!
December 16, 2022 11:04 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for music to fall asleep to.

I used to fall asleep to music all the time, but kind of fell out of the habit several years ago. I want to get back into it, but I want to change what I fall asleep to.

I am looking for, I think, classical music? Anyway, this is where my head is at:

- Instrumental
- Not new age/ambient (my wife knows this world pretty well, so I'm covered there)
- gentle, mellow, steady - not a lot of spikes in tempo/intensity
- Primarily piano and maybe some strings? Either way, simply orchestrated (think solo through trios/quartets rather than full band/orchestra)

So yeah, that's what I'm looking for, and it feels like most of what I am in the mood for there is classical. If so, I'm open to suggestions about composers/pieces etc, and I'm open to any era/style. If something non-classical fits those parameters, I'd love to hear about those as well!

I'd mostly be using Spotify for this, but also would buy physical media as there's both a CD player and turntable in the bedroom.
posted by pdb to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I’d try out David Celeste. He has albums that are more piano heavy and others that are more string heavy. There might be some crescendos in some of the songs, but you should be able to find enough mellow tracks to get a good playlist going.
posted by ygmiaa at 11:49 AM on December 16, 2022

A favorite: Liszt - Berceuse, played by Jeno Jandó.

“Berceuse” means lullaby in French, and might be helpful in searching for other classical solo-piano pieces. Other faves of mine you might find soothing: Chopin (nocturnes), Debussy (Claire de Lune, nocturnes, Afternoon of a Faun), and Satie (Gymnopedies, Gnossiennes), John Williams’ many albums of Spanish classical guitar.
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 11:51 AM on December 16, 2022

Max Richter's 'Sleep' (and the shorter 'From Sleep') is technically I think contemporary classical, but someone who knows new age/ambient music well might already be familiar with them.
posted by box at 12:33 PM on December 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

The album Alina, featuring compositions by Arvo Pärt, is one that has lulled me to sleep many times.

And a relatively recent album of solo piano berceuses/lullabies worth investigating is Bertrand Chamayou's Good Night!
posted by misteraitch at 12:59 PM on December 16, 2022

Try out the piano ten thousand leaves project (podcast feed here) by chair house. Mellow noodley piano.
posted by brainwane at 2:19 PM on December 16, 2022

Chopin's Berceuse Op. 57
posted by pinochiette at 2:51 PM on December 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'd recommend Stars of the Lid's And Their Refinement of the Decline... for this certainly. A Winged Victory for the Sullen's Atomos and self-titled album are both amazing. Seconding Richter's Sleep - it's 8 hours long and meant for exactly this purpose. These may qualify as ambient... but they also meet your requirements and are super good.

Goldmund is another, piano-focused one: Famous Places, Two Point Discrimination, and others meet your needs. H Hunt's Playing Piano for Dad is also great, suuuper low key piano.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 2:53 PM on December 16, 2022

Ana Roxanne
posted by kensington314 at 3:05 PM on December 16, 2022

Sorry, missed about not new age/ambient.

Grouper (Forgive the medium-creepy cover image, it's not scary music.)

This may be too animated at points for what you seek, but I used to get a lot of mileage out of Dirty Three during reading time.
posted by kensington314 at 3:45 PM on December 16, 2022

Seconding Richter’s “Sleep” - interesting also because it’s an 8 hour long piece that is supposed to take you through an entire night. I like Brian Eno’s Thursday Afternoon and stuff by Ólafur Arnalds
posted by rongorongo at 5:04 PM on December 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Maybe also Philip Glass' "Solo Piano" album?
posted by kensington314 at 5:17 PM on December 16, 2022

Try some Zoë Keating - while her music is not exactly classical, using looping and other things to accompany herself, I find cello soothing in general and her music interesting.
posted by TimHare at 9:18 PM on December 16, 2022

My go to for this is Jessica Moss's Particles - it's probably lulled me to sleep hundreds of times. It starts out a little strong (it's technically solo violin but there's...a lot of loop pedals and such involved) but becomes sparser after a few minutes. Something about the the kind of chanting latter half just shuts off my brain when I'm thinking a million miles a minute about something and can't stop.

Honorable mentions to Nils Frahm (My Friend the Forest, 23:52) and Nujabes (Imaginary Folklore, Another Reflection).
posted by davidest at 9:40 PM on December 16, 2022

Debussy's piano pieces are a popular choice for this purpose.
posted by praemunire at 10:15 PM on December 16, 2022

Max Richter Sleep (don’t put it on shuffle because the transitions can be jarring), or From Sleep (1 hour).
Ludovico Einaudi Seven Days Walking (shuffle is fine), put a sleep timer on.
Johann Johannsson, Orphee.
posted by matildaben at 12:23 PM on December 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

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