How to Use Chill Background Music Effectively


Throughout film, television, commercials, video games, and any other audio or visual medium, background music is an often overlooked but critical element of any production. For producers, editors, and anyone else working on video production, the best type of background music for a video will depend on a number of different factors. However, one particular genre of background music that is quite versatile and effective is “chill” background music. When seeking to create a relaxing vibe that puts an audience at ease and evokes positive emotions, chill music will often work well as a background for a number of different mediums. 

If you are a video producer, editor, audio engineer, or anyone who works in a creative capacity with video or gaming production, read on to learn about the best practices for using chill background music effectively. Then, learn about the best sources for licensing music and sound effects for your own videos. 

What Makes Good Background Music?

When looking for the best background music, the keyword to focus on is “background.” There are tons of great music out there, but if that music will divert the audience’s attention from the video, commercial, or game, then it does not work well as “background” music. In essence, good background music must do its job in establishing the necessary mood for the viewer without occupying most of the viewer’s attention. To do this, it must complement the tone that the video itself is going for, without drawing too much of the audience’s attention away. 

For chill background music specifically, the first part tends to be less of an issue. After all, “chill” music tends to be quieter, slower, and in general, less attention-grabbing than louder, faster types of music. Therefore, when trying to find the best chill background music, you should make sure that the chill vibes of the music match up well with the actual tone of the medium that you are using it for. If, for example, your video is trying to create a more somber or heavier tone, chill music would most likely not be the best choice. 

How Is Music Used as Background Music?

Much of the background music that appears in TV, movies, commercials, and video games comes from pre-recorded “music libraries.” These tracks are usually written ahead of time to fit with several predetermined tones and genres in order to maximize efficiency. In other cases, composers will write specific pieces of music for a specific medium, if that medium needs a particular type of sound to make a scene work. When appearing in the medium itself, the background music will, once again, not challenge or overwhelm the actual scene that it is synchronized with. Rather, background music is almost always mixed lower than dialog or other types of sounds necessary for the plot development of the story or game. Chill background music can often play for longer periods of time due to its low-key nature and slower pace. There’s no buildup or crescendo with the music. 

How Is Good Background Music Made?

The background music that you hear in your daily media consumption can be made from a variety of different means. Many composers still use traditional analog composition methods to make various types of background music. However, in today’s world, more and more background music composers create their work on computers. 

Both traditional and computer-based compositional methods have their pros and cons, but one thing to keep in mind when considering which route to take is arguably the most important element of background music production: sound signatures. Sound signatures, also known as “audio logos” or “sound identity,” create a specific and recognizable tone that listeners will immediately associate with a particular brand, character, or other aspect of the media in question. 

For chill background music composition, you want to first get a good read on the specific tone that you will link your background music to. If you are composing chill background music for a commercial, make sure that you understand what emotional tone you want viewers to associate with the brand in question. Then, you can produce or license chill background music that will be recognizable for viewers while conveying the necessary emotional signature. 

How Do You EQ Background Music?

Once you’ve found some great chill background music that works well for your particular medium, the issue of equalizing said music is the next major step in the production process. Fortunately, EQ-ing chill background music is much easier than many often fear. In fact, you can usually effectively EQ background music in only five steps. 

  1. Determine the specific goal of the background music, and which frequencies are needed and which aren’t. 
  2. EQ out any unnecessary or out-of-place frequencies. 
  3. With unnecessary frequencies removed, you can then remove resonating frequencies as well. 
  4. Balance the mid-range sounds to create the recognizable melodies.
  5. Finally, equalize the high-end (treble) frequencies and sounds with the main musical frequencies so there aren’t jarring departures from tone or imbalances. 

How Do You Compose Background Music on Piano?

Pianos provide composers with many great tools for writing effective background music, chill or otherwise. For example, you can use a “sus (suspended) chord” to extend the duration of a single chord without losing the audience’s interest. Suspended chords involve swapping the 3rd note in a chord for the 2nd or 4th and playing them back and forth. You can also alternate base notes to extend the music’s atmosphere without drawing attention away from the main plot of the medium in question. 

Use StockMusic for Your Licensing Needs

When looking for the best chill background music to license for any type of medium, StockMusic has you covered. Whether you need chill music for a commercial, a video game, a TV spot, or anything else, StockMusic has the music and sound effects that you are looking for. If you are a producer, editor, or anyone else in the video production industry, get in touch with StockMusic today to find the best chill background music for your upcoming projects.

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