Meditation music includes music played with or listened to during meditation, music the performance of which is a meditation, or music which is meditative. Music may distract from or enhance meditation, and meditation may involve music making.
Meditation music should be simple and soothing. There is an esoteric branch of yoga called Nada yoga. In Nada yoga it is said that advance meditators hear divine “unstruck” sounds that arise from within the heart. Some of the sounds heard in meditation are said to be in nature or have been duplicated by human beings. Some of the classical sounds include the rumble or thunder, the buzzing of bees and the deep sound of the waves. Some of the instruments that are inducive to meditation are the tamboura, tibetan singing bowl, the flute and the sitar. Some of the trailbrazers in producing meditation music have been organizations such as the Sanata Society, Sounds True and Inner Splendor Media.
Musical training is similar to meditation and musicians may study meditation for the benefits during performance, such as deep breathing and concentration. According to Claudio Naranjo, “the essence of meditation is also the essence of art”. Some composers have combined meditation and music, for example, John Cage, Stuart Dempster, Pauline Oliveros, Terry Riley, and La Monte Young others have written meditative pieces. Some examples are Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Mantra (1970), Hymnen (1969), Stimmung (1968), and Aus den sieben Tagen (1968), Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time (1941), and Ben Johnston, whose Visions and Spells (a realization of Vigil (1976)), requires a meditation period prior to performance. R. Murray Schafer’s concepts of clairaudience (clean hearing) as well as the ones found in his The Tuning of the World (1977) are meditative (Von Gunden 1983, 103–104).
Stockhausen describes Aus den sieben Tagen as “intuitive music” and in the piece “Es” from this cycle the performers are instructed to play only when not thinking or in a state of nonthinking (Von Gunden asserts that this is contradictory and should be “think about your playing”). The first recordings, made in June 1969 (Harmonia Mundi CD HMA 190795) feature a surprising “constant dense sonic texture”[verification needed]. John Cage was influenced by Zen and pieces such as 4’33” and Imaginary Landscape No. 4 for twelve radios are “meditations that measure the passing of time” (Von Gunden 1983, 103–10)