Make An Ambient or Glitch Soundtrack

Some music genres are very textual and atmospheric. In this exercise, we will learn about ambient music and make our own track.


When Brian Eno heard elevator music, or muzak being disparaged, he thought, but what if you did make music that served different purposes.

You might deliberately make music to feel sad, or cheer up or whatever you wanted. Brian Eno created Music for Airports, an album which is interruptable, doesn't grab your attention and attempts to relax you, because travel is always slightly stressful. It's a wonderful piece of music and kicked off a whole genre of ambient music.

Go and listen to that album and explore ambient music further using the music visualisations.

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5 Artists Who Are Masters of Glitch Music
One of the strange aspects of technology, whether analogue or digital, is its tendency to glitch. The ghost in the machines, as it were. With music software in particular, glitch and error have become desirable ingredients in sound design and musical composition.
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Brian Eno - Ambient 1: Music for Airports [Full Album]
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Explore music genres
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Music Timelines
Explore music genres, discover new bands
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Ambient Artists List
Explore a pick of ambient artists, including my fave, Nurse With Wound
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Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music
Large visualisation. Zoom in and listen to each genre, from Musique Concrete to Glitch Hop
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Brilliant article by Eric Tamm which looks at Brian Eno, who was part of Roxy Music, worked with David Bowie and went on to invent functional music, and the whole ambient genre. 

Has lots of tips regarding creativity.


If you want to make your own track you can use a mixture of audio files, that is recorded audio or midi instruments. 

Midi files are instructions to synthesizers and you can use (very expensive) synthesizers of cheap and free ones.

You might want to gather together a collection of half a dozen .wav or .mp3 files (recorded audio files) and perhaps a few midi files.

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Midi World
Collection of midi files

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Royalty Free Soundtracks
Great list of Creative Commons audio files

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BBC Sound Effects

16,000 BBC sound effects for personal, educational or research purposes.

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Bit Midi

Large collection of midi files to use.


Lots of these tools are great as generative music instruments, like Osmosis, Rational Keyboard or Latent Cycles. If you can record any the tracks you create, you can then further process them using tools like Audacity or Bandlab.

With Audacity, you can slow the sound down, or add atmospheric reverb, or create dreamy chorus effects. You can fade sounds in and out very easily and mix tracks together.

With Bandlab, you can create, or import your midi tracks, and type in similar piano, synthesizer or string pieces, again maybe lots of atmospheric effects. This is a wonderful, almost professional sequencer.

With SoundPlant, you can drop your sound files onto the keys and then, tweaking the effects and speed of each sound, you can play your homemade sampler. Trust me, this is a totally fun tool that lets you create audio experiences that you might not have made with traditional editing tools because you can hear it as you play and edit it.

And lastly, if you just want to create a soundtrack, have some fun with Novation, very fun and  addictive.

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Type and your words become notes

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Oh my word! Amazing. A full audio workstation that works in the browser, on Android and iOS.

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Amazing tool to "play" a collection of samples whilst manipulating them.

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Rational Keyboard

Play an unusual rational keyboard. Very eno.

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Type an music and visuals just happen.

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Just click the buttons and get a groove going

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Latent Cycles

Start the beats and beeps, let it play on.

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Osmosis Drone Generator

Create pleasant background sounds

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Audio editor with loads of effects.

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Requires Flash. Really interesting drone/soundtrack generator... Creating a moody filmtrack? This might be useful.