Elevator Music

17.09.2019

Do you know where the term "elevator music" comes from? And why does it exist? There's a good story behind these questions that ended up being synonymous with a more peaceful and ambient-focused musical style.  

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Corporate Communications
Phone: + 41 41 445 30 60
corporate.communications@schindler.com

The emergence of "elevator music"

U.S. General George Squires patented a process in the early 1920s for transmitting music over electrical lines and later founded "Muzak Holdings," a company specializing in providing music with soft melodies for commercial buildings. “Muzak” even became synonymous with “elevator music” due to the dominance of the company in the market.

The association of Muzak and the term "elevator music" was largely due to his goal: to bring a moment of relaxation to the people who used the means of transportation, which was still a nov-elty for many at the time.

Background Music

Over time, background music became such a common companion in modern lives, that many people wouldn’t even realize that there was music in the elevators, department stores, and even-tually malls.

Fast forward almost 200 years and elevators are one of the most used forms of transportation, but the specific sound associated with elevator music, usually involving themes from "soft" popu-lar music or “light” classical music being performed by slow strings, has finally lost its domi-nance. A possible casualty to the rise of personal music and headphones?

This style of music is not completely gone of course, it is still often used to comedic effect in mass media such as film and TV, where intense or dramatic scenes may be interrupted or inter-spersed with such anodyne music while characters ride in an elevator.

Looking Ahead

The Muzak name has been retired and fewer elevators have music piped in than during elevator music’s hay day from the 1950s to 70s, but that’s not the end of the story for entertainment while you ride.

With advances in technology, we now display multimedia content, news and other in-formation during your ride. But why stop at the ride? Already in some countries, the Schindler Doorshow entertains you while you’re waiting for your elevator to arrive!