Eight tips to put good music in a gastronomic restaurant (and a playlist to make my day)

Eight tips to put good music in a gastronomic restaurant (and a playlist to make my day)

Music is not the most important thing in a restaurant. Even, it may be expendable. But the sound environment is another part of the experience, and a good musical selection can help not only create a pleasant atmosphere for diners, but also add personality to the proposal.

Unfortunately, hardly anyone takes restaurant music seriously. As we explained in a previous article about what has become almost a personal obsessionNobody finds it strange that an interior designer is hired to make a restaurant more pleasant, but most owners do not seem to mind that it is the first to pass by who plays the songs that are played during the services.

A good musical selection, if it can be made expressly for the restaurant, is one more tool for transmit sensations, which is after all what you are looking for in a good gastronomic establishment. But I’m not even asking that much: I would settle for not playing music in restaurants, which is simply unpleasant.

That is why, like the Japanese musician did Ryuichi Sakamoto –Which gave the owner of a New York restaurant a playlist so that he would stop souring his meals–, and saving the distance, I have ventured to make a selection of three-hour songs that can fit well in most gastronomic restaurants: a mix of ambient, jazz, exotic and folk; quiet, but interesting. It is available on Tidal and Spotify.

Although I have been thinking about this for a while, when making the list I have realized more details that, I think, it is necessary to take into account when it comes to design a musical environment in a restaurant. They are these, in case someone is encouraged to make their own list (or ask someone to make it for them, you don’t have to know everything in this life either).

1. Be original, avoid crappy versions

Every time a keyed version of Joy Division is played bossa nova the Child Jesus cries. If you want your restaurant to be original when it comes to food, it should also be original when it comes to music. To select light versions of rock classics –Something that for some strange reason happens in many restaurants– is to music what the fifth range to food. Do not do it. Never.

2. Don’t put too well known songs

It is logical to think that the more well-known a song is, the more people will like it. But we are in a restaurant, not a disco (not even a tavern, where things would change). The protagonist is food and we must look for music that is pleasant, preferably interesting, but does not distract us too much if we are in company and we do not want to pay too much attention to it.

Arthur Lyman, one of the greats of “exotic” sounds.

3. Turn the volume low, but not too low

As much as I like music, I recognize that it makes no sense to turn the volume high in a gastronomic restaurant – especially when, what a coincidence, the music that is listened to too much is usually the one that no one listens to. However, it does not make sense to put music at an inaudible volume, which does not allow us to enjoy it even if we want to pay attention to it. Find the middle ground, also to prevent diners from raising the volume of their voices, which can end in hellish cacophony.

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4. Choose mostly instrumental music

For the same reason that I do not advise to play songs that are too well known, it is preferable to select mostly instrumental music, which allows let the food do the talking. From time to time there is no problem because a sung song sounds (I have put them on my list), but it is better that it be sporadically and avoiding voices that go too high.

5. Find music that does not alter, but also does not bore

A restaurant is not going to dance, so it is better to avoid music that is too lively, but that does not mean that we have to put Kenny G. You also don’t want your guests to cut their wrists. The ideal is to find music that is entertaining and curious when we are paying attention to it –because we are eating alone or our partner has gone to the bathroom–, but does not distract us when we are talking.

Yusef lateef

Jazz always works well in a restaurant, but avoiding sounds more hard bop or free, with aggressive drums. Yusef Lateef’s flute does not fail.

6. Avoid aggressive percussion

As the music critic explains Ted gioa In his book Music, a subversive history, the musical tradition originating from rural communities, such as country, blues or jota, usually has little percussion, as it scared the cattle: instruments were used mainly from rope and wind, those that allowed calmer music to be played. To choose music in a restaurant, without prejudice that there are sporadically not very aggressive batteries, we must do like the shepherds.

7. Never use random mode

Using random mode is the best way to make it clear that you don’t care at all what is playing in a restaurant. If your dishes are served in an order within a menu, the same must happen with the music. There are songs that work better followed by others and in a good list it is important that there is progressive changes, never abrupt, of styles and atmospheres. At the end of the day you are playing music and this is just the opposite of choosing songs at random.

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8. Renew your lists frequently

Finally, it is important to vary the lists frequently, so as not to bore repeat diners. This does not mean that we have to be looking for new music every day, but ideally we have a few lists That they cover all the service that we can rotate frequently while we add new ones. If the tasting menu is changed frequently, why not the music? At the moment you have a free list to start with.

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