Crossed Violins

What exactly is Light Music? The answer depends on who you ask the question. We tend to agree with the definition given in Wikipedia :

'Light music is a generic term applied to a mainly British musical style of "light" orchestral music, which began post-World War I and had its heyday during the mid-20th century, although arguably it lasts to the present day. The style is also known as mood music or concert music.'

But to some people (including the Light Music Society) the term Light Music covers an enormous range of music - the operas of Gilbert and Sullivan or Offenbach, the waltzes of Strauss, the marches of Sousa, tuneful orchestral music by Eric Coates, Edward German, Leroy Anderson, Robert Farnon, Ron Goodwin, Trevor Duncan and many others, Palm Court music, symphonic jazz, the light moments of Mozart, Schubert, Tchaikowsky, Elgar or Walton, ballet music by Delibes, show music by Richard Rogers, Leonard Berstein or Andrew Lloyd Webber, popular songs and ballads of this or any age, film music, tv themes etc.,

Undoubtedly much of this could be called 'light', but we would argue that 'British Light Music' is a genre in its own right - original music for orchestra that is written for the sole purpose of broadcasting or performance in the concert hall, and which has no pretensions of being 'serious' or classical. It can also mean clever, inspired arrangements of existing melodies. What it isn't is 'opera lite'. ROBERT FARNON

So we will concentrate mainly on British light orchestral music, and the art of the arranger. It is the skill of the arranger/orchestrator - who is often the composer too - that sets good light music apart from the awful modern-day formulaic stuff known as 'elevator' or 'wallpaper' music, where thoughtful, well crafted arrangements are sacrificed on the twin altars of low cost and speed of production.

Good light music should be easily accessible to every listener - but that is not the same thing as 'easy listening'. In the best of the genre the trained ear will hear intricacies of orchestration, harmony and counterpoint that are more often found in the works of the great classical composers - nuances that the more casual listener may miss. But it doesn't really matter how you listen - this is music to lift the spirits and put a smile on the face.

Arrangers are sometimes called 'Stylists' in the US, and the best of Light Music oozes 'style' and above all, good taste. The composers and arrangers featured on these pages will be quality craftsmen, one and all.

[Note : There are other sites on the internet devoted to Light Music. We have called this a "collection" because we hope to bring you the best items from these sites in a truncated form. Wherever possible we will attribute items to their original source, but if anyone considers we have infringed their copyright we will immediately withdraw the item if requested. We hope you will find this site as well-crafted and pleasurable as the music that inspired it.]

There are more comprehensive sites for particular genres at:

Ron Goodwin
Robert Farnon
What is light music?
British Music Society
The light music society
Light music hall of fame
Soundtrack (Film music)
Gilbert and Sullivan Archive
British light music composers
Choraline -
Choral Music website -
British Choirs on the Net -

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This is no longer the site for the stroud light music choir
This is the site of SiteCreationS light music collection, Stroud, Gloucestershire. SLMC

stroud light music choir