While it is great to match your soundtrack to your guests as you would a bottle of a wine to your meal, who has the time?
I have played the same group of albums at dinner parties for years. Guests never seem to tire of them and probably don’t even realize it’s the same music! They have an almost magical ability to keep parties lively and conversation strong.
1. Music is just the background
At the very least, dinner music should waft pleasantly in the background to enhance the mood of the party. And when I saw pleasantly, I am not talking idyllic, pastoral Mozart or the other typically “classy” choice: jazz. However, since the music should never obscure conversation, it is best to steer clear of rock or pop, which can be easy to recognize.
2. Take care of the tempo
Music that is too fast or boisterous also gets old fast. It may on some occasions be useful to have something more energetic to set the tone as the guests arrive and chat over appetizers, but it is usually best avoided.
3. Set the mood
The best dinner music is upbeat but chill at the same time. What an oxymoron – I know. It should have a continuous but subdued energy and a cheerful, major-key tonality that puts people at ease and facilitates conversation.
4. Volume is KEY
Whatever the music, it will overpower and end conversation if it is too loud. It should be just quiet enough that you can’t quite make out the words, but can hear the melody clearly.
Some genres of music that work well at dinner parties are: alternative tango, latin lounge, electronic, some experimental jazz, and trip-hop.
Check out my no-fail albums for perfect dinner party music!