Hosting Tips

Vibe Check… We Created the Ultimate Thanksgiving Music Playlist!

It wouldn’t be a celebration without the perfect soundtrack.

By Jamie Pabst

It’s that time of year! That’s right, we’re talking cozy sweaters, leaf peeping, and… Thanksgiving planning.  For those of us lucky enough to be gathering with loved ones this year, you’re in luck!  While you’re starting to plan out your Thanksgiving recipes, we’ve got the vibe covered with the ultimate Thanksgiving playlist. Because it wouldn’t be a celebration without setting the right feel with the perfect soundtrack. 

Before you press play, read more about the “how” and “why” I selected these tracks to be the perfect aural pairing to your holiday meal.  

Jamie Pabst

Jamie Pabst is a DJ and the founder of Spiritune, an app that brings together music therapy and neuroscience that enhances well-being and allows users to help reach the emotion they want to feel.

thanksgiving tabletop_thanksgiving playlist

How to consider music texture in your Thanksgiving Music Playlist

Music is all about feeling. So when you start your song selection process, you first want to consider what kind of vibe and mood is important. For Thanksgiving, it seems appropriate to consider a vibe that’s warm and cozy as you welcome close family and friends out of the crisp autumn air into a warm, comforting environment. You also want to make space for rich conversation. 

To accomplish this, you can consider music texture. What is texture in music? When we think of texture, we often think of something that we can touch and feel (cozy fall sweaters, soft smooth hair). But there is another important aspect. Texture also describes how we feel about something. When it comes to texture in music, it’s all about how a song makes us feel based on how distinct parts of a song are woven together. Rhythm, pitch range, timbre and articulation all work together to form a sonic fabric, just like a sweater is woven together. Considering texture in a song can get complex quickly, so I like to break it down simply in terms of “thick or thin” texture. 

For this Thanksgiving playlist, I chose songs with a lot of brass or strong string instruments to provide a warm and rich vibe juxtaposed against fairly low rhythmic complexity in order to create enough space for all the musical merriment of conversations you’ll be having at the dinner table. You don’t ever want your musical texture to get too “thick” which can draw people’s attention away from good conversation.

Listen for yourself and try considering musical texture the next time you create your own playlist!