In a piece of light music, a listener will typically find that the rhythm is typically mid-tempo or down tempo. Such rhythms have the effect of relaxing the listener, which is typically the purpose for this kind of music. In addition to this, one will also find that music typically makes use of sparse percussion. Drums and other percussive instruments are typically the loudest, and so they are deployed sparingly in order to keep the volume level of a light piece of music as low as possible.
With respect to tonality, one will find that it’s typically relies upon major scales. The reason for this is simple. Light music, in almost every case, will inspire a happy feeling in the person who is listening to it, and major scales are instinctively associated with positivity. However, it does not necessarily have to only make use of major scales exclusively. In fact, minor scales and other more exotic scales can be employed by a skilled composer to further enhance the light, airy feeling that such music imparts upon its listener.
Taking these two elements together, one will find that economy is a concept underlying any piece of this genre. Simply, a composer, in order to create the desired effect, will not want the piece of music to be too busy, as this would severely undercut its lightness. Therefore, a typical piece of light music will make use of fewer notes than would be found in other pieces of music, and whatever percussion that exists will be minimal in its use and ornamentation.
Overall, a light piece of music is one that is most appropriate for creating a background. Because it is un-complex and unobtrusive, light music is typically heard in venues where people will be conversing or where people can or should relax, for example in a waiting room or a spa.