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Best music to listen while programming?

pawan chopra
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 23, 2008
Posts: 415

I generally listen to songs in my native language (Punjabi). What kind of music generally is good while programming so that you can concentrate on work as well?

Pawan Chopra
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 63837

Anime soundtracks.

Yes, really. There's some great music there that few people ever hear.

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Paul Clapham

Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 19973

I can't listen to any music while programming, I find it too distracting.
Maneesh Godbole
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jul 26, 2007
Posts: 10815

Pink Floyd.

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chris webster

Joined: Mar 01, 2009
Posts: 2288

I usually prefer instrumental or choral music, as I find it less distracting. Right now, I'm really enjoying wonderful music by kora master Toumani Diabate and his son son Sidikii, from Mali:

I was lucky enough to see them in concert a couple of weeks ago, and their new album is excellent music for listening to while programming. I think you can listen to parts of their album at Amazon:

No more Blub for me, thank you, Vicar.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11952


I have several stations built, and usually put them on a shuffle, turning different ones on or off depending on my mood. I have stations focuses on 80's, Prog rock, Broadway tunes, swing music, instrumental/modern classical, new wave, alternative rock, and pop tunes.

There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
Dieter Quickfend

Joined: Aug 06, 2010
Posts: 543

Me, I use 8tracks. I can't log into anything at work (no https allowed, go figure) and I just put on a mix of what I feel like at a certain time.

Oracle Certified Professional: Java SE 6 Programmer && Oracle Certified Expert: (JEE 6 Web Component Developer && JEE 6 EJB Developer)
J. Kevin Robbins

Joined: Dec 16, 2010
Posts: 1520

Pink Floyd or Beethoven. How's that for an odd mix? Sometimes soft jazz. I use Pandora and the Billie Holiday station is one of my favorites. It's a good mix of background-music-to-work-by.

"The good news about computers is that they do what you tell them to do. The bad news is that they do what you tell them to do." -- Ted Nelson
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11952

There was a story on NPR a few weeks ago about music, and how 'familiar' it is...

So they had a computer generate two kinds of music. One set of tunes has repeated musical phrases...So as you listen to the music, you realize part of the tune is familair. Another set of tunes explicitly never repeated a phrase. the first set of tunes was found to be much better. In fact, people tended to think the first set was NOT likely to be computer generated.

The same held true for music written by humans. There was (is?) a movement by some composers to never repeat a musical phrase in a song. These tunes were judged by people to be MORE likely written by a computer.

But the larger point is that when you hear a song you are familiar with, your brain quite literally stops paying as much attention to it. You don't listen to the lyrics any more, so your brain is free to hear some of the deeper, subtler things going on.

I wonder if the same applies to writing code. Regardless of what the tunes are, if your brain is familiar with them, you don't have to pay as much attention, so your brain can focus on the real task of coding. In my case, since I use full enclosure headphones, all the conversations around me get blocked out, letting me be more productive.
I agree. Here's the link:
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