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Music to Listen to While Coding

Chris Achard on October 15, 2019

This was originally published on: https://chrisachard.com/music-to-listen-to-while-coding Music is a very personal thing, so there's no "one size ...
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William Grant

Looks like you mainly use youtube for your music but if you have Spotify I recommend the Deep Focus and Stress Relief playlists.

Deep Focus: open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF...
Stress Relief: open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF...

If you are into piano. One of my favorite musical humans officialxeuphoria.bandcamp.com/

I understand that fast music can sometimes make you feel stressed but if you ever want to feel like hackerman...
masterbootrecord.bandcamp.com/

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Sven Varkel

One more aspect for using Spotify (or any other music streaming platform) instead of YouTube - streaming video for just listening to music is extreme waste of bandwidth. And bandwidth is a resource that we should not forget about:) There's a lot of it nowadays but it's still limited.

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yougotwill profile image
William Grant

I 100% agree. I had to deal with the bandwidth issue for years. On that note you can use this awesome piece of tech for playing music from YouTube github.com/mps-youtube/mps-youtube

It fetches and plays the audio streams using youtube-dl. You can also toggle it to show video if you need.

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Chris Achard Author

Oh nice, thanks!

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Sven Varkel

Thx, that's cool!

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Chris Achard Author

That's a good point for sure - and something I probably don't think enough about when I'm sitting at home with enough bandwidth

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Chris Achard Author

Yes, I tend to like youtube just because it's free and there is so much neat (music) content - but yes, there are some great spotify playlists too!

And yes - that music definitely is intense :)

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p-mcgowan

I've compiled a synthwave / retrowave playlist just for this (also it's cool). Most are minimal vocals, more-or-less background noise, but still energizing. About 6k songs so you are less likely to hear the same ones too often.

open.spotify.com/embed/playlist/3N...

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Chris Achard Author

Whoa, 6k songs!

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p-mcgowan

Yea, I basically just found all popular syntwave playlists and jammed them together so I wouldn't get sick of it - 40 hours a week is a lot of music time for a small playlist

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ctrlaltchris

musicforprogramming.net/

This amazing resource is curated by the producer Datasette and has an incredible array of playlists all centered around programming/focus/pruning your cactus.

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Eddie Aich

This is absolutely amazing. Bookmarked.

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Chris Achard Author

Awesome, thanks!

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Jason C. McDonald

I've got a whole playlist that (mostly) fits your list! It's my own "Focus" list, when everything else is distracting.

(There are a few lyrical songs, but the lyrics in those feel like they melt into the music. Skip if you dislike, of course.)

Besides that, one of my favorite instrumental bands is Les Friction. Their albums all have lyrics, but they also publish the instrumental-only versions. I also love the music of Kai Engel, Sergey Cheremisinov, and George Winston (depending on mood).

P.S. I'm equally likely to crank "RED — of Beauty of Rage", which is sweeping orchestral heavy metal.

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Chris Achard Author

orchestral heavy metal

Not sure I've really heard that before! I'll check it out :)

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Jason C. McDonald

Really? There are a lot of lyrics, but somehow they never get in my way:

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Michel Renaud

Hmmm... Pretty sure there was another post like this a few weeks ago. Maybe that was somewhere else. Doesn't matter. :)

Various genres of heavy metal. Sometimes upbeat, sometimes pretty quiet, occasionally depressive (not that I need more of that, mind you), sometimes fast and violent as f... I've been running a metal music review web site for over 20 years and I'm flooded with promos from record labels (and I somehow also buy more...), so there's never enough time to listen to everything.

Currently listening to the album "When All the Heroes are Dead" by Vision Divine, an Italian power metal band. Fast, upbeat, very positive-sounding. If things don't quiet down around here (stupid open-floor concept), the next one will likely be "Slithering Evisceration" by Visceral Disgorge. Just to calm my nerves and drown out those who are too lazy to go to a conference room.

Don't worry, I'm not dangerous. It's just music.

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Ryan Palmer

Great article, couldn't agree more. I created a playlist on Spotify with over 100 hours of music that does the job for me. Feel free to check it out:

Programming:
open.spotify.com/playlist/78TP7mM7...

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Juliano Rodrigues

Really enjoyed your post. It's like you mention in the beginning, it's up to each other to choose the right melody to attack a code problem. I'm more a mood guy, so I kinda listen different types and start coding. But normally it's EDM or some RAP/Hip-Hop

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jobarah

Agree on the said words about music selection!
This is my coding playlist, hope it helps someone as much as it helps me.

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Emile Paffard-Wray

Always something without vocals and usually the same song on repeat over and over gets me into a focused mode best. Especially important in coffee shops with terrible music (unfortunately, most of them where I live).

I will usually stick with one song for a few weeks before it starts to annoy me. The best one I've found recently is Vichnaya Pamyat from the Chernobyl soundtrack on repeat (I imagine a lot of people would find it a bit too creepy though :)) - youtube.com/watch?v=dLZPfMHWPWk

Other favourites include the soundtrack to the Social Network, Sakura by Susumu Yokota, and #3 by Aphex Twin.

Occasionally if I have to do something fairly braindead like basic HTML/CSS I might throw on some hip-hop, it makes me less productive whenever I need to think a bit harder though.

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Chris Achard Author

Yes! I also put a song on repeat for like a week until I'm super sick of it! My wife thinks I'm crazy when I do that 😁

Ohh - the social network is a good soundtrack that I hadn't thought of... and I haven't seen the others; I'll check them out. Thanks!

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ho55e1n

I totally agree with your post, any vocals in the music distract me.
I love interstellar music and the story behind it(check it out if you don't know. its on youtube).
My to-go list for coding is a playlist of all Hans Zimmer scores. There are a lot of good ones that can help me to put me in a flow state.
open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF...

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Ryan Smith

I agree with the familiar music guideline. I will typically reach for the playlist that I normally listen to, even though it has lyrics and may not be mellow. There is comfort in not having to skip tracks or figure out what to listen to. I could never get into lyric-free music while coding, it isn't something I normally listen to and it was hard to find something I liked, so it was distracting to me. The best I got was the Interstellar soundtrack and some other Hans Zimmer soundtracks.

Listening at a low volume allows me to be "inside my head" and focus easier. Even if the office is not overly noisy, I noticed that small sounds (doors opening, someone walking down the hall, someone using the microwave, someone washing dishes) were strangely distracting. I'm not a nosy person, so I am not interested in who is walking down the hall, but I am still acknowledging that someone is because of the sound. I used to think that music would be more distracting but I find that it helps quite a bit.

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Chris Achard Author

Good point about familiar music - even with vocals. I do have a few playlists of "regular" music that I can listen to while coding as well; but that's only because I've listened to that exact playlist a bunch of times already.

Another favorite (again on youtube :) ) are specific live performances of some of my favorite artists. They provide a nice set of their best hits generally, and are a bit different than the rest of this list for when I'm wanting that.

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Laurie

Interstellar soundtrack is focus music. I say this a lot and stand by it!

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AlbertoM

In the category of videogame soundtracks I'll suggest the soundtrack of Chrono Trigger, orchestrated by Malcolm Robinsons. It's available on Spotify and it's amazing

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Chris Achard Author

Awesome, I'll check it out!

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Michael Laufer

I'm the complete opposite. I love energetic music like hardstyle, trance or power metal while coding.

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Chris Achard Author

:) Yeah - music tastes is really personal! Power metal... not sure I could handle that for coding 😂

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manuel

I listen somafm.com/ the most time. Groove Salad or Defcon Radio are my favs while coding.

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Michael Lee 🍕

Oh my! Thanks for the suggestions! Especially enjoying the Final Fantasy soundtracks. It's taking me back to the days when I played the series. Might need to take a break now and play some.

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K

The the moment I'm listening to soviet wave when coding: youtube.com/watch?v=ElhHt3NCJNY

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moe-assal

I listen to post malone first 2 albums. Beerbongs And Bently. Stoney.

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Lalo Téllez

I find the minimal music very helpful for programing. Steve Reich is one of my favorite ones: youtube.com/watch?v=Miu19QHBQiw

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Katie Nelson

Enjoyed your post. My preference is Smooth Jazz. Kind of mellow and usually without vocals.

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Chris Achard Author

I do like smooth jazz as well! - though I have to be in a specific type of mood for it I think :)

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Nasser

This is what i listen: github.com/abdounasser202/echantil...

Sometime, i listen to oriental music & mangas generics

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Daragh Byrne

I swear by the Music for Programming podcast.

podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/musi...

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John Angel

I find coderadio.freecodecamp.org a great option to get into the zone

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Chris Achard Author

Didn't know about this - neat!

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Andrew Brown 🇨🇦

I'm one of those awful 10x engineers who does not listen to any music to ensure peak efficiency.

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Aaditya Deshmukh

Is it just me who likes MCU scores especially the Iron Man OST while coding?

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Matei Adriel

I usually prefer classical music + music from the nes era

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Liam Symonds

brain.fm is some weird voodoo magic that seems to increase productivity for me