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Music Selection While Coding?

Ok, so we've talked about fonts.  How about music?

When I'm doing think-heavy code (or debugging for long hours), I go for this stuff:
-Massive Attack
-Sarah McLachlan
-Carla Warner
-Tori Amos

For straight code-as-fast-as-I-can-type code:
-Crystal Method
-Rob Zombie
-Powerman 5000
-Marilyn Manson

Both times I play various tunes from the 2 matrix soundtracks.

Anyone else?

H. Lally Singh
Saturday, November 8, 2003

These days:
Elliott Smith - all his albums..especially Figure 8....r.i.p
Elbow - Asleep in the back
Badly Drawn Boy

Sven Hohage
Saturday, November 8, 2003

Satriani and Pink Floyd !!

I remember reading some research that instrumental music and instrumental rock helps studying math and things like that..

I'll try to find the link again..

Saturday, November 8, 2003

Blue Six
afro mystik
the dandy warhols
Thievery Corporation
Sound Tribe Sector 9
Dzihan & Kamien
Kruder & Dorfmeister
DJ Shadow

Gawd, I'm so hip it hurts. 

...Oh wait.  I'm posting on a geek web site at 1:19 AM on a Friday Night. Never mind....

christopher baus (
Saturday, November 8, 2003

Modern Talking
some classical music


It's a kind of music that doesn't distract me.

If I play something like Annihilator, Megadeth, etc :) it distracts me a lot. :-)

Also, one thing about classical music: many people think that it sounds very badly, that it's hard on the ear, etc.

That's not true. If played through an inexpensive audio system, it sounds bad and is tiring to the ear.

If you play it through a good hi-fi system, it sounds absolutely excellent.

Also, the best is to listen to it live.

Saturday, November 8, 2003

Again, a distinction between concentration coding and quick coding...

Concentration coding:
Melissa Etheridge
Michelle Branch

Quick coding:
Matrix Soundtracks
Violent Femmes

--Meri ( )

Meri Williams
Saturday, November 8, 2003

Hey H. Lally Singh, rock on man, like your choices

Im the same. If Im doing some tedious, repetitive, thoughtless stuff I will crank up the metal/punk stuff like Slipknot, Slayer, Hed PE, Manson, Rob Zombie, Sevendust

But if its deeply perplexing and interesting, I cant be listening to other distractions, so I usually just have headphones on without music to block out all sounds

Saturday, November 8, 2003

Peopleware had a very interesting tale about this:

2 groups of students; one group was made of people that like to listen to music while coding, the other group liked silence while coding. A task was given out, and each student was individually asked to do the same task.

When later compared, there was no apparent difference in code quality, correctness or time taken between the two groups. But none of the music listeners noted that the task was actually an identity function (a set of transformation that eventually cancel out each other, so that the program's output was its input), and ~half of the 'silence' group did notice that.

Personally, I recommend:
'soft' classical music
90's Depeche Mode (Violator, Songs of Faith and Devotion, Ultra, Exciter)
Alan Parson's project (especially the instrumental material)
And the occasional pure silence.

Ori Berger
Saturday, November 8, 2003

I listen to alot of different stuff, one end of the spectrum includes things like old school Metallica (pre Black album),
Iron Maiden, Queensrÿche and Rammstein.

Some days its the 80's pop I grew up on :-)

Saturday, November 8, 2003

Currently I have a short list music I've got in my playlist:

"Battile Without Honour or Humanity"
(Kill Bill)

Dead Souls
(NIN cover)

(Pump Panel mix)

Living Dead Girl
(Rob Zombie)


Clubbed to Death
(Rob D.)

The Heart's Filthy Lesson
(David Bowie)

Hallo Spaceboy
(David Bowie)

Self Esteem
(The Offspring)

Come Out and Play
(The Offspring)


Fun With Drugs
(Velvet Acid Christ)

The City Sleeps
(MC 900 Ft. Jesus)

(1000 Homo DJs)


Cookie Day
(Shonen Knife)

Banana Chips
(Shonen Knife)

No Name, No Slogan
(Acid Horse)

Frontline of Violence
(Armageddon Dildos)

You Suck

America Number One

I've also been listening to an obscene amount of difm's Trance/Goa radio station.

In most cases, I find music that has energy makes me code more than I play popcap games.

Tim Sullivan
Saturday, November 8, 2003

Ori - interesting about the 2 types.

Guess I'm from the segment that prefers absolute silence, especially when trying to solve difficult problems.  Even if I'm doing light coding tasks, I find that listening to music (esp. music that I like a lot) actually seems to slow my productivity because I find my mind drifting and focusing too much on the music.  Either that, or the music kick starts my imagination into the mode that makes me think about all the things I'd rather be doing than sitting at the desk at work.  The only possible exception for me would be if there is an excessive amount of annoying chit-chat going on in the cube farm around me that I need to shut out -- in that case, a nice instrumental piece over headphones can be a godsend, but I'd still be getting less done than I would in a library-like setting...

Tim Lara
Saturday, November 8, 2003

I'm like Tim, I can't code at all when music is on. I literally can't think through a simple for-loop.

Yet I don't mind driving somewhere 16 hours straight, as long I have the radio on. Without, I can only go a couple hours.

Saturday, November 8, 2003

This topic comes up with some regularity.  I'll agree with Tim and Rick.  When I am working on a problem that requires some thinking, I want quiet. 

Saturday, November 8, 2003

Daft Funk is pretty nice, the ministry of sound chillout collections, Rachmaninov, Barber...sometimes I'd be more into rage against the machine, and soundtracks for channel four films (snatch etc..), oh and the soundtrack to the film PI is good too.

Saturday, November 8, 2003

Isn't it daft punk?

Saturday, November 8, 2003

I prefer absolute silence, but since I work in an office environment in a cubicle, that's rarely possible. (I'm most productive at 5am!) is my preferred background sound blocker. It's Finnish melodic metal opera!

Saturday, November 8, 2003

I like streaming trance (Digitally Imported, etc). Sometimes I like some 80's or speedmetal, but for long periods of coding trance is the best.
I really need to learn the mixes and buy some CD's, because it's really annoying when I'm on a roll and suddenly some girl starts singing (someone needs to set up a "nonvocal trance" shoutcast stream)


Saturday, November 8, 2003

Quiet for writing code.

Ambient for general desk work.

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Saturday, November 8, 2003

Id the music has lyrics I can't do anything, unless it's in a cafe or bar, in which case I can get through twelve hours of books without noticing.

Foor marking books Bach is passable background music. Mozart tends to distract.

Yet when I'm diriving the music doesn't affect my concentration at all - quite the opposite.

I always thought this was a question of age (none of may generation studied tnrough music but doing the occasional boarding school homework supervision ten years after leaving school I found maybe a third of the students needed music).

Stephen Jones
Saturday, November 8, 2003

I second Nightwish & ! their song "She is my sin" is pretty good, it will remind you of Evanescance's - bring me to life.

Prakash S
Saturday, November 8, 2003

Massive Attack
Stone Temple Pilots
Pearl Jam

Saturday, November 8, 2003

I second Crystal Method. 

Saturday, November 8, 2003

Music collection is too big to list, i listen to just about anything. I like music to code and to read to. Sometimes I lift up my headphones above my ears so i only get a very low level of noise ... I find switching between that and full music helps me think, maybe it's the change?

Sum Dum Gai
Saturday, November 8, 2003

I wonder if that study had the two groups perform the tasks in a realistic environment.  The one group may prefer silence but in the "real world" that seems to be a rare thing.  A better study would have been to have the programmers sit in cubicles with someone typing loudly in the cubicle on the right, someone talking loudly over the phone in the cubicle on the left, two people having a meeting in the hall, strange music coming from who-knows-where, and random people walking by while whistling.  Then let's see the results of those listening to music (to cover up the background noises) versus those who don't.

Saturday, November 8, 2003

My office has steam heat and it sometimes sounds like a bad drum solo first thing in the morning. If complete silence isn't an option, music is the next best thing.

In addition to stuff that's already been mentioned, I've been listening to jazz albums on Rhapsody lately. My favorites are John Coltrane and Miles Davis. Sometimes I'll put on a random electronica compilation instead, if I can find one that's all/mostly instrumental.

When I do put on something with words, I wind up listening to the lyrics if I don't know them and I get distracted. If I put on something I've heard a million times, like an old Indigo Girls album, I tune it out once I start working and then I notice half an hour later that I've missed all the songs I was thinking I wanted to hear.

Sunday, November 9, 2003

It's easiest and most convenient for me to listen to channels off, and I've gone through various phases.

I used to listen to hard rock/classic rock channels,
then switched over to laugh tracks channel, which surprised me. Normally I couldn't concentrate with talking like that in the background, but for a while it really worked for me. Some of those comedians are really funny, too.

After a couple months of that, I switched over to the "Trance" channel on spinner. I'm with that now and have been with it the longest. still not tired of it. Guess I'm seconding philo's choice there.

For me at least, I think it's two things about trance that work well:

1) it's lively with a strong beat, which I like
2) it's highly repetitive, and much of it is instrumental, which makes it easy for me to ignore.

Sounds contradictory, I guess, "lively music I can ignore", but I've never been much of a classical music fan, and music without a beat either puts me to sleep or pisses me off. Who knows why -- just weird I guess.

Oh, and though he doesn't monitor JoS, our sysadmin also listens to Trance on, I think we're the only two. One of our developers listens to light classical, his officemate listens to various flavors of rock. Not sure about the other folks.

Sunday, November 9, 2003

Am I the *only* code who listens to showtunes?

Broadway Coder
Sunday, November 9, 2003

"Dead Souls
(NIN cover)"

Hey Tim - nice choice!!! I prefer the original Joy Division version though...

My playlist would have to contain:

The Smith
Ned's Atomic Dustbin
Mojave 3
The Cure
Mazzy Star
Belle & Sebastian
The Stone Roses
Teenage Fanclub
The Ocean blue

Sunday, November 9, 2003

"Thank you for the music" is all I say - helps amazingly :o)

Monday, November 10, 2003


I'm guessing you'd also like:

My Bloody Valentine

Maybe even PWEI?

Shoegazers of the world unite....

Monday, November 10, 2003

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, November 10, 2003


I'm guessing you'd also like:

My Bloody Valentine

Maybe even PWEI?

Shoegazers of the world unite...."

How did you know?????? :-)

Monday, November 10, 2003

I'd love to listen to all kinds of music while working, but I work in a big open area next to another even bigger open area and two walkways.

I have to listen to white noise on Bose Quiet Comfort headphones. That just about drowns out hoi polloi, much of the time.

Otherwise, I'd pick:

Sarah McLachlan
Deep Forest

... etc, ad infinitum.

Fernanda Stickpot
Monday, November 10, 2003

I must be the only Joan Baez fan here, I guess. I can't listen to Motown when working tho' as it makes me get up and dance around the room.

Get on the scene
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Recently I converted to MP3 a lot of my old vinyl and cassettes from the 80's, so I've been listening to new wave bands from my early teens:

Paul Haig, Belouis Some, The Higsons, The Other Ones, Depeche Mode, Dalek I Love You, Heaven 17, Yazoo, The Mood, B-52s, Missing Persons, OMD, Haysi Fantayzee, Fun Boy Three, Human League, Howard Jones, Psychedelic Furs, ABC, Lene Lovich, Devo, Succession, Comateens, Wire Train, Roman Holiday, Flock of Seagulls, China Crisis, Alphaville, Eurythmics, Blancmange, Ramones, Capt. Sensible

Plus a slew of groups that most folks would never admit to owning (Men Without Hats, Bananarama, Duran, etc.).

Music is a powerful elixer: listening to this stuff has made me feel like a teenager again. It's really amazing how it's upped my energy level.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

What do you mean "plus a slew of groups that most folks would never admit to owning"? Some of us wouldn't admit to owning some of those out of the first group either! I mean, Furs, yeahhh, but Yazoo? Are you serious?!?

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

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