Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Ask HN: What music do you listen to when coding?
13 points by fosk on Oct 21, 2010 | hide | past | favorite | 23 comments
and makes you get deep into the flow

Ditto on the classical music, though there are types with singing I can allow, such as Pavarotti's Nessun Dorma, Ridi Pagliacco, or any Ave Maria. Anything by the St. Olaf Choir is A-OK too.

Mostly no music at all.

If I listen to music, then it's mostly classics like sonatas by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin or Mozart. And it's always music that I know very well, so that it doesn't draw away my attention. For the same reason it's mostly music with very few instruments. You can't concentrate on coding and a fully orchestrated symphony the same time. Jazz is another option. Again: Shouldn't be too complex. More like solo instrument. Keith Jarret playing piano is a good example.

Less likely other modern music. Singing I experience as distracting. Unless I don't know the language, so that I'm not tempted to follow it, Jan Garbarek playing sax together with the Hilliard Ensemble singing in Latin works great.

Though I listen to a lot of different music when I'm not coding.

From http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=716262 - one of the many times this question has come up ..

None - I can't code while music is on. Ditto conversation, and ditto doing math.

There was something in PeopleWare (I think) about an experiment done with people listening to music. Those listening to their preferred music performed about as well as those who preferred silence and got it, and about as well as those who preferred music, but had silence. The group that preferred silence but had music performed, unsurprisingly, comparatively badly.

The sting in the tail was this. The task they were given had an "Aha!" insight buried in it. Namely, the full set of transforms they'd been asked to implement turned out to be trivial, although the individual components weren't.

All the programmers who had the "Aha!" moment had silence, regardless of their preference. No one with music saw the short cut.

I've since tried to find concrete evidence to support this anecdote, either papers, or first hand accounts, but the recounting in PeopleWare remains the only reference I have.

I don't know if this is true, but I read somewhere that listening to music while coding can interfere with coming up with creative solutions when you are stuck on a coding problem.

The reasoning behind this claim was that music "occupies" your right brain leaving only your left brain working on the task.

I don't know the validity of this claim as I haven't seen any academic studies backing it up.

None whatsoever if I can possibly help it. When music is on I listen to music, pretty much inevitably, and to the detriment of my focus on anything else.

In noisy situations I listen to ambient music. This is, frankly, not music I listen to at any other time, but it serves its design purpose of filling the sonic space without overly engaging my attention.

I am a musician (singer) and i can not listen to anything without focusing on music - so I like silence when I am coding:)

Usually no music at all. I work best when it's quiet and peaceful, that's why I love getting up at 6am.

When I need a bit of noise I usually hit SomaFM. They have lots of great stations for coding, I recommend Mission Control, Drone Zone or Space Station Soma.


Awesome radios. Loved it, thanks for the tip

I love listening to Steve Reich while I'm working -- minimalist music but with sexy harmonies. I'm a musician so I can't put anything too aurally interesting on, but Reich puts me in the right place. Try it sometime. Music for 18 Musicians is a good place to start.

I don't really know why, but I always listen to some 90's music when I code. Third Eye Blind, Barenaked Ladies, Goo Goo Dolls, things like that.I just get in the zone when I have a good 90's playlist going on Pandora.

Trance / Progressive / House music gets me into the flow.

Calipsonian sung by a 80 year old. Don't know why. http://goo.gl/P14i

Bach (usually played by Glenn Gould), Scarlatti.

Ticking pomodoro clock and/or Ke$ha on repeat.

Mornings nature sounds; afternoon trance.

you guys should listen "Gotan Project" which is a "electronic tango" totally recommended

'animals' - pink floyd

Speaking of PF, I am enjoying the new David Gilmour & The Orb album. There's a special headphone mix that I listen to when working.

Easy money by KC

Groove salad.

goa-psy on di.fm


Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact