Music while programming

Pfap

Member
Does anybody else here listen to music while they program? I'm interested in finding out how you feel it affects your productivity or if you feel it is an addiction. Somedays, I feel I would be more productive without music, but can't bring myself to get to work without music. I feel it just helps "push" my mind along if that makes any sense. My habit is to pretty much pick one song and put it on repeat and then pretty much just forget it's even playing.
I'm not interested in what kind of music you listen to specifically, but if it is relevant please leave the genre i.e. classical and any weird habits like if you listen on repeat or something else.
 

TsukaYuriko

🦑
Forum Staff
Moderator
I do, usually OSTs of other games. It doesn't directly help me in any way, but it does indirectly, in a way that is most likely inapplicable to most other people.

It's sort of a self-hack I figured out over the years - whenever I'm not focused on anything, my Tourettes tends to take over, and at that point, it becomes impossible to focus on development. The logical conclusion I drew after a while was to provide my body with some other sort of permanent external stimulus, which ended up being a sufficient amount of sensory load from my favorite video game OSTs on shuffle to keep my mind from entering Tourettes mode whenever I'm not actively working on something or thinking about how to do something, but instead ending up with me subconsciously humming along whatever track is currently playing, much to the dismay of people in my general vicinity.

At least the threshold of auditory disturbance this creates is lower than the alternative route that involves me screaming "I'm a horny noodle man" on repeat and slowly but surely descending in a self-escalating downward spiral of obscene expletives due to my resulting total inability to focus on development, which may or may not be related to my medical condition anymore at that point, though.
 

Pfap

Member
I do, usually OSTs of other games. It doesn't directly help me in any way, but it does indirectly, in a way that is most likely inapplicable to most other people.

It's sort of a self-hack I figured out over the years - whenever I'm not focused on anything, my Tourettes tends to take over, and at that point, it becomes impossible to focus on development. The logical conclusion I drew after a while was to provide my body with some other sort of permanent external stimulus, which ended up being a sufficient amount of sensory load from my favorite video game OSTs on shuffle to keep my mind from entering Tourettes mode whenever I'm not actively working on something or thinking about how to do something, but instead ending up with me subconsciously humming along whatever track is currently playing, much to the dismay of people in my general vicinity.

At least the threshold of auditory disturbance this creates is lower than the alternative route that involves me screaming "I'm a horny noodle man" on repeat and slowly but surely descending in a self-escalating downward spiral of obscene expletives due to my resulting total inability to focus on development, which may or may not be related to my medical condition anymore at that point, though.
I occasionally break out in song too, I think it helps me stay calm as well. Especially, if things aren't working how I think they should lol.
 
I have at least one playlist for every state of mind || desired state of mind.

I do, usually OSTs of other games. It doesn't directly help me in any way, but it does indirectly, in a way that is most likely inapplicable to most other people.

It's sort of a self-hack I figured out over the years - whenever I'm not focused on anything, my Tourettes tends to take over, and at that point, it becomes impossible to focus on development. The logical conclusion I drew after a while was to provide my body with some other sort of permanent external stimulus, which ended up being a sufficient amount of sensory load from my favorite video game OSTs on shuffle to keep my mind from entering Tourettes mode whenever I'm not actively working on something or thinking about how to do something, but instead ending up with me subconsciously humming along whatever track is currently playing, much to the dismay of people in my general vicinity.

At least the threshold of auditory disturbance this creates is lower than the alternative route that involves me screaming "I'm a horny noodle man" on repeat and slowly but surely descending in a self-escalating downward spiral of obscene expletives due to my resulting total inability to focus on development, which may or may not be related to my medical condition anymore at that point, though.
Similarly - I use music to help me "hack" my shchizophrenia. When I'm not focused on anything: I'm either working with an imaginary dev team or listening to several (omnipotent) critics ream me. Music helps me tune out the voices and set myself up to code, do promo, write, do the dishes, etc. If I'm "in the zone" (especially while coding) I don't usually notice when/if the music stops.

I listen mostly to indie rock and rap music (but I also enjoy 8 bit chip-tunes, acoustic guitar/piano instrumentals, Zelda OSTs, and low-fi hip-hop tracks.)
 
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I dont play music, but I usually play white noise or drone sounds in the background.

I've found that they really help improve concentration.
White noise rocks. I use it around-the-clock on "bad days" with/without music.


pixeltroid said:
any weird habits like if you listen on repeat or something else.
I've maintained a "Soundtrack To My Life" playlist for the past five years or so.

For late-night programming - I find hour-long loops of "Animal Crossing Nighttime Music" are the perfect thing.


One last thing: I always listen to ZELDA II RAP as my "hype song" when I first sit down to code:


Please Note: Explicit Language contained in all links except for "White Noise, Black Screen" and "Animal Crossing Nighttime Music."
 
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dynastic

Member
Does anybody else here listen to music while they program? I'm interested in finding out how you feel it affects your productivity or if you feel it is an addiction. Somedays, I feel I would be more productive without music, but can't bring myself to get to work without music. I feel it just helps "push" my mind along if that makes any sense. My habit is to pretty much pick one song and put it on repeat and then pretty much just forget it's even playing.
I'm not interested in what kind of music you listen to specifically, but if it is relevant please leave the genre i.e. classical and any weird habits like if you listen on repeat or something else.
Usually like math rock or something. CHON, An Endless Sporadic, stuff like that. Lot's of post-hardcore too (Dance Gavin Dance, Sianvar, Emarosa, Hail The Sun, etc)
 

Pfap

Member
I sometimes do, but it largely depends on my task at hand. For example, I can't listen to music and do difficult math at the same time.
Yea, that's an interesting point... I've currently been doing more debugging and trying to get a project wrapped as opposed to laying any major groundwork. Although, after listening to a song on repeat it probably just fades into the background for me.
 

Kezarus

Member
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I listen to my whole music collection on shuffle. Mostly metal albums and video game OSTs.
The energy from most of these tracks puts me in a good mood and seems to make me feel a wee bit more motivated. I feel like I can focus better and drown out everythingelse around me too.
The only problem comes from when a song comes on that I really love. I will sometimes get too into it and get distracted by how good it is. And on the rare occasion I will need to stop and play some guitar.
 
I either put on my whole music library, or listen to the JennyMusic rock playlist on YouTube.
Only time I can't listen to music while working on my game is when I am trying to test any sounds, music, volume, etc. in my game. Other than that music is almost always playing when I am coding.
 

thrash

Member
When working, most of the time I listen to Dark Ambient, or North Ritual Folk like Wardruna or Heilung.
 

tsm

Member
I’ll be in the minority here I’m sure, but I listen to podcasts while coding.

Either audio only on iTunes etc or I put YT on another screen when they have the studio cameras as well.
Same! I listen to music while doing pretty much everything else (chores, commuting, writing, working at my day job) but podcasts go really well with coding and designing levels, for some reason.
 
Yes, always, but it can't be new or distracting. New makes me focus on it too much on the music. So I go with things I know that fit into the background and entire albums, because there are highs and lows. It's also a good way to mark 30 or 60 minutes.

It baffles me how people can listen to podcasts while they "work." I must have a simple mind where I can only focus on work or the podcast.

I've read that surgeons listen classical music when operating surgery. Try it, really awesome :)
My cousin works in the ER. It depends on the surgereon. Back when she was a nurse in the army... their surgeons would play rock a lot until someone would yell turn that stuff off. Then she's worked for hospitals that just have country music playing in the ER, but I assume it's just that area's genre. One surgeon she hated working with would often sing opera... while performing surgery. She said he was a terrible surgeon and would forget things or need to be reminded. Yet he had like 20 years of experience.
 
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My go to has been either a classical music channel on a streaming service or Modest Mouse's "We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank". The number of times I've listened to that album on a roadtrip or whatever, god...It's great and it has the perfect balance of manic energy combined with calming repetition (once you get to know it). And if I do want to pause my coding for a few moments/minutes it conjures a plethora of great memories associated with the songs. Other than that, probably Muse. I have them ingrained in my mind to the point that I can just put on any album and it becomes background music immediately.
 

Kyon

Member
If I really want to concentrate I put this on:

Animal Crossing music with Rain & Fire sounds. The repetitive sounds work really well.
Sometimes I also listen to the Last of Us or HyperlightDrifter soundtracks, they work really well to get inspired.

And other than that I'm just really into anything emo or noiserock, but stuff with lyrics mostly don't work for me when I really really have to concentrate.
Some instrumental post-rock sometimes?
 

Filkata

Member
I usually play music without lyrics when I want to concentrate at work (I am a programmer), I find lyrics distracting, also unfamiliar songs. So I try to stick to liquid DnB that I know in such cases.
 

curato

Member
Yes, music without lyrics or sometimes tv shows I have seen a bunch. But, classic, jazz, or even movie sound tracks. I do like to stream Star Wars sound tracks they are always good an no lyrics to distract you.
 

Rob

Member
In general I don't listen to music but I will to help me get through some boring repetitive coding sometimes. If I need to think about lit what I'm doing then I have to switch it off as I find it distracting
 

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
I listen to my collection of usable game music (stuff I composed myself, stuff I found on OpenGameArt, stuff I got in a gamedev humble bundle, ...) when I program... stuff with lyrics usually makes me start typing out the lyrics and generally getting unable to focus on coding, game OSTs are a bit illegal and I don't have a lot of songs I like listening to on repeat anyway, so I figured I'd be more efficient if I constantly forced myself to be aware of what music I could use for my games and what songs are suitable for what purpose - I usually add music pretty late in development so this works out perfectly for my workflow (I know exactly what music to use once I get around to doing it)
 

Dan1

Member
One I tend to find quite good is a genre called Eurobeat just because it's fast beat and even if there are lyrics, they're not intrusive enough to distract you :)
 

Gravedust

Member
I think my favorite programming music is Synthwave since it is (often) very nice, deep and bassy, repetitive so it leaves your immediate consciousness fairly quickly, but not -quite- relaxing, and often the tracks are quite long. There are very seldom any lyrics either, which will distract me a lot unless I've heard the song a bunch of times.

Plus you feel like an 80's hacker. :D

The Midnight is pretty good, though they will sneak lyrics in there sometimes. >:|
this is probably my most favorite track.

Would recommend just about anything by Le Matos. I cannot pick a favorite so here is one at random:

And some Todd Terje, because TODD TERJE. The build on this one is INSANE.

Stopping now beause otherwise this will be a 'Music Gravedust Thinks Is Great' post, which will be a very long post.
 
I mean, I just let a playlist of indie game music decide what I listen to. Also, does anyone here listen to ytpmv's/MAD's ironically or am I the only one?
 
I tend to listen to instrumental/ambient stuff when coding as lyrics tend to distract me.
Groups like Hammock and Stars Of The Lid always hit the spot but then I also sometimes listen to "New Age" music as I am a bit of an aging hippy/tree-hugger type.
 

Japster

Member
C=64 music
Oh man, a SID soul brother!.... :D

C64 music, some SNES classics - DKC, Final Fantasy III, Chrono Trigger, etc...

...and of course Skaven's (ie. Peter Hajba of Bejeweled soundtracks and demoscene fame!) stuff - he's a scene legend - both in terms of his music (Gamma Katana, A Defender Rises, etc), and also that he kindly let me use FIFTEEN of his tracks in my TetraLogical game, for FREE - I even tried paying him, but he said he'll only think about it if the game does well for me - what a great guy.... :)

https://soundcloud.com/skaven252

Oh, and Stellardrone, Witcher 3...

Any of that stuff in the BG helps me get stuff done in GMS2... :D
 

Mookal

Member
SoundCloud is usually my go-to for programming background noise. I'l either have my main playlist on shuffle, or since I know these songs too well to do anything but pay extremely close attention to them, I'll play a station based on a song I like. It plays music within my tastes, but stuff that I'm not familiar with, both allowing me to program in peace, and possibly discover new music.
 

Catastrophe

Member
For whatever reason, I tend to only use hardcore or post-apocalyptic game music. Days of ruin, sturm's theme from AW, brigador, underrail, fallout 1 and 2, etc. Words are distracting, but a heavy theme doesn't seem to hurt.

Brigador in particular is an excellent OST for work for me for whatever reason.
 
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Chaser

Member
I like to listen to music, I find it speeds me up and allows me to keep a good tempo, so I’m usually on beatport listening the the top 100 dnb releases (filling my basket) youtube for old rave tape packs(Fantasia etc), sometimes coding can get you down and be a drag so some good old Skool music to pick my mood up helps me a lot. But I do have to turn it off to concentrate on some things if what I’m coding is a little difficult. Music is definitely an aid for me though. :)
 
For whatever reason, I tend to only use hardcore or post-apocalyptic game music. Days of ruin, sturm's theme from AW, brigador, underrail, fallout 1 and 2, etc. Words are distracting, but a heavy theme doesn't seem to hurt.

Brigador in particular is an excellent OST for work for me for whatever reason.
Hell yeah! Advance Wars!
 

funkygallo

Member
Oh man, a SID soul brother!.... :D

C64 music, some SNES classics - DKC, Final Fantasy III, Chrono Trigger, etc...

...and of course Skaven's (ie. Peter Hajba of Bejeweled soundtracks and demoscene fame!) stuff - he's a scene legend - both in terms of his music (Gamma Katana, A Defender Rises, etc), and also that he kindly let me use FIFTEEN of his tracks in my TetraLogical game, for FREE - I even tried paying him, but he said he'll only think about it if the game does well for me - what a great guy.... :)

https://soundcloud.com/skaven252

Oh, and Stellardrone, Witcher 3...

Any of that stuff in the BG helps me get stuff done in GMS2... :D
yeah man, I grew up with the c64 and his music. Some masterpiece like Rambo II first blod, Antiriad, Commando, Last Ninja series, R-type, Denaris, Alien Syndrome, Ghostbuster, Platoon and more. Too many titles to list
Also Earthworm Jim on SNES and Santa Claus Saves the Earth for GBA (awesome!)
 

Zenru45

Member
I almost always listen to music while writing and programming. I find the music helps me focus. My mind tends to naturally bounce from thought to thought and that can very distracting. The music can drown out idle thoughts so I can focus more on the main thing I'm doing. Perhaps that's similar to what you meant by a 'push'?
 

dacosta

Member
Recently, just Shovel Knight, Risk of Rain, Celeste and Hyper Light Drifter OSTs, Vulfpeck, old instrumental Jazz, some Bach here and there, David Bowie and Ravi Shankar.
 
music and binaural beats can be used to sync the brain to run at certain speeds. specifically targeting gamma brainwaves can be used for process solving and rapid thought, while theta waves can be used for the creative process. i also prefer psytrance as it has unique sounds every minute and a high bpm which stimulates the heart, but also in a constant rythm so as not to damage the heart or auditory faculties.

i highly recommend psytrance radio website.
 
Tron : Legacy OST seems to work for me when coding (and driving for that matter). I find it focuses my mind and puts me in a higher state of mental energy without being distracting.

I don't think I could manage having a podcast on and code at the same time, listening / processing language and coding must use a similar part of my brain.

Not an artist, but I suspect I would be able to draw and listen to a podcast at the same time, interestingly enough.
 
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