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Ask Slashdot: What Music do you Code By? 713

Silas writes "I value music as an important part of the coding/debugging/designing process, and choosing what music to listen to while working on a given piece of code can be as subtle and interesting a process as choosing what data structure or regular expression to use. My personal selection varies from Mozart to Happy Rave, Dave Matthews Band to Enigma, but I'm interested to know what members of the larger coding community listen to when they're doing their thing, getting in the zone. What music do you code by?" Ah. I like nothing less than coding to a good progressive Drum 'N Bass song. What about you all?
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Ask Slashdot: What Music do you Code By?

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  • the only music that matters.
  • That about says it all for me, I think.
  • Anything really .. but favorites include:
    Iron Maiden, Pantera, Type O Negative, Dark Tranquillity, Nine Inch Nails, Sisters of Mercy, Project Pitchfork, Nitzer Ebb, Bauhaus, Fear Factory, KMFDM and the Matrix Soundtrack

    Very occasionally, I will listen to some Wagner, Grieg or Mussorgsky .. depends on the mood I'm in ...
  • definately gabber

    nothing better than some mind pounding bass to get my creative juices flowing..

    delta 9, doa and lenny dee just to name a few

  • Ministry!

    Or sometime, for variation, some Xorcist or Sisters of Mercy...
  • I like to code to the soothing sounds of "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" and debug to the more insane "Dark Side of the Moon"...
  • java(bleah!): NWA or EazyE
    c : misfits/black flag/ fear .....
    forth: mozart

    thats about that
  • "gabber"? sorry, i don't speak your crazy moon language.
  • oh yeah... and whatever it is, it's gotta be loud.. coffee just doesn't seem to be keeping me awake anymore.

  • I deffinately enjoy a lot of their stuff []. Why not make your own music too? A great place to get a lot of samples (and windoze resources too) is Maz-sound [].
  • [] is very Slashdot-influenced by the way!
  • Tchaikovsky, Chopin or Stravinsky are by far the best selection of music to listen to while coding. The satisfying crash of Strauss is good for a core dump or kernel panic, and Beethoven's 9th symphony is good when debugging never ending while loops.
  • In particular the 1998 Jayse Knipe tour of Australia. Great stuff.
    Ben Tindale
  • by Hobbex ( 41473 ) on Friday October 15, 1999 @11:25PM (#1609542)

    Its hard to have an insightful comment about this topic, as music taste usually comes down to, well taste, and everybody has one. I also think its a bit of situation and mood thing.

    Call me a moron, but for those 5 in the morning sessions, when one has had so much sugar, caffiene, etc that the body is about the crystalize and the brain is working on sheer impulse rather than thought: nothing beats some really shallow happy girl pop like Britney Spears or Spice Girls.

    I wouldn't be caught dead listening to that in the day (unless its on MTV of course), but when my brain is soft and mushy, pop seems closer to its resonant frequency. No one gives motivation as the sun climbs over the horizon after a sleepless night like my lovely Britney..

    Otherwise I like music with a more character and maturity, even when I'm concentrating. Preferably some of the 70s Pink Floyd or David Bowie albums, whose effect is the opposite: allowing me to calm down and concentrate on solving a problem.

    /. is like a steer's horns, a point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between.
  • My favorite band of all time! Can't get enough of that Frank Black.

    Also like some Autechre or Aphex Twin if I'm feeling really adventurous.

  • I like Classical for the long coding sessions, especially those that last all day. Vivaldi, James Galway and Rimski-Korsakov are very nice.

    For short, intense sessions, I tend to prefer Jazz. Wynton Marsalis, Vince Guaraldi, Thelonious Monk and Alien Fashion Show work pretty well.

    Mixed in between, I'll listen to Blondie, Talking Heads, Peter Gabriel and such for a little contrast. Something to shake me up and keep from "zoning out".

    Overall, anything except country will do the job, though I will listen to Junior Brown on occasion. (Surf music from a country artist, go figure)

    If I had a .sig, it would go here.
  • by Improv ( 2467 )
    Yeah! The Beerbarrel polka, "Bubbles in the
    Wine" (not really a polka exactly), Weird Al's
    polka medleys, and a few others.
  • Energetic, yet sufficiently complex to stay interesting.

    For me coding music *has* to be loud and slightly heavy. It's like I need to plug the audio channel so I won't be distracted by the real world.
  • Effective coding requires intense concentration.

    Silence, thanks.
  • I can program and debug to any music that does not have words. I believe that it helps me concentrate better by shutting out distracting noises.
  • I was going to use the old 'it depends on my mood' anwser then I realsied that would be wrong..
    All major sessions have been accompanied by Enigma, KLF and things in that sort of ambian/ light dance theme.
    hink long CD's help as well (or ones that work on cont random play).

    Jink (off to buy some more CD's
  • I just stick the MP3 playlist on "random" and start coding. Although, sometimes slow music will increase the effect of Java's slow compile time... so I just avoid Java at all costs.
  • The music I listen to depends upon the mood that I am in. (Gee, that's helpful...) Thankfully, I have a large CD collection. I also don't recommend listening to one CD over and over again on the same day. It'll get on your nerves WAY too quickly. Get a CD changer, or use MP3s and burn compilation CDs (fit 6 or 7 CDs onto one CD-R - wee!). However, legal issues probably dictate that you should only make MP3s out of CDs that you own (even that is a bit shaky)...

    However, I have found that upbeat music does work really well when you are trying to code something up quickly. Softer music (i.e. '50s style Jazz) can put me in a bit of a trance, so that I find myself approaching the problem from a different perspective. It is really a balancing act that you must follow. However, there is also a time when you do need to have peace and quiet to approach a problem. But, not all of the time though!

    Anyway, my web site (see above) has specific comments on artists that I usually find myself listening to. But, that does not exclude any other group...

  • Pink Floyd, U2, Depeche Mode, Joe Satriani, B.B. King, Circle of Dust, Leaderdogs, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Dvorak, Mendelssohn, Bach, David Sanborn, Styx, Tom Petty, Foreigner, Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills, & Nash . . .

    It all depends on what kind of mood I'm in.

  • funny, because i read morrissey-solo fairly often, but i never really noticed the obvious influences. how ironic, in a strange way.
  • For tricky problem solving, I need something to help clear my mind. Soothing music. Sarah McLachlan, older Tori Amos, Eagles, Doors.

    This, of course, differs from my "normal" music -- right now, the MP3 playlist has some Frank Zappa, some Korn, 2Pac, a little bit of everything.

    Interesting side-discussion (maybe): I mean, a little bit of everything. My CD collection ranges from all of the above, through Johnny Cash, and back around to The Cure. How many c0derZ have similarly wide-ranging tastes (i.e. not just listening to one style of music)?

  • I've got a collection of MP3 files (ripped and encoded from my CDs) and I usually listen in random order, skipping a track if it doesn't match the currently desired mood.

    The collection includes: Alice In Chains, Ani DiFranco (including more than one album involving Utah Phillips), Annie Lennox, Metallica (and Apocalyptica doing Metallica), a little Beethoven, some Cherry Poppin' Daddies, "Cry Cry Cry", Dar Williams, Dead Can Dance, Deep Forest, Depeche Mode, Eric Clapton, some Eurythmics, Fields Of The Nephilim, Fiona Apple, Front Line Assembly, Garbage, Heather Nova, Hole, Information Society, Joan Osborne, KMFDM, Live, Madonna's latest album, Massive Attack, Ministry, a little Mozart, NIN, PJ Harvey (she's great!), a little Primus, a little REM, Rage Against The Machine, Richard Shindell, Rob Zombie, a little Sade, Sarah McLachlan, Skinny Puppy, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Sting, a small amount of The Cardigans, a couple Toni Braxton songs, Tricky, Tool, and a rather thorough collection of Tori Amos.

    In other words, I listen to Industrial, "Rock", Folk, Metal, "Pop", Techno, Swing, some R&B, a little classical (there's also some Wagner that I haven't been listening to much recently, so hasn't made it into the archive yet) with a strong dose of female vocals in there... When I'm busy coding, I'm more likely to stick with the "heavier" or more "active" stuff (Ani DiFranco, Garbage, Hole, Information Society, KMFDM, Massive Attack, Tricky, Metallica, Ministry, NIN, White Zombie, some Tori Amos, etc...)
  • For me, it's got to be some Bjorn "Dr Awesome" Lynne. I grew up listening to his .mod music, and have progressed onto his space / fantasy music CDs. Definitely a must for ex-Amiga users who used to like Crusaders demos. Check out []
  • Mostly electronic music, otherwise I get distracted. Think Goa trance, techno, drum-n-base. Keeps me focused. It's great!
  • Anything 80's...... I have a large collection of music that I ripped off of cd's on my rack to make one HUGE cd of all of my 80's music in mp3 format. Any time I have to code I break out my 80's cd.
  • To simplify the selection process, I ripped a bunch of my CDs to MP3 (one style per CD) and burned them to a data CD with an m3u playlist in the root, but without the drive letter coded in the m3u. This way, it's totally portable and not tied to any drive letter, and opening a single m3u file cues a day's worth of music.

    For coding that requires problem-solving and deep concentration, I've found Tangerine Dream to be the most relaxing and quick to put me in "the zone" when coding. The same can be said of moderate classical, romantic, baroque, classic japanese, and some pop like 'til Tuesday or The Bangles. Grunt coding works with just about anything; I prefer Rush, Yes, Living Color, and a few others, but it doesn't really matter when the coding doesn't require much creativity.
  • i find it *much* easier to concentrate when listening to songs with very few if any vocal parts versus things like popular/alternative/rock/whatever-you-call-it. therefore, i typically listen to techno/trance/electronica or classical.

    although, if i forget to take my meds in the morning, even techno can get distracting! but thats just me :)

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  • jazz: miles, trane, tain, tony williams, wynton..etc
    Rock: Dave Matthews, Jamiroquai, Steely Dan..etc
    Other: Tori Amos, Ani Difranco, Sarah McLachlan..etc
  • Yesterday, debugging somebody elses Java code, Mobb Deep set the note for the entire day. Gave me that kind of vengeful, murderous, relentless power necessary to pull together an application written by somebody who didn't quite know what they were doing, into a position where I could *start* to get it ready to be shipped by November.

  • Alright, peoples. I'm talkin' boug a little bit o' that James Brown. Or some Tower of Power, or some Sly and the Family Stone! Keep it off beat. To keep you away. It doesn't mean you'll be thinking straight, but at least you'll be thinking. If pull up some of that Pop ____, you're just turning your brain to jelly. and at 5am, when you've run out of cigarettes, jolt cola, and you have a test tomorrow, you gotta code to tha FUNK. don't crest the weasel.
  • Wow, I was just thinking the other day about how there should be an Ask Slashdot about coding music. And here it is, cool!

    My personal favorites while banging out code include:

    - NIN (The Fragile (great!!!) and Downward Spiral)
    - Offspring (Americana)
    - Metallica (Metallica (the black album))
    - Chumbawamba (Tubthumper)
    - Red Hot Chili Peppers (random MP3s)
    - Random techno (Digital Empire 1, Orbital (In Sides), Crystal Method)

    And some other stuff for more relaxed, contemplative coding sessions:
    - Dave Matthews Band (Luther College, Red Rocks, Before These...)
    - Louis Prima (Capitol Collectors Series)
    - Eric Clapton (Unplugged)
    - Bare Naked Ladies (Stunt)

    I've been known to listen to Yanni as well when I'm in a really weird mood.
  • []

    There isn't much need to say more. You want fast code? You have to listen to music that has some tempo too it. Anything less than 160 bpm is too slow to code too.
  • 'course, i'm all prissy about it. while i do like tekno, mostly i prefer some form of trance.

    for hard core, one with the computer, nerdvana type coding, good hard psy-trance or goa is PERFECT. for those who havn't heard it, try astral projection, growling mad scientists, x-dream, hallucinogen, noosphere.. an the list goes on and on.

    harder trance is wonderful, too.

    'course, i tend to just listen to what i want to hear. which usually is one of the above, but it doesn't keep me from throwing in a melodic trance mix and getting distracted by ecsatic builds every once in while ;) or just listening to something completely different, and forgetting about electronic music for a little while

    i feel obligated to insert "Talking about music is like dancing about architechture" here, cause i don't feel like i can even begin to express my thoughts about most of that music. It's another state of mind. . .

  • Autechre is best for those last (er... latest) tricky bugs; Squarepusher fits the bill when I have to work real fast and my eyes tell me I'd better be in bed...
    Jazz or 70's rock for the queter moments.
  • Any number of things - its been many years of coding to music. The first that I really remember was Neil Young, "Everyone Knows This is Nowhere" - because at the time it was a great tape to just play over and over and over and over.....
    Recently, its been Joy Division (Substance, the "Ideal for living" tracks,) Husker Du, Spot 1019, Cake, Rube Waddell, the Mermen, Corduroy, the Meices, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Me First and the Gimme gimmies, The Fall (early stuff, Perverted By Language, Dragnet, Live at the Witch Trials, Grotesque) The Gang of Four, BIG BLACK (without whon NIN would not exist), the Butthole Surfers, the Sinister Six, Nirvana, the Spacemen 3, Beck, The Minutemen!!!!!... Oh shit, I could really go on for a long time here, but I have to stop.

  • You can't beat a good bit of Tori to code by. If you need to code in a hurry, Megadeth does the trick. For designing code and data structures etc. Smashing Pumpkins provide the inspiration. Pink Floyd soothes the brain if it's been trying to understand some obscure algorithm, and of course debugging requres some heavyweight funk. Parliament obliges. The Mothership Connection, 500 000kW of P-Funk power...
  • Whenever I'm coding, I queue up a bunch of goa trance and dive in. You don't have to pay attention to the music, and it has a beat which keeps me going through the long haul coding sessions. I can think more clearly with goa going in the background than with other music with harsher beats (ie. metal, rap, industrial) or music with lyrics.
  • Oh yeah! There's nothing like Bjorn Lynne's music.. it actually seems to make you think... not only that but the tunes are memorable.
    just my 2 1/4 cents
  • Basically I listen to whatever new tunes I have at the moment. However, I feel pressured to give some kinda list of albums that I have grooved on hardest while coding:

    [0] "Off Ramp" - Pat Metheney
    [1] "2112" - Rush
    [2] "Ride The Lightning" - Metallica
    [3] "Angst" - KMFDM
    [4] "Amused To Death" - Roger Waters

    Of course, there are plenty more, but those 5 come to mind immediately. Off Ramp and other old Metheney albums are clear winners for me.

  • I've always kept a strict morning playlist followed by a flexible afternoon playlist.

    Mornings consist of The Wall, Darkside of the Moon, Zeppelin Box Set, Steve Miller Greatest Hits, some CCR, and some Rolling Stones.

    This gets me halfway through the afternoon, at which time I need some motivation. So then comes NIN (The Fragile), KoRn, Limp Biskit, Kid Rock, and some new stuff.

    Then it's off to home for baseball/hockey/football tv.
  • Definately PanterA and other hard stuff, like Ministry and Rammstein (not sure thats spelt wright)
  • Any music that can be kind of ambient, but also upbeat is good. I've noticed music with words tends to be more distracting, but music with lyrics in other languages aren't.

    Nirvanna counts in this respect, too. Can YOU understand their lyrics? I sure can't. :)
  • goa rules. juno reactor is my favorite goa artist.

    as for other trance stuff, i like antiloop, man with no name, and of course, underworld!



    Keyboard not found.
  • My personal selections are:

    Dark Tranquillity
    In Flames
    Children Of Bodom
    Opera IX
    Dismal Euphony
    Dimmu Borgir
    Limbonic Art

  • Depends on the sort of code really and the mood - I have about 5,000 CD albums in my collection (not to mention the MP3s) so what usually happens is that I'll listen to a particular set of CDs for a few days and then it'll change.

    Styles range from jazz, to synthpop, to chart pop, to classical music.

    Current music (no laughing please):

    • Pat Metheny Group: very good background "supermarket music" for coding. Doesn't get too distracting, and always very uplifting.
    • Jacques Loussier Trio: Damn good jazz versions of classical music such as Ravel's Bolero et al. Does great versions of Satie's Gymnopaedie (is that the plural?) as well.
    • Bis: Great to bounce to on a late-night coding binge.
    • The Cardiacs: Not for the faint hearted. Mayhem, can be very distracting if it's "not your thing". Recommend getting a sampler CD or something before you splash out on albums and stuff. But also fires something in me which makes it (a) impossible to sing along to, and (b) highly creative in the ideas department. Drives my wife mad.
    • Pink Floyd: "Dark Side Of The Moon", "Wish You Were Here", and "Meddle" being favourites - but mostly "Wish you..." mainly because I keep on forgetting to take it home from work ;)
    • Chumbawamba: NOT "Tubthumping", but the earlier stuff like "Anarchy" and "Sssh!".
    • Shit Pop: stuff like S Club 7, B*Witched, Steps and suchlike. Sing-along happy-go-lucky tunes which annoy the f*ck out of the rest of the office.
    • Other little bits in no particular order: Shania Twain; Bernstein (especially "Rhapsody in Blue" and "Overture from Girl Crazy"); Jamiroquai; some Elvis Costello; Andy Williams; Burt Bacharach; Cardigans; Levellers; Pet Shop Boys...
    That's it basically. I guess it depends on your point of view and what makes you creative. About the only things which don't make me happy music-wise are leaky earphones from the bloke next to me wearing the Walkman, and hardcore happy house and all that crap. OK, call me old. I'm not, I'm 25. ;)


    (Happily going through the CD collection now!)

  • I find that a mix of nothing more than Tool, Primus, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, and Cake makes for excellent programming music... All of these groups have heavy basslines, but their styles are different enough so that I don't get bored.
  • You know, I have alot of respect for someone who is willing to admit to liking pop stuff on a forum full of opinionated non-pop people like /. I agree - musical taste is something that is incredibly personal. If you like Britney, more power to you, just don't insist that I like it too. In return, I won't insist that you like the Butthole Surfers :-)
    As long as you write good code, it really doesn't matter what you listen too. Its all about what makes you happy, and what inspires you to greater heights of creativity.

    Eric Geyer
  • Sister Machine Gun (, Nine Inch Nails, Die Warzau, Live, KMFDM, Pig, etc. etc. are all good Perl coding bands/groups.

    Nothing like a little SMG '[R]evolution' to get you in the mood to debug.

    - Darchmare
    - Axis Mutatis,

  • You could widen the question to "What do you listen to?", instead of focusing on music. At my recent cubicle job, I used to listen to NPR just about constantly, because their programs are just so good. (see [] ). This has two advantages:

    1) NPR programs are very in-depth and geeky, focusing on everything from sociology to interviews with Nobel winners (don't forget Science Friday, with its delightful coverage that perfectly caps the last weekday at work).

    2) It drowns out the cubicle chatter of your co-workers. Mine were pretty inane, and keeping the headphones on served a dual purpose....

    I think NPR is pretty much the only quality station around on FM.

    A couple of other points - normally I've found FM reception in cubicles to be really bad, probably due to electromagnetic interference. Any way around this? AM sucks even more, I think.

    Also, while driving around, my pref. choice is still NPR, but I sometimes tune in to AM stations to listen to the chatter. For some reason, a lot of AM stations tend to air sensational right wing stuff, but it's amusing to listen to (not to mention giving an insight into the Rush Limbaugh fans at work).

    I also like it that NPR's web site archives stuff on Real Audio, which makes it really fun for searching and listening to whatever you feel like. I guess it's the precursor to video-on-demand, and though I like what I hear, for some reason, it still doesn't have the appeal of fresh live broadcast.

  • Nirvanna counts in this respect, too. Can YOU understand their lyrics? I sure can't. :)

    certainly! but i guess it helps that i like to sing along a lot...CERTAINLY NOT in front of anyone though! :)


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  • This reminds me that I wish I had more 80's Techno. You know, stuff that sounds like the music in those demos and stuff. Preferably the stuff that sounds as European as possible. :)

    Anyway, can anyone recommend any bands? I mean, all I can find on CDNow and stuff are the 90's electronica/techno stuff. I have no clue what techno bands were around and good bain the, say, early-mid (or even late) 80's. I'd love for someone to help me find some.

  • As for myself, I listen to delerium and other trancy techno bits. It just gets me into that 'I'm gonna code something grand' mood.

    I don't know, it works for me. *shrugs*

    Sarah McLachlan is nice too....but that's more 'read slashdot' music... :-P

  • Primus is good creative music to code by, though of course Coal Chamber, Korn, Straight Faced, Union 13, Rage Against the Machine, Deftones and Bjork are not bad choices either.
  • Granted I'm not much of a coder but this stuff always makes me want to move around.. and the more im hyper the longer im gonna stay up doing whatever it is that im doing.. wether that is trying to unravel some code or trying to learn how to code.. which is what im doing anyway.. :)

    by the way.. i have dish network so euro style is the name.. and its anything from house to techno and some stops inbetween with trance and the like.. its good stuff.. :)


    -sig goes here
  • DJ Tiesto's spinning (and certain other things) have changed my life and my coding.... I have access to both emotional/sensual spheres and logical thought better when I'm listening to progressive tranc-e type music. As an added bonus, logical thought has helped me drop beats better too...

    just my thoughts.
  • by Yarn ( 75 ) on Friday October 15, 1999 @11:58PM (#1609602) Homepage
    I just cat my source to the sound card!

    cat somelameproject/*.c > /dev/audio


    It doesnt last very long tho'
  • > Effective coding requires intense concentration.

    Yeah, but for a very long time I worked in a noisy office with few barriers between people's workspaces. I would pick up whatever conversation was going on nearby, and that would destroy whatever concentration I had. What worked best for me for intense conversation was music I liked so much that I had listened to it a zillion times. It formed a background I could both absorb and ignore, while it silenced all the external distractions. Some CDs I could get all the way through without really hearing at all, which was perfect for what I was looking for.

    Eric Geyer
  • I am definitely way stoked off the Pixies. Frank Black is truly off-the-wall king. Though my love of the Pixies has been superc3eded by elctronic music in general.
  • The Who.
    Led Zeppelin.
    King Crimson.
    Pink Floyd.

    Artists and albums that discourage the swapping of CDs because it would feel nearly criminal to disrupt the story/mood the album develops as a whole.

    Particularly Dark Side, The Wall, and Wish you were Here.

    Man that's great music
  • the music scene rules:

    there's no greetings order

    • ageema blues & blacksista http [] http2 []
    • blacktron http []
    • brothomStates http []
    • five musicians http []
    • kosmic http []
    • level-d http []
    • maniacs of noise http []
    • milk http []
    • mono211/monotonik. http []
    • mo'playaz http []
    • n.o.i.s.e http []
    • Tokyo Dawn Records http []
    • sunlikamelo-d http []
    • theralite http []
    • vibrants http []
    • ...

    don't forget the very good individuals, they are too many too list... check []

    get active...

  • Mmmm, Matrix Soundtrack is pretty good. In fact most of your selections look really good. I've also taking to listening to Propellerheads, Disposable Heroes of HipHoprisy, and some Einsturzende Neubauten. Basically anything the wife detests seems to be good coding music...
  • Mostly techno and house stuff, a lot of it early 90's stuff from my days as a purple-haired, multiply-pierced, chain smoking, French grad student. Yes, I code while listening to the kind of Eurotrash any self respecting geek ought to be embarassed by. Snap, Captain Hollywood Project, Amber, La Bouche, KLF, Technotronics... it's awful I know. It just works, what can I say?

    Otherwise, a lot of 80's dance stuff - Bananarama, Corey Hart, Men without Hats, Berlin (anybody here besides me remember Berlin's "The Metro"?), Blondie, Prince (before you needed Unicode to write his name), among others.

    I do listen to other kinds of music - French bands, classics, old punk, mushy 80's stuff that makes me all nostalgic, even some grunge. And some contemporary pop. But it does me no good when I code. If it doesn't have a beat, it does me no good at work.
  • John Adams, Portishead, Jonatha Brooke, Iva Bittova, Cassandra Wilson, Sting, Zakir Hussien, whatever I can find under the stacks of crap on my desk.
  • I like music with nice complex rhythms. This serves to energize my brain without distracting it. Or perhaps it distracts those parts which need distracting. There can be vocals and melody, but they should not be dominant as that would distract the wrong parts of my brain.

    Some favorite examples include Frank Zappa, Phish, Metallica, Rush. Although some of the more vocal-oriented Zappa is overly distracting.

  • Sonny Phillips creates a wonderful evening coding mood for our team, Trip Hop drives me on when the memory gets corrupted, it's nice to start the morning with Finnish pop like Eppu Normaali etc...
  • As preious posts have noted, it does come down to personal preference and also I think the area in which you live in since events/friends partly dictate what you listen to as well.

    Nowadays, when I'm coding I love listening to "trance", club or house mixes, or just plain old techno. I just feel that Rock and Pop have pretty much outlived its welcome and has gotten very, very stale. After listening to the same thing over and over again, you really do need a break.

    Another thing about techno or trance music is that since its rooted in raving (15+ hour long dances), it does in a way help you keep up and wanting to move in some manner. OTOH, I may have just popped too much E ; )

    Anyway, if anybody wants to go give this genre a try, I suggest:

    Paul Van Dyk (almost everything)

    Amokk (especially "666")

    The Crystal Method

    ATB (if "9pm" doesn't get you going, nothing will)

    Fatboy Slim House Mixes

    Ian Ossia

    Da Klubb Kings

    John Debo

    John Wink

    and of couse, then Vengaboys ; )

    As a quick note, try to listen to the originals before the listening to the remixes, IMHO there are some horrible remixes out there.

    also check out: news:// []
    Enjoy !

  • If you have never tried listening to Opera, give it a go. Wagner's Ring Cycle, normally written off because of its extreme length, is perfect for long coding sessions.

    If you have not met Napster, give it a try at They are working on a _nix port, but at the moment it requires Windows. They claim to have had 13 Terabytes of searchable MP3s available at one point. This kind of self-aggregating searchable democracy is the future for all media forms. Hooray!

    Napster also has a feature where you can list the directory of another user's MP3s; this is really powerful if you find a user with a song you like, you can find out what else he or she likes and try that out.

    That guy who listened to NPR, it is very good (although a pale imitation of the BBC's Radio 4); but I find it impossible to concentrate on speech while writing or designing code. Trying to split my attention like that sets my teeth on edge and makes purple veins come out on my head.

  • My CD collection at work tends to consists of

    Nine Inch Nails
    Marilyn Manson
    Rage Against The Machine
    Stabbing Westward

    Also appearing:

    Violent Femmes
    Revrend Horton Heat
    Chemical Brothers
    Local H

    And of course: "Space Ghost's Musical BBQ" and "Space Ghost's Surf and Turf" :)
  • Classical, Enya, Enigma, etc. If it is harder and/or faster (especially with words), I can't concentrate. I believe I'm correct when I say that studies have been done relating the listening of classical music while working to enhanced creativity. Makes sense. It always helped me while studying in school.


    "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein
  • We have a huge 80Gb mp3 file storage at work. It's a box with a big RAID array running NFS and Samba. Unofficial, of course. :)

    When I'm writing Perl all day, I like to crank up my Sublime bootlegs (all mp3) in my headphones. My favorite coding music is the version of "40oz to Freedom" off the "Contact Buzz" cd. That, and "I Love My Dog" off of the same disc. You can't beat the reggae groove bassline for coding. Sometimes I even kinda dance a little bit in my chair while I'm listening to it. :-)

    Other favorites while working are:

    The Samples (check out my The Samples mp3 archive! [] )

    1960s and 1970s country music. ("Foggy Mountain Breakdown" by Lester Flatt and Earl Skruggs, "Coal Miner's Daughter" by Loretta Lynn, and, of course, "East Bound and Down" which is the theme to Smokey and the Bandit. I forget the guys name...)

    Dwight Yoakam (the "LIVE" cd or anything off of "Just Looking For a Hit")

    Ben Harper (any of his cds)

    Robert Earl Keen (each and everyone one of his CDs!)

    Spearhead ("Home")


    Jimi Hendrix

    Too $hort

    Snoop Doggy Dogg

    The Ziggens

    Afro Cuban All-Stars


    Lots of rare Dave Matthews

    Guy Clark

    Jimmy Buffett

    Toots and the Maytals

    Rusted Root

    Frank Sinatra (my current musical "kick")

    and of course, Elvis

    Nope, I'm not eclectic at all. :-)
  • Examples:

    Racing to meet a deadline:
    Front 242
    (other fast, aggressive metal/industrial.)

    Low octane hacking:
    No Use For A Name
    80's hair metal

    Playing with code:
    Jimmy Buffet
    Garth Brooks
    The Orb

    This is by no means absolute.

  • For the life of me I cannot believe I forgot to include:




    Forgive me lord for I have sinned ; )

  • I've always felt that electronica went hand in hand with programming.

    The top being Kraftwerk [].

    These guys are old school synth. With songs like Home Computer, and Pocket Calculator, you help but feel this music was designed to code by.

    Their website is super sweet too. Kraftwerk being an late 70s, early 80s band, has excellent green screen hi-res graphics all over their site. The graphics are kind of stuff that reminds me of the plot function of BASIC, running on an Apple IIe.

    IMHO, they are the greatest and most influential band since the beatles, rolling stones era. Today's artists are still sampling their beats.

    I'm sure they're not to hard to find on MP3. Remember that these guys predate the IBM XT and Mac. They are the grandfathers of electronic music.


  • For coding or heavy analytical writing (law), I think that nothing beats Bach. In particular, I like the Art of the Fugue (Contrapunctus). I have a Canadian Brass CD that really captures the emotional and harmonic impact of the music. The solo 'cello suites are good, too. The reason I think that this music is good for coding is because the music is both intricately complex and stunningly elegant. Kind of like a lot of (good) code (or a good argument) can be.

    OT: Hey, is anyone else surprised that an article posted ~4:00 AM EDT should get 90 comments in an hour? Or am I being too US-centric?
  • You can listen to NPR live now but as I recall, you have to use the MS Windows Media Player. Personally, I think that RealPlayer is a pile of shit under any platform and that MS Media Player runs pretty nicely under NT. I have an NT box next to the IRIX and Linux boxes on my desk so it works out ok. Of course, live NPR is pretty popular so the server is often slow/overloaded/broken.

    Check it out at the NPR front page: []
  • In no particular order

    Pavement (currently)
    Moxy Fruvous
    Mr. Bungle
    The Dentists
    The Monks
    Frank Zappa
    They Might Be Giants
    Drums and Tuba
    Beth Orton
    The Dead Milkmen
    Midnight Oil
    The Tragically Hip
    Ned's Atomic Dustbin
    Frank Black
    The Pixies
    Mac Swanky Trio

    and anything on Aztech Eccentrica (
  • I agree with Brian: Bach is definitely best suited for coding. I suggest the ``Art of the Fugue'' or the ``Musical Offering'' for writing difficult bits that require a lot of thinking. For more easy and repetitive stuff (mainly ``coding by M-w''), the ``Well-Tempered Clavier'' is fine. When debugging, use the ``Goldberg Variations''. Händel can be an acceptable substitute if you get bored of Bach.

    For more romantic stuff, try Bruckner (or possibly Mendelssohn or Schumann - say the ``Children Scenes''). By all means avoid Wagner and Tchaikovsky: very beautiful, but it will distract you from your code. Some pieces by Brahms (variations on a theme by Haydn for example) can be fine, too.
  • When I'm really thinking hard about something, I tend to forget to listen to music, but the majority of the time, I listen to a broad range of things while I code. A 3.74 gig range, to be exact.

    My favorite coding music:

    Nine Inch Nails (The Fragile is excellent)


    Chemical Brothers

    Ben Folds Five


    Jim's Big Ego

    Cibo Matto

    Led Zeppelin


    Oddly enough, I've found that listening to NIN while I do my math homework actually makes me work faster and more accurately. Strange, strange, strange.

    As far as sound setups go, I prefer speakers + sub to headphones, although a good set of headphones with nice bass will do when I'm at work or something and don't want to bother people. I like it a lot better when my sub shakes the paint off my wall though.

    Also, I do the best code when I'm dead tired. Which means that I generally stay up all night coding, because I don't tend to get tired until around 4am. Once I get tired, I dip into my endless supply of Mountain Dew and keep right on coding until I feel satisfied that I've gotten something done. Then I sleep for an hour and go to school...

  • I think that Brahms is good for thinking. Certainly, the symphonies are just as good as the Variations on a Theme by Haydn. If you're going to mention Bruckner, I probably should throw out Sibelius -- maybe the first or fifth symphonies.

    I'd second the idea that Tchaikovsky isn't good coding music. As I said, I like to listen to music with contrapuntal and harmonic intricacy when coding, and, let's face it -- Tchaikovsky doesn't have that much to offer there, at least compared to some of the other composers mentioned. That's not to say that it's bad music -- I'm quite looking forward to playing the Tchaik 5 in the spring. But it ain't deep-thinking, focus-your-mind music.
  • Well, if I'm coding some runofthemill trash, anything will do. Might as well jam out to some kickin' rock. But, if I want to code some ART, I'm got to be listening to art. If it's a Grand Idea that I'm implementing, then that most likely means Beethoven, or perhaps Dvorak. But if it's a subtle sollution to complex problem, then I need some Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong or John Coltrane.
  • Tree my ass in front of me and my cash money!

    Interested in XFMail? New XFMail home page []
  • Try to make a bigger antenna, add a few meters of wire to your current antenna.

    I found this to be a good solution as I work inside a building with masses of iron, gigantic copper reels, and other enemies of radio wave propagation.

    Most of the time an additional length of antenna works well. Also, where it is placed makes a large difference. The wavelength of the FM band effectively makes dead spots every half a wavelength where it cancels out at the antenna.

    The FM band is also highly reflective, so placing your antenna a certain distance from a length of grounded wire can effectively amplify your signal strength. For an industrial strength solution in an industrial building, your best bet may be to sneak one of those rooftop yagi [] antennas from RadioScrap, hide and aim it around non conductive mass, like the wall of a cubicle.

    If you wish to make your own stealth antennas on a cubicle wall disguised as artwork from pushpins and wire, there are many good books here []. If someone can find a good web based yagi design calculator, please let me know!
  • by Chris Johnson ( 580 ) on Saturday October 16, 1999 @04:25AM (#1609767) Homepage Journal
    Painful though it can be...
    I play too many instruments- any music worth a damn tends to make me sing/drum/play along with it or at least _think_ it so powerfully that there's no way I can code.
    Oddly enough, I have found a sound I can code to, it's just a disturbing sound. Occasionally I will listen to the satellites just beyond the 30-meter shortwave band. It's a roaring electronic noise with rumble and an alien electronic twitter overlaid on it, and will happily continue for hours without a break like an 'environments' record. The fact that it is really abrasive bothers me not at all :) actually, thinking about it makes me want to put on that 'station'! Also, listening to shortwave stations in languages I don't understand is another coding-positive sound environment. Usually it's just silence though, which is why I have a tough time working when it's not very late at night. I need _real_ silence, not random peoplenoise from outside :P
  • Interesting side-discussion (maybe): I mean, a little bit of everything. My CD collection ranges from all of the above, through Johnny Cash, and back around to The Cure. How many c0derZ have similarly wide-ranging tastes (i.e. not just listening to one style of music)?

    I suspect quite a few; most people I work with have a pretty wide range of musical tastes. People often comment on the CDs on my desk, which include Wesley Willis, Jean-Luc Ponty, Ween, The Judds, Camper van Beethoven, Anthrax, Joe Satriani, Robert Johnson and King's X.

    I also like Beastie Boys, Rush...and Bluegrass. :-)

    About the only music I don't like is pop, adult contemporary and hip-hop.

    Interested in XFMail? New XFMail home page []

  • Design:
    Something unobtrusive. Eno, Lustmord, Global Communication.

    Something meatier to keep me moving. Autechre (really anything on the Warp label), Juno Reactor, Empirion.

    This varies the most of all. No music at all, sometimes. Sometimes kinda crazy stuff, maybe -ziq. Or Portishead?

    Usually when it's extremely late (early?) I feel the need to switch over to either very loud thumpy stuff, or very ambient stuff (the Aphex Twin's SAW2, for instance). Both help me stay awake.
  • by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Saturday October 16, 1999 @08:47AM (#1609925) not what you lissen to, but how you lissen to it. If you have a large collection of MP3s then there is a good chance that you spend a LARGE amount of time skipping songs.

    Example: Song you are not in the mood for comes on, so you stop work for a second and press skip and go back to work, but just before your brain switches back to code mode another song you don't want to here right now comes on and you must stop work again.

    The tradiotnal solution to this is playlists, but it is easy to have too many MP3s to use them effectivly.. or just not understand your own lissening habits.

    The solution I came up with is to use a primitive AI (well not really, but almost) to try and learn my lissening habits for me. It also shows you the next 20 songs it is going to play and allows you to cancel them from the list BEFORE they start playing.. this makes an incredible diffrence in the ammount of time you waist skipping songs in random play mode. You can check out the Perl source to smartplay [], but be forewarned it is proof of concept.. and not really all that stable or polished. Plus, it takes a while to really learn anyhitng about you, but maybe someday someone who really knows something about AI will pick up the idea.

    Related to efficency: There is music out there, like Brian Eno, which is specifically designed (well.. sorta) to make you more productive (well.. sorta). The idea being that the music removes destractions (well.. sorta). I personally lissen to Techno since it seems to fit in well with the mind set required for programming. If your a Techno hater you should try lissening to it while your programming.. I've seen people made into Techno fans this way.

  • I've noticed that there are a lot of coders/hackers/programmers that enjoy, and even work better, while listening to music.

    Since there have been so many studies in the past that say that ppeoppple work better on technical things without music on, it makes one wonder why this is so.

    I have come to the ppppppersonal conclusion that hacking is more of an artistic task, as opppposed to technical.

    The other thing I've considered is that pprogrammers are actually more dual-brained, or rather, more able to use the left and right side at the same time. Whether this is due to higher intelliiigence or just more of a logical/emotiional ballance, I couldn't tell you. III'd tend to veer towards a combination of both, at least in my situation.

    I have come to the point that I _need_ music in order to work optimally. I'll sit in class, and start tapping out a beat. (This may be due to the fact that I'm a drummer, too. :)) I'll get distracted if my whole braiin isn't working.

    As far as listening preferance, II'll listen to most anything, albeit adultery(country) western, rap, and pop. The mood I'm in usually determines what I'll listen to. For those Dew-induced frenzies at 5AM, I'll usually pick up some punk - MxPx, Ninety Pound Wuss, etc. For several hours after school, when I'm really pissed off, I'll take some good ol' emocore or hardcore, such as Tourniquet, Strong Arm, Living Sacrifice, etc. When I'm just waking up, at about 9, pretty much anything goes, but techno stuff is at oppppptimality. techno Goth and hardcore techno seem to work best here. Goth opppera iiis great for those introspective, creative GIMP sessions.

    Just my .000002% of Mr. Franklin... Iignore repeated letters - my keyboard is dying!


  • > any music worth a damn tends to make me sing/drum/play along with it

    That's true for me as well -- in most contexts. Indeed, I tend to sing/drum/play to the music in my head even when there's none ambient.

    But after a few minnutes of coding I get so absorbed in what I'm doing that I'll scarcely notice that any CD I might have started has finished, and I may go for the rest of the night without putting another one in.

    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Saturday October 16, 1999 @10:46AM (#1609986)
    This topic has quickly garnered far more than the average number of responses (over 400 when I first saw it), but the response tree is very flat -- it looks like 97% of the responses are top-level responses.

    It seems that everyone wants to get their two obols in, but hardly anyone cares what anyone else is saying. [Not to imply that I'm any different!]

    Actually, it looks like a poll where all the votes have to be write-in votes. A nice idea, in fact, though we need a pattern matcher to go through and generate summary results. [Are you reading, Rob?]

    It would be nice to start doing polls like this: generate a free-for-all like the current one, run stats on it after a few days, and then post the summary in the (former) "poll" box, for further discussion of the actual results.

    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?
  • First I queue up all the Orbital, 5 albums worth. If I'm not done before the music is up, some old school Art of Noise follows.
  • Definitely techno...ambient stuff (some Aphex Twin, some Kraftwerk, Orbital, etc.) lets me concentrate on the code while still having good music playing. While I normally listen to Bad Religion, Nine Inch Nails, KMFDM, The Vandals, and a few other punk/industrial/other bands, it's hard to code to music that has lyrics =\
  • If i could get me some Klingon Opera i'd be in heaven, but until then i'll have to put up with Sarah Brightman, Enigma, Dune.
  • You generally can't go wrong with metal, but when I wanna code all night, there's one sub-genre that stands head and shoulders above the rest: Power Metal. What that? Well.. Judas Priest defined it in the 70s, Helloween and others refined it in the 80s, and Gamma Ray carries the torch into the 90s (along with a few dozen other bands in orbit around them). The melody, the speed -- it all comes down to raw energy pouring into your brain through the ear canal -- the perfect complement to caffeine. Rob Halford almost deserves his name in the credits sometimes...

    Oh, I said you can't go wrong with metal, but for coding, that's a lie. No Type O Negative! No Anathema! No My Dying Bride! Keep that kind of stuff away from the computer. Speedy and Happy are best.

  • Only Techno/Trance/Dance.

    Check these [] (Talla 2 XLC one of the best DJs) [] (Taucher [=Diver] also very strong)

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