Music to Code By

I read a post over at Coding Horror today about “Music to (Not) Code By,” and it got me thinking about the music I code by – which, let me just say, is not anything like the music mentioned in Jeff’s article!

There’s always been a sort of unspoken rule with me that the best music to write code by is some sort of techno-electronica type music – preferrably without lyrics. I wrote one of my earliest commercial programs almost entirely to the sounds of Digitally Imported’sChillout – Ambient PsySHOUTcast station.

Lately I’ve changed over to game music, thanks to the fine folks at Radio GOSU (The Gamers of Oklahoma State University). Of course, some people will argue there is little distinction between “game music” and “chillout techno.” But that’s neither here nor there.

The fact is, there’s just something… “right” about having that sort of music on in the background while pooring over thousands of lines of code, or while designing a totally new User Interface for your program. It’s not quite white noise, and it’s generally up-beat enough to keep you “in the groove.” And staying “in the groove” is, of course, very important for programmers – and any other sort of knowledge worker, in fact.

Maybe it’s the upbeat nature of the music, or the tempo, but I just find it much easier to program when listening to that kind of music.

So I guess the question now is… what sort of music do YOU listen to while you work?

By Keith Survell

Geek, professional programmer, amateur photographer, crazy rabbit guy, only slightly obsessed with cute things.


  1. John Conners says:

    I listen to all sorts of random music and radio shows when working but if I really need to work hard, concentrate and get things done then for some reason playing ABBA’s greatest hits always produces my best work!

  2. Keithius says:

    I can definitely see how that would work. 😉

  3. Dloadmp3 says:

    u guys are the best!

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