September 07, 2003
Do you listen?

Do you listen to music whilst programming? I'm only asking because I stopped that quite a while ago. I think it was after reading this short paragraph in Richard Williams' The Animator's Survival Kit: as a young man he asked animation genius Milt Kahl: "Milt, do you ever listen to classical music while you're working?" And Milt explodes: "Of all the stupid goddamned questions I've ever heard I never heard such a stupid question! I am not smart enough to think of more than one thing at a time!".

And that guy is an animator, not a programmer who doesn't have to keep ten different variables, methods or classes in mind at the same time.

Anyway - actually I wrote this article because I wanted you to know that in the time between programming I'm listening to my new favorite internet radio Luxuria Music - strangely they play exactly the mixture that I love, let me simply quote their homepage (and I'm not getting paid for that): "Latin Jazz, Groovy 60's Go-Go Soundtracks, 70's Bollywood bleep-bleep Funk, misguided Celebrity Vocals & MORE. The breezy, swingin' sounds make you feel glad to be alive - however fleetingly. With the accent on the disposable, the marginal, the overlooked and the forgotten. LuxuriaMusic mines the quirky oddities and novelties of yesteryear, spinning frothy retro pop, groovy soundtrack music, outré lounge jazz, and other trebly delights served up brimming with cheese. A trippy pop culture muzakal education, brought to you IN TECHNICOLOR. Just how you like it. The perfect soundtrack for your sophisticated lifestyle, whether you're relaxing at home or trapped inside an office cube."

Posted at September 07, 2003 11:39 PM | Further reading

I think it's easier to concentrate on your code while listening to a repetitive music like techno or drum and bass, 'coz there's no need to listen to lyrics or song structure (there's almost none), and it keeps you from falling asleep while coding at 4am ;)

Posted by: Raz-L on September 7, 2003 11:49 PM

I love to listen to music while coding. As long as I'm in the music to grove to it, anything can work. I find that I tend to work myself into a fugue almost when I get going...

Posted by: mike j on September 8, 2003 12:19 AM

I do listen to music while coding... in fact, sometimes I just can't concentrate unless I'm listening to music. On my workplace, for example, it's way better to concentrate on music and bang my head on the monitor screen (I listen to european heavy metal mostly) than to unintentionally concentrate on my coworkers conversation.

Posted by: zeh on September 8, 2003 01:13 AM

I do need music to concentrate in my work, even more if I'm trying to create something new. For some reason, my brain relates lack of sound with no space for creativity. I am a very musical person; as a matter of fact, I used to sing and play with an alternative rock band, back in Peru... and taht's mostly what I hear when working: alternative rock and some metal.

Posted by: Oscar Trelles on September 8, 2003 01:42 AM

As a matter of fact my head is always spinning with intentions, that I dont necessarily want to do[get something to drink, call someone, refresh the 100th time etc...]
I found my best day writing my degree when I was totally messed up, after being out completely drunk and in bed somewhat at ten in the morning.
I had such an amazing hangover that I just couldnt move an inch in my computer chair, and really nothing [interior] distracted me from doing my i ended the day with 8 pretty good pages about interfacedesign.
This shows me, that i need subtile distraction from stuff like music, otherwise I will be distracted from myself.
I think this is just the curse of being mind-hyperactive :D

Well and I almost ever listen to music or - even better - when I really dont want to work I listen to book readings or radio dramas...ok theres sometimes situations, when I REALLY have to focus on a problem, than everything has to be quiet....

Posted by: beachmeat on September 8, 2003 03:54 AM

I listen to music, but not actively. I don't concentrate on at it all... but I let the cd play to fill the room with life. It makes concentrating easier, I think, because I don't have silence drawing me away from the screen.

Posted by: darron on September 8, 2003 04:08 AM

I listen to music ALL the time, even while sleeping. However I definitely code with less challenging stuff.

Luxuria seems like a great station

Pity its only window$ megalomedia player

Posted by: Nick on September 8, 2003 06:29 AM

music is all over my workplace!

Posted by: cedric on September 8, 2003 09:45 AM

I tend to listen to various instrumental music (Console, Tortoise et al.) while coding, whereas singing usually brings me 'out of step'. Of course that depends on who is actually singing ;o)

Posted by: Ralf Siegel on September 8, 2003 12:20 PM

It depends. Sometimes I find inspiration in music. Actually, quite often I'll lay on my bed, and put some ambiant, techno, trance music on and then when the idea comes I jump to the keyboard. Sometimes music can get to me though. Especially when I hit a moment of confusion. Then I turn the music off and try to gather my thoughts. If I can't get my head on straight, I turn the music back on, jump on the bed and dream up another solution.

Posted by: Dominick on September 8, 2003 07:19 PM

I love listening to the music while I am programming, but it varies from time to time. One day its chill out the other '80 rock and sometimes I just prefer not to listening to anything.

Just depends on the mood.

Posted by: Dan on September 9, 2003 12:10 AM

I dont care

Posted by: bo on December 12, 2003 04:54 PM

I listen to Drum'n Bass and TripHop Melodies when hitting the keyboard. But for analyzing stuff or think in prozess for developing I rather kill the sound.

Posted by: david on January 15, 2004 03:38 PM

>..that guy is an animator, not a programmer who doesn't have to keep ten different variables, methods or classes in mind at the same time...

That wasn't nice. I'm an animator, and I know, that every proffesion has its own problems. You keep your variables in head, and we keep timing, keyframes and in the same time the feeling of organic movement and how to fit in this limited amount of frames... So it's not so easy.
Music, yes, I think every person loves listening for some good music, and there's no difference what music. For example I like the soundtracks of the films (!!!) and other cinematic sounds. It inspires me to work. But when I come to work, then I must be in deadly silence, because I must put all information in the head, and also to know (and feel) how shapes will move in other 10 or more frames. It's not so easy. But afcourse, it's not suitable for all kinds of work, for example when I'm retouching my already drawn work, or coloring it, I can listen to light music...

P.S. sory for my terrible english... Need to improve on that thou... ;)

Posted by: psykovsky on May 11, 2005 01:53 AM

@psykovsky: You are right - that statement of mine is not nice and only a sign of my ignorance. Thank you for your enlightening comment.

Posted by: Mario Klingemann on May 11, 2005 12:09 PM

Can be nice with some background, especially if it masks the (personal) phone conversations of other in the office that you otherwise are compelled to listen to.

Problem is Luxuria is way too good! Now I spend half my time refreshing the playlist so I can see what I've just heard then scurring off to find it for my crappy $20 iPod wannabe.

Still it's a better way to spend your life than trying to invent a way to pass XML in FlashLite 1.1, so nice one Quasi :O)

Posted by: Pete Mc on September 7, 2005 11:18 AM
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