By what music do you code?

Looking for suggestions. What’s good coding music? (Or other background filler?)

These are my three favorite albums I listen to, when I’m at work …


I often have ASMR videos or fan noise going. Anything without words (or in a language I don’t know) otherwise the language processing part of my brain gets tied up and it slows me down.

Gregorian chants are delightfully monotonous and make a nice soundscape.

I tend to listen to a lot of Talking Heads when I’m coding routine stuff, but nothing beats silence if I’m doing really hard stuff I don’t understand.

Spotify’s “Brain Food” playlist was a good start. Then you can just tell it to play similar music.

Awesome! Thanks, gang. Keep 'em coming if you want. These are great selections. I found some Spotify Brain Food playlists on YouTube and I’m checking that out now, it’s definitely the type of thing I’m looking for. I kept looking for study/coding music on YouTube and found the selections to be TOO light for me.

My internet connection is abysmal, so I download MP3’s that are created/inspired by video game soundtracks.

At the Star Control II website, they have Ur-Quan Masters remix packs.

I enjoyed the Super Cartography Bros. collection.

The Portal 2 soundtrack was free.

And I have fun discovering new stuff on the Overclocked Remix site.

Also, my taste in music is terrible, so your mileage may vary.

Frogs singing, high surf, waves breaking on the banks of a lake, brook, rapids, “kachuck-kachuck” noise of train wheels going through a switch, pink noise, a chorus of chanted “ahhhh” looping continuously, There are also some stuff easily cooked up on analogue synthesizers, particularly a sort of wobbly bass note.

Celtic music has the perfect combination of pulse and melody. Here’s a playlist!

Personally, I code to Progressive Rock and the like, usually Rush or King Crimson. Also symphonic metal, but nothing too heavy. … le_coding/

Hey, that’s a good stash of suggestions right there! Thanks!

You bet, anytime!

The first suggestion is “classical crossover”–popular songs done as instrumental/classical–if that appeals I would recommend the Vitamin String Quartet, which does string quartet versions of a lot of different pop songs. They’re really well done; not schmaltzy or kitschy (much), just kind of plainspoken straightforward renditions of the songs. There’s a ton of their stuff on whatever streaming service you prefer.

The main issue may be if you wind up spending a lot of time guessing what song they’re playing. There was a radio station in New Hampshire that due to a dispute about the broadcast license wound up playing nothing but VSQ for several years, and my partner and I would always have a good time trying to guess what we were listening to whenever we drove within range. A side effect was that I found out The Red Hot Chili Peppers sound pretty amazing played by a string quartet, specifically songs from Californication for some reason.

[EDIT: The actual answer is that I listen to the sort of noisy jazz that I listen to all the rest of the time, but that’s probably not too helpful to anyone who doesn’t already like that stuff.]

If I do listen to music, most of the time it has to be nonvocal or without vocals I can understand and not sleep-inducing, so sometimes interesting high-energy “New Age” or “World Music” fills the bill. Sometimes I will just look for “creative binaural music” on Youtube.
I did write one entire screenplay with Maroon5’s “This Love” on repeat, but that was totally the mood.
Frequent go-tos: Enigma “Le Roi Est Mort”, Trance Mission “Meanwhile…”, Portishead, Massive Attack “Mezzanine”, Mike Oldfield “Tubular Bells” (the whole album, not just the Exorcist part), Tangerine Dream, Yanni “Keys to Imagination”. Dead Can Dance. Orb “Peel Sessions”.

For coding - especially the more creative bits - I like to listen to film soundtracks, usually non vocal tracks. Current favourites include “A Theory of Everything” and the recent “Wonder Woman”. Or Two Steps From Hell trailer music, though that can be a bit exciting at times!

If I’m doing something tedious, like reorganising lots of Inform tables or similar, I may listen to vocal tracks, including some of my top rated pop songs. But usually non vocal are best for me.

Hanon, I’ve always felt we operate on the same wavelength to some extent, and this music list pretty much clinches it. I’ve lost months of my life to Tubular Bells, and I know that no one casually namedrops Yanni on a list like this because they want to impress their friends with how cool they are.

Hey, Yanni used to be that new agey stuff but his recent stuff is pretty cool actually. Er, or so I’ve heard…

Some of the earlier Yanni recordings are very synth-heavy, but he got popular and did some full concerts and his music played by an orchestra is actually really good.

I remember watching PBS during Pledge Week and being struck by how much better Yanni was than John Tesh.