Looking for Music to help Code/Write

One of my goal this year is to try to open up my musical world and listen to new stuff. If I am not listening to some sort of KPop (Covid discovery), it’s ambiance/jazz/lo-fi playlists.
What’s the IntFiction Forum peeps listening to? Anything special during writing/coding?


I usually code while listening to heavy metal (like Gojira, Empire Springs, Bloodywood, Nine Treasures, Iris, or Periphery), argent metal (like GeoffPlaysGuitar or Zach Houston), or anything by Comaduster (who writes dark electronic stuff).

Sometimes I’ll put on some nerdcore (CG5, DAGames, TryHardNinja, etc), or I’ll have the discography of scream-rapper Kent Osbourne on loop.

Usually while I’m coding, the music is a lot more aggressive and can have vocals. This is because I’m usually trying to copy the double-kick drums with my legs to burn some excess energy and keep my brain focused on larger code problems and goals.

If I’m writing, it’s usually instrumentals (or exclusively not in English), and tends to be calmer. So the calmer selections of Comaduster are playing, and then some stuff by Ghost and Pals will be in the mix, too. Sometimes I put on the Subnautica soundtrack. When I’m writing, I can more easily focus on smaller parts of the story at a time, because I make lots of notes and outlines for myself, so I can usually sit still during this, and therefore use calmer music.


Opera! I find Verdi best for IF writing-- all that passion and drama. Rigoletto is my favorite one to listen to while writing, although Aida is a close second. But if opera isn’t your thing, you can’t go wrong with Mozart’s masses, either. The Great Mass in C Minor is excellent for nurturing the creative spark.


When I’m trying to code (or focus on anything, really) I’m trying to hit a very specific level of brain engagement. Anything too downbeat won’t work. Same deal with songs with lyrics, unless I’m so familiar with them that I can tune them out. I listen to a lot of video game soundtracks since they tend to be upbeat and the songs flow nicely into one another, so I don’t get distracted by transitions. How much I actually like the music is a secondary concern after that.

If I really need to buckle down I break out the king of samey video game music: the five-hour-long Initial D Eurobeat Megamix.


Yeah, likewise! Post-rock often works for me for these purposes; if I want something more ambient and vibey, Rachel’s is a go to(representative album; solo album by one of their members after they broke up), and if I want something more propulsive I usually go to Explosions in the Sky (this is my favorite album of theirs). And if I really need motivation and don’t mind lyrics EMA is what I reach for.


Not opera, but Mahler’s 9th Symphony makes for some excellent thinking music, too. It has some sliiiiiight hints of Looney Tunes every now and then, but it really hits that balance of elusive and engaging. I can have it on loop for 8+ hours without even noticing.

In case my metal/goth preferences are not to one’s taste.


I go for trance or drone. Anything that sounds the same for a good forty-five minutes really gets me in the zone. Recently, I’ve taken to listening to Vivian & Ondine by William Basinski when I’m writing creepy or eerie scenes.


I’m in that same group. Lyrics will distract me if I’m writing words. I like music similar to Portishead or Massive Attack without words. I’ve also listened to Orb (which is just crazy random sounds, sometimes what you want) Dead Can Dance, Enigma, Trance Mission…sometimes even Bach will work.

What I usually end up doing is going to YouTube and searching for “chill creative work study binaural peaceful groovy ambient music” or some combination like that and picking one that’s at least an hour or two.

Oh, and I frequently default to this:


I find listening to either:

  • Things like I Am the Walrus by the Beatles, White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane, Slow Moves by José González, and Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Or, more preferably, see What are you listening to? - #109 by SomeOne2

I just listen to the music I normally listen to? I’ve never found that lyrics or intensity really distracts me- I actually find it incredibly difficult to listen to slow instrumentals or purely instrumental music, because my brain kind of itches for more stimulation.

I actually mute all video game music and watch video essays or music with singing because otherwise the ‘empty’ noise drives me insane. I also do the same while drawing. I can only listen to podcasts when I’m drawing, or embroidery, or something similar. Not writing for the narrative style podcasts I like though, that’s a bit distracting.

I usually pick one song to loop- as of late I’ve been listening to a lot of Zach Bryan and his unreleased music. If I need to get something done for school, I’ll put on nightcore and that usually gets me in the right mindset very quickly.


Me too! I can’t stand music in my games. I don’t know why, since I know some of that music is probably very good. I find it irritating. I also mute voice-overs in games and prefer to read. The only game I ever played with the sound (and I really mean the only one) was Kami 2– I loved the folding sound at the end of each level.


[dies a bit inside]


Yeah, I know. Everyone thinks I’m missing an integral part of the experience. But I also am easily annoyed by music in movies. I ALREADY KNOW IT’S SAD!!! I don’t need the violins bullying me. And games do this too. And cheery repetitive theme music in games really drives me bonkers.

Which is all very weird, because I love music on its own. And Tom can play music all day long while I’m reading or playing a game, and that doesn’t bother me.


Amen, Hanon.

In the 1980s, you would go to your friend’s house pining to hear the music from Commando coming out of their Commodore 64 again. A lot of C64 games were like that. A major attraction was the endless music, which you could not hear anywhere except when that game was on.

On the original topic, I can’t do writing tasks with people crying English things around me. So mostly no pop music. But that’s where Eurovision comes in. All the pop I need with little English.

Mostly while programming I am listening to classical music, movie soundtracks, electronic music (no vox), especially my heroes Autechre, and some videogame music. And some Eurovision.



For any long project, I make a playlist specifically for that project. I keep adding songs as I go. This is something I carried forward from the old MFA days.


This is an awesome idea. I’m going to start doing it.

Are you going to share the playlist for your WIP, or keep it personal?


Yes! I will share it for sure.


Me three! I usually have my computer audio turned off altogether, and I’ll turn it on for certain specific things.

I’m afraid I don’t listen to music while I’m working either: I’m pretty much that Milt Kahl cartoon from The Animator’s Survival Kit. Well, I’m not quite that bad: I have a bunch of siblings, I’m excellent at tuning out noise. But if I forget and listen to it instead of tuning it out it’s a pretty noticeable drain on how much I get done…


I’m also a No music fan when playing any games (IF or otherwise)
For background, I prefer Australian Country - Slim Dusty, Lee Kernaghan, even Chad Morgan at times.
It probably has to do with living upside down and in a different time zone to most others. Could also be age related. (fast approaching 70)


This is mostly identical to my experience (with the exception that I usually do enjoy video game music, although if the video game isn’t wordy/narrative enough I will mute it and listen to an audiobook instead). My brain demands very specific levels of stimulation. My music library is also very eclectic because if I’m not constantly jumping around between genres I will get bored.

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