I like to listen to music when I code. Music drowns out background distractions and provides enough auditory structure to occupy the part of my brain that usually starts to wander when left to its own devices.

Over the years I’ve learned that not just any sort of music will get the job done. Drums, complex beats, overwhelming melodies and obvious lyrics make it impossible to maintain any sort of focus. I’ve gradually honed in on a very specific sort of music that I can work to. It’s hard to define, but good work music for me usually contains a number of the following:

  • Few, or no, drums
  • Vocals, if any, are distorted to the point that language ceases to matter
  • Many layered instruments, providing a rich texture
  • ‘Found’ sounds and pure ambience
  • Minor keys and arpeggiated chords
  • Echoes

This led me towards a lot of post-rock, ambient, minimalist-classical, trance and experimental music. No matter how much I find, though, I always need more. Today I was introduced to something wonderful, a podcast called musicForProgramming(). musicForProgramming() is a podcast that has precisely the aesthetic I described above.

The podcasts are very well produced. There is no extraneous garbage or any speaking at all. Just music. I only surface from listening very occasionally for my brain to note how much it is enjoying the sounds. I highly recommend checking the podcast out, but for a cheap and easy preview of the flavour of music I’m talking about, just click on this player:

More at musicforprogramming.net

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