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Ask Slashdot: What Music do you Code By?

Cliff posted more than 14 years ago | from the oh-but-this-would-never-work-as-a-poll dept.

News 713

Silas writes "I value music as an important part of the coding/debugging/designing process, and choosing what music to listen to while working on a given piece of code can be as subtle and interesting a process as choosing what data structure or regular expression to use. My personal selection varies from Mozart to Happy Rave, Dave Matthews Band to Enigma, but I'm interested to know what members of the larger coding community listen to when they're doing their thing, getting in the zone. What music do you code by?" Ah. I like nothing less than coding to a good progressive Drum 'N Bass song. What about you all?

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Morrissey... (1)

Josh Picker (44294) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609525)

the only music that matters.

Metallica (1)

david_morgan (5148) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609526)

That about says it all for me, I think.

Metal/Industrial/Synthpop/Gothic and a bit classic (1)

ZeroTolerance (18688) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609527)

Anything really .. but favorites include:
Iron Maiden, Pantera, Type O Negative, Dark Tranquillity, Nine Inch Nails, Sisters of Mercy, Project Pitchfork, Nitzer Ebb, Bauhaus, Fear Factory, KMFDM and the Matrix Soundtrack

Very occasionally, I will listen to some Wagner, Grieg or Mussorgsky .. depends on the mood I'm in ...

Re:Morrissey... (1)

uq1 (59540) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609528)

definately gabber

nothing better than some mind pounding bass to get my creative juices flowing..

delta 9, doa and lenny dee just to name a few

Ministry! (1)

Endymion (12816) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609529)


Or sometime, for variation, some Xorcist or Sisters of Mercy...

Pink Floyd (1)

cluening (6626) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609530)

I like to code to the soothing sounds of "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" and debug to the more insane "Dark Side of the Moon"...

music? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609531)

Cradle of Filth

depends on what I'm writing (1)

noop (72121) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609532)

java(bleah!): NWA or EazyE
c : misfits/black flag/ fear .....
forth: mozart

thats about that

Re:Morrissey... (1)

Josh Picker (44294) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609533)

"gabber"? sorry, i don't speak your crazy moon language.

Re:depends on what I'm writing (1)

noop (72121) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609534)

oh yeah... and whatever it is, it's gotta be loud.. coffee just doesn't seem to be keeping me awake anymore.

grr.. (2)

TeknoDragon (17295) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609535)

I deffinately enjoy a lot of their stuff [] . Why not make your own music too? A great place to get a lot of samples (and windoze resources too) is Maz-sound [] .

Eurohouse baby! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609536)

happy music all the way!

Next question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609537)

Any music as long as I've heard it many many times before. Don't code and listen to stuff ya don't know. Next question, what format is all that music played from? Hmm... let me think....

Re:Morrissey... (1)

curator13 (20320) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609538) [] is very Slashdot-influenced by the way!

Tchaikovsky or Chopin (1)

cdlu (65838) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609539)

Tchaikovsky, Chopin or Stravinsky are by far the best selection of music to listen to while coding. The satisfying crash of Strauss is good for a core dump or kernel panic, and Beethoven's 9th symphony is good when debugging never ending while loops.

music for code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609540)

It all depends on the deadline. For development projects that are due now, yesterday or before I then to listen to the loudest industrial to drown out the office noise and people who want to bother me. If I actually have to develop it before its due, I go with drum and bass or goa. ice/shoutcast is great at the office cuz I dont need to bring in my CDs.

Ministry of Sound (1)

bent (21042) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609541)

In particular the 1998 Jayse Knipe tour of Australia. Great stuff.
Ben Tindale

Britney! (3)

Hobbex (41473) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609542)

Its hard to have an insightful comment about this topic, as music taste usually comes down to, well taste, and everybody has one. I also think its a bit of situation and mood thing.

Call me a moron, but for those 5 in the morning sessions, when one has had so much sugar, caffiene, etc that the body is about the crystalize and the brain is working on sheer impulse rather than thought: nothing beats some really shallow happy girl pop like Britney Spears or Spice Girls.

I wouldn't be caught dead listening to that in the day (unless its on MTV of course), but when my brain is soft and mushy, pop seems closer to its resonant frequency. No one gives motivation as the sun climbs over the horizon after a sleepless night like my lovely Britney..

Otherwise I like music with a more character and maturity, even when I'm concentrating. Preferably some of the 70s Pink Floyd or David Bowie albums, whose effect is the opposite: allowing me to calm down and concentrate on solving a problem.

/. is like a steer's horns, a point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between.

The Pixies (1)

bgarland (10594) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609543)

My favorite band of all time! Can't get enough of that Frank Black.

Also like some Autechre or Aphex Twin if I'm feeling really adventurous.


Music to Code by (1)

Desert Raven (52125) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609544)

I like Classical for the long coding sessions, especially those that last all day. Vivaldi, James Galway and Rimski-Korsakov are very nice.

For short, intense sessions, I tend to prefer Jazz. Wynton Marsalis, Vince Guaraldi, Thelonious Monk and Alien Fashion Show work pretty well.

Mixed in between, I'll listen to Blondie, Talking Heads, Peter Gabriel and such for a little contrast. Something to shake me up and keep from "zoning out".

Overall, anything except country will do the job, though I will listen to Junior Brown on occasion. (Surf music from a country artist, go figure)

If I had a .sig, it would go here.

Polka! (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609545)

Yeah! The Beerbarrel polka, "Bubbles in the
Wine" (not really a polka exactly), Weird Al's
polka medleys, and a few others.

Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Led Zep, Soundgarden (1)

dduck (10970) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609546)

Energetic, yet sufficiently complex to stay interesting.

For me coding music *has* to be loud and slightly heavy. It's like I need to plug the audio channel so I won't be distracted by the real world.

Bartok! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609547)

Bartok, the name says it all. The hungarian piano virtuoso, genius composer, and musicologist, what more could one need? well perhaps some Charlie Parker or maybe a little John Zorn.

None (1)

Squirtle (73289) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609548)

Effective coding requires intense concentration.

Silence, thanks.

music without words (1)

Mike_L (4266) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609549)

I can program and debug to any music that does not have words. I believe that it helps me concentrate better by shutting out distracting noises.

Music (1)

Jinkster (38140) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609550)

I was going to use the old 'it depends on my mood' anwser then I realsied that would be wrong..
All major sessions have been accompanied by Enigma, KLF and things in that sort of ambian/ light dance theme.
hink long CD's help as well (or ones that work on cont random play).

Jink (off to buy some more CD's

Whatever (1)

Maul (83993) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609551)

I just stick the MP3 playlist on "random" and start coding. Although, sometimes slow music will increase the effect of Java's slow compile time... so I just avoid Java at all costs.

It depends... (1)

Jerenk (10262) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609552)

The music I listen to depends upon the mood that I am in. (Gee, that's helpful...) Thankfully, I have a large CD collection. I also don't recommend listening to one CD over and over again on the same day. It'll get on your nerves WAY too quickly. Get a CD changer, or use MP3s and burn compilation CDs (fit 6 or 7 CDs onto one CD-R - wee!). However, legal issues probably dictate that you should only make MP3s out of CDs that you own (even that is a bit shaky)...

However, I have found that upbeat music does work really well when you are trying to code something up quickly. Softer music (i.e. '50s style Jazz) can put me in a bit of a trance, so that I find myself approaching the problem from a different perspective. It is really a balancing act that you must follow. However, there is also a time when you do need to have peace and quiet to approach a problem. But, not all of the time though!

Anyway, my web site (see above) has specific comments on artists that I usually find myself listening to. But, that does not exclude any other group...


All sorts of stuff . . . (1)

fireproof (6438) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609553)

Pink Floyd, U2, Depeche Mode, Joe Satriani, B.B. King, Circle of Dust, Leaderdogs, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Dvorak, Mendelssohn, Bach, David Sanborn, Styx, Tom Petty, Foreigner, Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills, & Nash . . .

It all depends on what kind of mood I'm in.

Re:Morrissey... (1)

Josh Picker (44294) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609554)

funny, because i read morrissey-solo fairly often, but i never really noticed the obvious influences. how ironic, in a strange way.

Depeche Mode (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609555)

I'm surprised noone has mentioned Depeche Mode yet. Preferrably the old material.

Eclectic. (2)

David E. Smith (4570) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609556)

For tricky problem solving, I need something to help clear my mind. Soothing music. Sarah McLachlan, older Tori Amos, Eagles, Doors.

This, of course, differs from my "normal" music -- right now, the MP3 playlist has some Frank Zappa, some Korn, 2Pac, a little bit of everything.

Interesting side-discussion (maybe): I mean, a little bit of everything. My CD collection ranges from all of the above, through Johnny Cash, and back around to The Cure. How many c0derZ have similarly wide-ranging tastes (i.e. not just listening to one style of music)?

Fairly Random (2)

Falsch Freiheit (7780) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609557)

I've got a collection of MP3 files (ripped and encoded from my CDs) and I usually listen in random order, skipping a track if it doesn't match the currently desired mood.

The collection includes: Alice In Chains, Ani DiFranco (including more than one album involving Utah Phillips), Annie Lennox, Metallica (and Apocalyptica doing Metallica), a little Beethoven, some Cherry Poppin' Daddies, "Cry Cry Cry", Dar Williams, Dead Can Dance, Deep Forest, Depeche Mode, Eric Clapton, some Eurythmics, Fields Of The Nephilim, Fiona Apple, Front Line Assembly, Garbage, Heather Nova, Hole, Information Society, Joan Osborne, KMFDM, Live, Madonna's latest album, Massive Attack, Ministry, a little Mozart, NIN, PJ Harvey (she's great!), a little Primus, a little REM, Rage Against The Machine, Richard Shindell, Rob Zombie, a little Sade, Sarah McLachlan, Skinny Puppy, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Sting, a small amount of The Cardigans, a couple Toni Braxton songs, Tricky, Tool, and a rather thorough collection of Tori Amos.

In other words, I listen to Industrial, "Rock", Folk, Metal, "Pop", Techno, Swing, some R&B, a little classical (there's also some Wagner that I haven't been listening to much recently, so hasn't made it into the archive yet) with a strong dose of female vocals in there... When I'm busy coding, I'm more likely to stick with the "heavier" or more "active" stuff (Ani DiFranco, Garbage, Hole, Information Society, KMFDM, Massive Attack, Tricky, Metallica, Ministry, NIN, White Zombie, some Tori Amos, etc...)

Dr Awesome (1)

jregel (39009) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609558)

For me, it's got to be some Bjorn "Dr Awesome" Lynne. I grew up listening to his .mod music, and have progressed onto his space / fantasy music CDs. Definitely a must for ex-Amiga users who used to like Crusaders demos. Check out []

Gypsy Kings, Gianluca Grignani, and Amedeo Minghi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609559)

Gotta be these guys, plus a little Armik and Ottmar Leibert...

Not too many lyrics (1)

CvD (94050) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609560)

Mostly electronic music, otherwise I get distracted. Think Goa trance, techno, drum-n-base. Keeps me focused. It's great!

80's (1)

Knightmare (12112) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609561)

Anything 80's...... I have a large collection of music that I ripped off of cd's on my rack to make one HUGE cd of all of my 80's music in mp3 format. Any time I have to code I break out my 80's cd.

What and how... (1)

Katravax (21568) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609562)

To simplify the selection process, I ripped a bunch of my CDs to MP3 (one style per CD) and burned them to a data CD with an m3u playlist in the root, but without the drive letter coded in the m3u. This way, it's totally portable and not tied to any drive letter, and opening a single m3u file cues a day's worth of music.

For coding that requires problem-solving and deep concentration, I've found Tangerine Dream to be the most relaxing and quick to put me in "the zone" when coding. The same can be said of moderate classical, romantic, baroque, classic japanese, and some pop like 'til Tuesday or The Bangles. Grunt coding works with just about anything; I prefer Rush, Yes, Living Color, and a few others, but it doesn't really matter when the coding doesn't require much creativity.

vocal music impedes concentration (1)

Siva (6132) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609563)

i find it *much* easier to concentrate when listening to songs with very few if any vocal parts versus things like popular/alternative/rock/whatever-you-call-it. therefore, i typically listen to techno/trance/electronica or classical.

although, if i forget to take my meds in the morning, even techno can get distracting! but thats just me :)

Keyboard not found.

the list... (1)

fractality (448) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609564)

jazz: miles, trane, tain, tony williams, wynton..etc
Rock: Dave Matthews, Jamiroquai, Steely Dan..etc
Other: Tori Amos, Ani Difranco, Sarah McLachlan..etc

Mobb Deep (1)

thenerd (3254) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609565)

Yesterday, debugging somebody elses Java code, Mobb Deep set the note for the entire day. Gave me that kind of vengeful, murderous, relentless power necessary to pull together an application written by somebody who didn't quite know what they were doing, into a position where I could *start* to get it ready to be shipped by November.


Gimme somodat FUNK! (1)

rhadc (14182) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609566)

Alright, peoples. I'm talkin' boug a little bit o' that James Brown. Or some Tower of Power, or some Sly and the Family Stone! Keep it off beat. To keep you away. It doesn't mean you'll be thinking straight, but at least you'll be thinking. If pull up some of that Pop ____, you're just turning your brain to jelly. and at 5am, when you've run out of cigarettes, jolt cola, and you have a test tomorrow, you gotta code to tha FUNK. don't crest the weasel.

NIN, Offspring, Dave Matthews Band, etc. (1)

Matt Lee (2725) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609567)

Wow, I was just thinking the other day about how there should be an Ask Slashdot about coding music. And here it is, cool!

My personal favorites while banging out code include:

- NIN (The Fragile (great!!!) and Downward Spiral)
- Offspring (Americana)
- Metallica (Metallica (the black album))
- Chumbawamba (Tubthumper)
- Red Hot Chili Peppers (random MP3s)
- Random techno (Digital Empire 1, Orbital (In Sides), Crystal Method)

And some other stuff for more relaxed, contemplative coding sessions:
- Dave Matthews Band (Luther College, Red Rocks, Before These...)
- Louis Prima (Capitol Collectors Series)
- Eric Clapton (Unplugged)
- Bare Naked Ladies (Stunt)

I've been known to listen to Yanni as well when I'm in a really weird mood.

The best coding music comes from the net... (1)

Eric Sharkey (1717) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609568) []

There isn't much need to say more. You want fast code? You have to listen to music that has some tempo too it. Anything less than 160 bpm is too slow to code too.

Re:The Pixies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609569)

"I'm not black like Barry White \
no I am white like Frank Black is"

The answer is "techno" (last had no text) (2)

PickldPlur (96141) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609570)

'course, i'm all prissy about it. while i do like tekno, mostly i prefer some form of trance.

for hard core, one with the computer, nerdvana type coding, good hard psy-trance or goa is PERFECT. for those who havn't heard it, try astral projection, growling mad scientists, x-dream, hallucinogen, noosphere.. an the list goes on and on.

harder trance is wonderful, too.

'course, i tend to just listen to what i want to hear. which usually is one of the above, but it doesn't keep me from throwing in a melodic trance mix and getting distracted by ecsatic builds every once in while ;) or just listening to something completely different, and forgetting about electronic music for a little while

i feel obligated to insert "Talking about music is like dancing about architechture" here, cause i don't feel like i can even begin to express my thoughts about most of that music. It's another state of mind. . .

Autechre, Squarepusher... anything Warpish (1)

CSC (31551) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609571)

Autechre is best for those last (er... latest) tricky bugs; Squarepusher fits the bill when I have to work real fast and my eyes tell me I'd better be in bed...
Jazz or 70's rock for the queter moments.

What I listen to... (1)

MinusOne (4145) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609572)

Any number of things - its been many years of coding to music. The first that I really remember was Neil Young, "Everyone Knows This is Nowhere" - because at the time it was a great tape to just play over and over and over and over.....
Recently, its been Joy Division (Substance, the "Ideal for living" tracks,) Husker Du, Spot 1019, Cake, Rube Waddell, the Mermen, Corduroy, the Meices, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Me First and the Gimme gimmies, The Fall (early stuff, Perverted By Language, Dragnet, Live at the Witch Trials, Grotesque) The Gang of Four, BIG BLACK (without whon NIN would not exist), the Butthole Surfers, the Sinister Six, Nirvana, the Spacemen 3, Beck, The Minutemen!!!!!... Oh shit, I could really go on for a long time here, but I have to stop.


Tori Amos (1)

morbid (4258) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609573)

You can't beat a good bit of Tori to code by. If you need to code in a hurry, Megadeth does the trick. For designing code and data structures etc. Smashing Pumpkins provide the inspiration. Pink Floyd soothes the brain if it's been trying to understand some obscure algorithm, and of course debugging requres some heavyweight funk. Parliament obliges. The Mothership Connection, 500 000kW of P-Funk power...

Goa all the way (1)

DeaDLoK (43735) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609574)

Whenever I'm coding, I queue up a bunch of goa trance and dive in. You don't have to pay attention to the music, and it has a beat which keeps me going through the long haul coding sessions. I can think more clearly with goa going in the background than with other music with harsher beats (ie. metal, rap, industrial) or music with lyrics.

Silence doesn't work for me at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609575)

I find coding (and especially fixes) also requires keeping up a pace, so I don't just start staring confusedly at my monitor until dawn.

None, most of the time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609576)

For serious brain-work, sometimes I put on a record, and forget all about it. At best I forget to turn it over when side A is finished, sometimes I even turn it off, because even nice music becomes noise when I'm concentrating.

For simple routine work, I may play something silly and old, like the misfits or the cure.

Re:Dr Awesome (1)

MoOsEb0y (2177) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609577)

Oh yeah! There's nothing like Bjorn Lynne's music.. it actually seems to make you think... not only that but the tunes are memorable.
just my 2 1/4 cents

whatever I'm into at the moment (1)

jetpack (22743) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609578)

Basically I listen to whatever new tunes I have at the moment. However, I feel pressured to give some kinda list of albums that I have grooved on hardest while coding:

[0] "Off Ramp" - Pat Metheney
[1] "2112" - Rush
[2] "Ride The Lightning" - Metallica
[3] "Angst" - KMFDM
[4] "Amused To Death" - Roger Waters

Of course, there are plenty more, but those 5 come to mind immediately. Off Ramp and other old Metheney albums are clear winners for me.

My Musical Progression (1)

Mr. Ayo (30382) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609579)

I've always kept a strict morning playlist followed by a flexible afternoon playlist.

Mornings consist of The Wall, Darkside of the Moon, Zeppelin Box Set, Steve Miller Greatest Hits, some CCR, and some Rolling Stones.

This gets me halfway through the afternoon, at which time I need some motivation. So then comes NIN (The Fragile), KoRn, Limp Biskit, Kid Rock, and some new stuff.

Then it's off to home for baseball/hockey/football tv.

Re:Britney! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609580)

I agree with your comment about tastes. Plus somedays for me it varies depending on day/mood.

Usually tho' I start on something like Andrea Bocelli or Diana Krall and end on something like Vengaboys or Beastie Boys. Something sweeping and creative to start and then something with base and drive to finish the job.

midnight oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609581)

no other possibility! ..up ghost prairie mountains of sunset and space..

PanterA (1)

geremy (18495) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609582)

Definately PanterA and other hard stuff, like Ministry and Rammstein (not sure thats spelt wright)

Slow compile time? Try jikes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609583) ource/jikes/project/

Re:Next question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609584)

Another vote for old familiar music. It still keeps me going or calms me down (depending on which I want) but doesn't surprise me so often. But I still carry mine around on CD - desk space is much easier to come by than mass storage at work.

Why, any music without understandable words (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609585)

Any music that can be kind of ambient, but also upbeat is good. I've noticed music with words tends to be more distracting, but music with lyrics in other languages aren't.

Nirvanna counts in this respect, too. Can YOU understand their lyrics? I sure can't. :)

Re:The answer is "techno" (last had no text) (1)

Siva (6132) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609586)

goa rules. juno reactor is my favorite goa artist.

as for other trance stuff, i like antiloop, man with no name, and of course, underworld!



Keyboard not found.

My Personal Selections (1)

TtG (37179) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609587)

My personal selections are:

Dark Tranquillity
In Flames
Children Of Bodom
Opera IX
Dismal Euphony
Dimmu Borgir
Limbonic Art

Music To Debug Code By (1)

Joel Rowbottom (89350) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609588)

Depends on the sort of code really and the mood - I have about 5,000 CD albums in my collection (not to mention the MP3s) so what usually happens is that I'll listen to a particular set of CDs for a few days and then it'll change.

Styles range from jazz, to synthpop, to chart pop, to classical music.

Current music (no laughing please):

  • Pat Metheny Group: very good background "supermarket music" for coding. Doesn't get too distracting, and always very uplifting.
  • Jacques Loussier Trio: Damn good jazz versions of classical music such as Ravel's Bolero et al. Does great versions of Satie's Gymnopaedie (is that the plural?) as well.
  • Bis: Great to bounce to on a late-night coding binge.
  • The Cardiacs: Not for the faint hearted. Mayhem, can be very distracting if it's "not your thing". Recommend getting a sampler CD or something before you splash out on albums and stuff. But also fires something in me which makes it (a) impossible to sing along to, and (b) highly creative in the ideas department. Drives my wife mad.
  • Pink Floyd: "Dark Side Of The Moon", "Wish You Were Here", and "Meddle" being favourites - but mostly "Wish you..." mainly because I keep on forgetting to take it home from work ;)
  • Chumbawamba: NOT "Tubthumping", but the earlier stuff like "Anarchy" and "Sssh!".
  • Shit Pop: stuff like S Club 7, B*Witched, Steps and suchlike. Sing-along happy-go-lucky tunes which annoy the f*ck out of the rest of the office.
  • Other little bits in no particular order: Shania Twain; Bernstein (especially "Rhapsody in Blue" and "Overture from Girl Crazy"); Jamiroquai; some Elvis Costello; Andy Williams; Burt Bacharach; Cardigans; Levellers; Pet Shop Boys...
That's it basically. I guess it depends on your point of view and what makes you creative. About the only things which don't make me happy music-wise are leaky earphones from the bloke next to me wearing the Walkman, and hardcore happy house and all that crap. OK, call me old. I'm not, I'm 25. ;)


(Happily going through the CD collection now!)

silence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609589)

The only companion to doing good work.
Seriously, I can't do anything (as well) with music in the background. It tends to distract you even without you noticing it.

Check yourselves for these signs :
- tqpping with your feet to the beat
- humming
- singing along quietly (or even out loud)

Anyone claiming this doesn't take processing cycles away from your brain's capacity is an outright fool.

The problem is people are brought up to always hear music in the background, everywhere you walk there's almost always some sort of music coming out of the walls. And when we enter a quiet zone we are shocked by the soundvoid. We get scared because we don't hear anything, and we put on music to sooth ourselves. But still, it IS distracting.

Light dance music (mozart, klf, etc) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609590)

I love a variety of music. When coding, "heavy" music prevents me from getting any work done. Doesn't matter the genre. Maybe its coz I'm a mental flyweight. Whatever. I put on country, classical, rap, 60's rock and rythm'n'blues, and enjoy them all, but it has to not be too demanding. I find classical is overal best though. Haydn, Mozart, Bach, Beethoven. They turbocharge my braincells in a way that lets me work. The others get me worked up, but wound into such a not I can't do any work. SirDibos

Switch it up... (1)

crbill (47952) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609591)

I find that a mix of nothing more than Tool, Primus, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, and Cake makes for excellent programming music... All of these groups have heavy basslines, but their styles are different enough so that I don't get bored.

Re:Britney! (2)

MinusOne (4145) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609592)

You know, I have alot of respect for someone who is willing to admit to liking pop stuff on a forum full of opinionated non-pop people like /. I agree - musical taste is something that is incredibly personal. If you like Britney, more power to you, just don't insist that I like it too. In return, I won't insist that you like the Butthole Surfers :-)
As long as you write good code, it really doesn't matter what you listen too. Its all about what makes you happy, and what inspires you to greater heights of creativity.

Eric Geyer

Re:Depeche Mode (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609593)

Funny, I have the Depeche Mode Singles: 86-98 CD in right now. Depeche Mode, trance (esp. Hallucinogen and Man With No Name), the Pi soundtrack, Rammstein, The Sisters of Mercy, Kraftwerk, The Doors, Bach, Wagner, Beethoven, Vivaldi, a Soviet Army Chorus and Band CD, miscellaneous '80s stuff (Bananarama, The Romantics, The Police, Eurythmics, etc), U2, REM, The Cure, Bauhaus, ethnic music (esp. East Indian, Middle Eastern, and Russian), pre-Load Metallica, Iron Maiden, Dead Can Dance, Front Line Assembly, Front 242, and Joy Division. There's just too much good music out there.

Not a coward, just lazy:

Perl Music (1)

Darchmare (5387) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609594)

Sister Machine Gun (, Nine Inch Nails, Die Warzau, Live, KMFDM, Pig, etc. etc. are all good Perl coding bands/groups.

Nothing like a little SMG '[R]evolution' to get you in the mood to debug.

- Darchmare
- Axis Mutatis,

NPR (2)

Lucius Lucanius (61758) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609595)

You could widen the question to "What do you listen to?", instead of focusing on music. At my recent cubicle job, I used to listen to NPR just about constantly, because their programs are just so good. (see [] ). This has two advantages:

1) NPR programs are very in-depth and geeky, focusing on everything from sociology to interviews with Nobel winners (don't forget Science Friday, with its delightful coverage that perfectly caps the last weekday at work).

2) It drowns out the cubicle chatter of your co-workers. Mine were pretty inane, and keeping the headphones on served a dual purpose....

I think NPR is pretty much the only quality station around on FM.

A couple of other points - normally I've found FM reception in cubicles to be really bad, probably due to electromagnetic interference. Any way around this? AM sucks even more, I think.

Also, while driving around, my pref. choice is still NPR, but I sometimes tune in to AM stations to listen to the chatter. For some reason, a lot of AM stations tend to air sensational right wing stuff, but it's amusing to listen to (not to mention giving an insight into the Rush Limbaugh fans at work).

I also like it that NPR's web site archives stuff on Real Audio, which makes it really fun for searching and listening to whatever you feel like. I guess it's the precursor to video-on-demand, and though I like what I hear, for some reason, it still doesn't have the appeal of fresh live broadcast.


Re:Why, any music without understandable words (1)

Siva (6132) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609596)

Nirvanna counts in this respect, too. Can YOU understand their lyrics? I sure can't. :)

certainly! but i guess it helps that i like to sing along a lot...CERTAINLY NOT in front of anyone though! :)


Keyboard not found.

80's Techno, anyone? (1)

ToastyKen (10169) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609597)

This reminds me that I wish I had more 80's Techno. You know, stuff that sounds like the music in those demos and stuff. Preferably the stuff that sounds as European as possible. :)

Anyway, can anyone recommend any bands? I mean, all I can find on CDNow and stuff are the 90's electronica/techno stuff. I have no clue what techno bands were around and good bain the, say, early-mid (or even late) 80's. I'd love for someone to help me find some.


Delerium and friends. (1)

Niac (2101) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609598)

As for myself, I listen to delerium and other trancy techno bits. It just gets me into that 'I'm gonna code something grand' mood.

I don't know, it works for me. *shrugs*

Sarah McLachlan is nice too....but that's more 'read slashdot' music... :-P

Primussucks! (1)

NapalmCheese (37044) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609599)

Primus is good creative music to code by, though of course Coal Chamber, Korn, Straight Faced, Union 13, Rage Against the Machine, Deftones and Bjork are not bad choices either.

put the dish on "EuroStyle" then get in the groove (1)

Achates (7572) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609600)

Granted I'm not much of a coder but this stuff always makes me want to move around.. and the more im hyper the longer im gonna stay up doing whatever it is that im doing.. wether that is trying to unravel some code or trying to learn how to code.. which is what im doing anyway.. :)

by the way.. i have dish network so euro style is the name.. and its anything from house to techno and some stops inbetween with trance and the like.. its good stuff.. :)


-sig goes here

Progressive Trance (1)

SPiKe (19306) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609601)

DJ Tiesto's spinning (and certain other things) have changed my life and my coding.... I have access to both emotional/sensual spheres and logical thought better when I'm listening to progressive tranc-e type music. As an added bonus, logical thought has helped me drop beats better too...

just my thoughts.

Music? (4)

Yarn (75) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609602)

I just cat my source to the sound card!

cat somelameproject/*.c > /dev/audio


It doesnt last very long tho'

Re:All sorts of stuff . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609603)

WOW... Depeche Mode, Styx, AND Jackson Browne. i cower from anybody who owns an album from one of these artists, but all three combined? i now know what true fear is. let us pray for your soul.

Re:None (1)

MinusOne (4145) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609604)

> Effective coding requires intense concentration.

Yeah, but for a very long time I worked in a noisy office with few barriers between people's workspaces. I would pick up whatever conversation was going on nearby, and that would destroy whatever concentration I had. What worked best for me for intense conversation was music I liked so much that I had listened to it a zillion times. It formed a background I could both absorb and ignore, while it silenced all the external distractions. Some CDs I could get all the way through without really hearing at all, which was perfect for what I was looking for.

Eric Geyer

Re:The Pixies (1)

SPiKe (19306) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609605)

I am definitely way stoked off the Pixies. Frank Black is truly off-the-wall king. Though my love of the Pixies has been superc3eded by elctronic music in general.

classic prog rock (1)

dubmills (42455) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609606)

The Who.
Led Zeppelin.
King Crimson.
Pink Floyd.

Artists and albums that discourage the swapping of CDs because it would feel nearly criminal to disrupt the story/mood the album develops as a whole.

Particularly Dark Side, The Wall, and Wish you were Here.

Man that's great music

Absolutley no other possibility! (1)

MinusOne (4145) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609607)


Re:Eclectic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609608)

For relentless don't-stop-now energy: Mighty Mighty BossTones, Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden, Goodness, old Pearl Jam, Hole

For think-it-through calm: the Akira soundtrack, The The, Barenaked Ladies, Sisters of Mercy, Tori Amos, Crash Test Dummies, Art of Noise, Enya

Haven't decided (but I like it): the Six-String Samurai soundtrack (gotta love that Russian surfabilly), They Might Be Giants, Oingo Boingo

Are these suitably eclectic?

Nothing beats free music to do free code (1)

Knos (30446) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609609)

the music scene rules:

there's no greetings order

  • ageema blues & blacksista http [] http2 []
  • blacktron http []
  • brothomStates http []
  • five musicians http []
  • kosmic http []
  • level-d http []
  • maniacs of noise http []
  • milk http []
  • mono211/monotonik. http []
  • mo'playaz http []
  • n.o.i.s.e http []
  • Tokyo Dawn Records http []
  • sunlikamelo-d http []
  • theralite http []
  • vibrants http []
  • ...

don't forget the very good individuals, they are too many too list... check []

get active...

Re:Metal/Industrial/Synthpop/Gothic and a bit clas (1)

zuvembi (30889) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609610)

Mmmm, Matrix Soundtrack is pretty good. In fact most of your selections look really good. I've also taking to listening to Propellerheads, Disposable Heroes of HipHoprisy, and some Einsturzende Neubauten. Basically anything the wife detests seems to be good coding music...

Dance music (1)

vlax (1809) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609611)

Mostly techno and house stuff, a lot of it early 90's stuff from my days as a purple-haired, multiply-pierced, chain smoking, French grad student. Yes, I code while listening to the kind of Eurotrash any self respecting geek ought to be embarassed by. Snap, Captain Hollywood Project, Amber, La Bouche, KLF, Technotronics... it's awful I know. It just works, what can I say?

Otherwise, a lot of 80's dance stuff - Bananarama, Corey Hart, Men without Hats, Berlin (anybody here besides me remember Berlin's "The Metro"?), Blondie, Prince (before you needed Unicode to write his name), among others.

I do listen to other kinds of music - French bands, classics, old punk, mushy 80's stuff that makes me all nostalgic, even some grunge. And some contemporary pop. But it does me no good when I code. If it doesn't have a beat, it does me no good at work.

Re:None (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609612)

Too many open-air headphones around these days. I shopped around until I found these big fsckers I just can't hear anything through. I barely notice my own phone. My best investment ever - I'd forego my split keyboard + Cirque touchpad before I'd give up those headphones.

Re:depends on what I'm writing (1)

alfredo (18243) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609613)

John Adams, Portishead, Jonatha Brooke, Iva Bittova, Cassandra Wilson, Sting, Zakir Hussien, whatever I can find under the stacks of crap on my desk.

Rhythm is Everything (1)

antizeus (47491) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609614)

I like music with nice complex rhythms. This serves to energize my brain without distracting it. Or perhaps it distracts those parts which need distracting. There can be vocals and melody, but they should not be dominant as that would distract the wrong parts of my brain.

Some favorite examples include Frank Zappa, Phish, Metallica, Rush. Although some of the more vocal-oriented Zappa is overly distracting.

Janis Joplin, Village People, Tricky... (1)

mikaelhg (47691) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609615)

Sonny Phillips creates a wonderful evening coding mood for our team, Trip Hop drives me on when the memory gets corrupted, it's nice to start the morning with Finnish pop like Eppu Normaali etc...

Re:Why, any music without understandable words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609616)

A friend of mine pointed out you could sing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" repeating just one lyric:

mashed potato,

and it'd make as much sense. I can't hear it any more without thinking of that, and now I'll bet you can't either. :-)


xHost (93751) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609617)

As preious posts have noted, it does come down to personal preference and also I think the area in which you live in since events/friends partly dictate what you listen to as well.

Nowadays, when I'm coding I love listening to "trance", club or house mixes, or just plain old techno. I just feel that Rock and Pop have pretty much outlived its welcome and has gotten very, very stale. After listening to the same thing over and over again, you really do need a break.

Another thing about techno or trance music is that since its rooted in raving (15+ hour long dances), it does in a way help you keep up and wanting to move in some manner. OTOH, I may have just popped too much E ; )

Anyway, if anybody wants to go give this genre a try, I suggest:

Paul Van Dyk (almost everything)

Amokk (especially "666")

The Crystal Method

ATB (if "9pm" doesn't get you going, nothing will)

Fatboy Slim House Mixes

Ian Ossia

Da Klubb Kings

John Debo

John Wink

and of couse, then Vengaboys ; )

As a quick note, try to listen to the originals before the listening to the remixes, IMHO there are some horrible remixes out there.

also check out: news:// []
Enjoy !

Try Wagner and Napster (1)

warmcat (3545) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609618)

If you have never tried listening to Opera, give it a go. Wagner's Ring Cycle, normally written off because of its extreme length, is perfect for long coding sessions.

If you have not met Napster, give it a try at They are working on a _nix port, but at the moment it requires Windows. They claim to have had 13 Terabytes of searchable MP3s available at one point. This kind of self-aggregating searchable democracy is the future for all media forms. Hooray!

Napster also has a feature where you can list the directory of another user's MP3s; this is really powerful if you find a user with a song you like, you can find out what else he or she likes and try that out.

That guy who listened to NPR, it is very good (although a pale imitation of the BBC's Radio 4); but I find it impossible to concentrate on speech while writing or designing code. Trying to split my attention like that sets my teeth on edge and makes purple veins come out on my head.


typically yard stuff (2)

coaxial (28297) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609619)

My CD collection at work tends to consists of

Nine Inch Nails
Marilyn Manson
Rage Against The Machine
Stabbing Westward

Also appearing:

Violent Femmes
Revrend Horton Heat
Chemical Brothers
Local H

And of course: "Space Ghost's Musical BBQ" and "Space Ghost's Surf and Turf" :)

I like... (1)

moonboy (2512) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609620)

Classical, Enya, Enigma, etc. If it is harder and/or faster (especially with words), I can't concentrate. I believe I'm correct when I say that studies have been done relating the listening of classical music while working to enhanced creativity. Makes sense. It always helped me while studying in school.


"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein

Sublime! (and other eclectic stuff) (1)

cjsnell (5825) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609621)

We have a huge 80Gb mp3 file storage at work. It's a box with a big RAID array running NFS and Samba. Unofficial, of course. :)

When I'm writing Perl all day, I like to crank up my Sublime bootlegs (all mp3) in my headphones. My favorite coding music is the version of "40oz to Freedom" off the "Contact Buzz" cd. That, and "I Love My Dog" off of the same disc. You can't beat the reggae groove bassline for coding. Sometimes I even kinda dance a little bit in my chair while I'm listening to it. :-)

Other favorites while working are:

The Samples (check out my The Samples mp3 archive! [] )

1960s and 1970s country music. ("Foggy Mountain Breakdown" by Lester Flatt and Earl Skruggs, "Coal Miner's Daughter" by Loretta Lynn, and, of course, "East Bound and Down" which is the theme to Smokey and the Bandit. I forget the guys name...)

Dwight Yoakam (the "LIVE" cd or anything off of "Just Looking For a Hit")

Ben Harper (any of his cds)

Robert Earl Keen (each and everyone one of his CDs!)

Spearhead ("Home")


Jimi Hendrix

Too $hort

Snoop Doggy Dogg

The Ziggens

Afro Cuban All-Stars


Lots of rare Dave Matthews

Guy Clark

Jimmy Buffett

Toots and the Maytals

Rusted Root

Frank Sinatra (my current musical "kick")

and of course, Elvis

Nope, I'm not eclectic at all. :-)

Situation Dependent (1)

Pope Slackman (13727) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609622)


Racing to meet a deadline:
Front 242
(other fast, aggressive metal/industrial.)

Low octane hacking:
No Use For A Name
80's hair metal

Playing with code:
Jimmy Buffet
Garth Brooks
The Orb

This is by no means absolute.



xHost (93751) | more than 14 years ago | (#1609623)

For the life of me I cannot believe I forgot to include:




Forgive me lord for I have sinned ; )

anything which'll take me there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1609624)

Mostly minimal 4/4 monotonic techno banging. Word.

Curse [] at

Christian Bloch [] at

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