2018/10 - List #2 : Programming music

Hi folks!

Today I'll be covering what kinds of programming music might help you to focus while programming and what kinds of music to avoid. In general I've found that the music's pacing doesn't matter that much, it's the cognitive load on your brain that matters. So if you unconciously have to decode a message coming from the song, it'll just distract you. On the other hand, you'll want something that is still capable of blocking out surrounding sounds or distractions, so it's unsurprising that most of the programming music mix tracks sounds exactly like what I've just described. So basically avoid music with vocals and you should be fine! And try to experiment a little. Music can get repetitive if you're using the same tracks constantly for the same objective every single day, so mix things up and search for new tunes when your old ones get too stale. And if you find some particularly good ones, let me know and I'll add them to this list. I have a feeling that this post will be used by myself for years and years to come when I need some awesome tunes to code to...


Modern videogame tracks seem to work well for most folks. Some of the more retro ones (Final Fantasy 7/8/9 come to mind) might work for you too, but the ones I've listed below would work for just about anyone:

Half Life


Half Life CP Violation Remix

Half Life Sector Sweep Remix

Yell Dead Cell

Mortal Kombat Reptile Theme

Le Castle Vania

Skrillex Reptile Theme (Don't judge me)

Furious Angels (The Matrix)

Shooting Spree (More Matrix stuff)

Half Life Vortal Combat

Black Mesa - Forget About Freeman (Technically contains vocals, but they indescripherable)

Black Mesa - We've Got Hostiles

Half Life - Apprehension and Invasion

Streets of Rage 1 - OST (If you like chiptune, check out the "Attack of the Barbarian" and "Big Boss" tracks)


These are more chilled beats:

Persona 5 coffee house tune

Chilled out Persona 5 mix

Lofi HipHop - Heavy Rain

Lofi HipHop - City Rain

Chilld Cows "Beats to relax/study to"

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion


This next set are specific to programming, or just something I've found that works for me. Your mileage may vary:

Concentration Music For Programmers 1

Concentration Music For Programmers 2 (I have used this one for years. It's still my favourite)

Deus Ex

Trent Reznor And Atticus Ross: The Social Network soundtrack


Most of this mix of dubstep and nightclub music is good too. It only really works for me if I've had a coffee or two and I'll only be in the coffee shop for a couple of hours. If not, most of the fast pacing is just distracting. I would use Doom 2016's soundtrack the same way I would use this one, fairly sparingly unless I would working hard/fast in a short amount of time. Fil Far and Warren010h are good channels too, definitely worth checking out if you delve further into programming, or just find it useful in your day-to-day work. Classical music can be a bit hit-and-miss for me, but again your mileage may vary.