Music while coding?



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Posted by: stak
Tags: mozilla
Posted on: 2012-06-08 11:45:58

I was reading Peopleware (excellent book, everybody in the software business should read it) and I found this particularly surprising:

During the 1960s, researchers at Cornell University conducted a series of tests on the effects of working with music. ... To no one's surprise, participants in the two rooms [silent room and room with earphones+music] performed about the same in speed and accuracy of programming. ...

The Cornell experiment, however, contained a hidden wild card. The specification required that an output data stream be formed through a series of manipulations on numbers in the input data stream. ... Although the specification never said it, the net effect of all the operations was that each output number was necessarily equal to its input number. Some people realized this and others did not. Of those who figured it out, the overwhelming majority came from the quiet room.

Many of the everyday tasks performed by professional workers are done in the serial processing center of the left brain. Music will not interfere particularly with this work, since it's the brain's holistic right side that digests music. But not all of the work is centered in the left brain. ... The creative leap involves right-brain function. If the right brain is busy listening to 1001 Strings on Muzak, the opportunity for a creative leap is lost.


What do you think? Do you like listening to music while coding? Do you find it affects your creativity and/or productivity?

Posted by Dave at 2012-06-08 12:33:20
I find it's important to turn off the music if you know you are doing something that will require great conceptual leaps and intense concentration. But I usually find this doesn't come up except in programming contests...
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Posted by Chris Ilias at 2012-06-08 14:10:53
I think it depends on what type of music. For instance, I've heard that Baroque music helps focus and improves your ability to learn.
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Posted by Axel Hecht at 2012-06-08 16:17:33
I love listening to music, which for me implies that I'm then stuck to listening to music. I can hardly type when doing that.

OTH, when the typing work I gotta do is painfully boring, I occasionally ease the pain with music.

(couldn't do the human verification math with music on)
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Posted by dbcooper at 2012-06-08 17:06:47
I've found that the "Music for Programming" mixes are actually pretty good.

http://musicforprogramming.net/
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Posted by Chris at 2012-06-08 22:22:56
I can't focus when listening to music. I usually wear my noise-cancelling headphones, but sometimes I listen to ambient music because it's relaxing and can boost the spirit.
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Posted by Ian Thomas at 2012-06-09 08:26:08
I listen to music as a way of drowning out other noise, particularly conversations going on around me that I don't need to be part of.

It's got the side affect of making me less approachable, which is unfortunate but a price worth paying for being able to concentrate.
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Posted by Anonymous Coward at 2012-06-11 09:29:44
Sounds right to me. I find that I have to stop listening to music when I actually have to think about the programming task in hand; otherwise, music is very positive company!
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Posted by Marcus at 2012-06-12 08:19:02
Fuck off, I'm swedish!
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Posted by Shubham at 2012-06-15 21:23:03
I usually listen to music while coding since it helps me focus and wash away anything else that might be going on in my mind. Sometimes, when I am understanding something new, I have to take off my headphones but otherwise, I have no trouble in programming while listening to music.
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Posted by Anonymous at 2012-06-16 21:34:53
Music helps me relax and get re freshened but I don't prefer it work since it seems to be distracting
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Posted by leper at 2012-09-25 01:59:45
i like listenening some refined types of dubstep sequences, it helps keep my fingers with its strict instrumental computer generated clock on par and at the same time catch some creativity if i do myself. look it up lol, but im young around just 18 but im "hardcore programming with linux, assembler, and C"(neh not really, just making stupid programs) but that just my take and qualifer, }






-C++ in Cantonese is pronounced "C ga ga". Need I say more? (Mark Glewwe)
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