Annotated iTunes No. 2: Sounds of Studying

Posted by Whit Barringer , Thursday, November 04, 2010 1:14 AM

I almost always listen to music while I work. It breaks the silence and blocks out white noise. If I'm alone, it makes me feel not so. If I can't get away from other people, it makes me feel not so crowded. It's the best aid I've found for my wandering focus (that gets worse whenever I'm near anything electronic).

I have many study playlists in my iTunes that fit different needs. Only specific types of music go into each. Here are some incomplete lists of the artists I listen to (it would take me a helluva lot more time to write down everything) in certain scenarios. My hope is that a) you'll see new music and b) be inspired to try adding some new music to your routine. If neither (a) or (b) happens, then I've still done another Wednesday post, and all is not lost.

1. Reading/Writing - Soft music without words.

Artist Examples: Arms and Sleepers, The American Dollar, Tycho, Boards of Canada, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Explosions in the Sky, Sparrows Swarm and Sing, Instrumental Soundtracks (e.g. Heavy Rain, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, The Incredibles, UP, ), anything covered by Vitamin String Quartet, Apocalyptica, and some classical music (Delius and Gerswhin make appearances).

Specific Songs: "Blue Orb" from W <3 Katamari.

2. Editing - Soft music with words.
Artist Examples: The Fray, Little Dragon, Iron & Wine, Fleet Foxes,

Specific Songs: "Tea Leaf Dancers" - Flying Lotus, "Aqueous Transmission" - Incubus, "Duvet" - Boa, "The Rat" - Dead Confederate, "Disintegration" - Lewis and Clarke (cover of The Cure).

3. Composing (gathering sources, outlining, etc) - a mix of soft/hard music without words.
Artist Examples (in addition to everything listed under #1): Flying Lotus, Loné.
Specific Songs: "Make Love" - Daft Punk.

4. Time Crunch - hard, fast, or trance-inducing music without words or with repetitive word sounds.
Artist Examples: Daft Punk, MSTRKRFT, Flying Lotus, Junk Culture.
Song Examples: "Pjanoo" - Eric Prydz, "The Falling" - Sparo.

5. Creative Work - a mix of genres that follows no particular rhyme or reason, but has a lot of intense creativity in the music (the philosophy being that that creativity inspires creativity).

Artist Examples: Broken Social Scene, Coheed and Cambria, Passion Pit, Florence + the Machine, Tokyo Police Club, Drive-By Truckers, Hold Steady, Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson, RJD2, Panic! at the Disco, Frou Frou, Imogen Heap, Radiohead, Phoenix, Sufjan Stevens, The Dear Hunter, The Wombats, The Felice Brothers, Mos Def, Matchbox Twenty.

Specific Songs: "Kingdom of Rust" - Doves.

6. Repetitive Mindless Work - Set to random and hope for the best.

2 Response to "Annotated iTunes No. 2: Sounds of Studying"

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