Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tunes for writing or studying

Follow-up on yesterday's post about Taiwanese bands. This one's about music to study to, or write to. Today's students use personal computers that have sophisticated entertainment functionality built in, and, as natural multitaskers, will use iTunes or similar programs to listen to music or other audio feeds while they work on papers or other research.

Personally, I like to listen to music when writing or studying as well. But not any music will do.

Pop songs, folk, jazz, rap, don't work. It either distracts or jars me. Ditto for dance or house -- the beat or arrangements pull me in, and I lose my train of thought. KLF and Jamiroquai are in my mp3 collection, but I almost never play them when I am trying to get serious work done.

I've found piano or classical guitar is good ... works performed by Narciso Yepes and Mikhail Pletniv are in my playlist.

Rock music is harder to listen to. Weezer? Lenny Kravitz? No way. Too many hooks. Ditto for most classic rock I have on disc.

What does work in the rock pantheon? I'm able to listen to Tool -- any of their first three albums -- and really get a lot of work done. It's long, kind of mathematical, yet alternates between quiet and loud, hard and ethereal. Nine Inch Nails, too, except for the stuff with hooks (Starf'ers Incorporated, etc.). Some Pavement as well. Mandarin or Taiwanese songs are good, because it's easy to tune out the lyrics (if you are a native English speaker, that is).

iTunes has a very good streaming radio feature that even works with dial-up modem, if you select the low-bandwidth streams. I prefer Radioiorock but there are lots of other good streams out there -- unfortunately, not too many foreign language streams.

Anyone else have good tunes to study by?

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