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What is your Music to Code By?

Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee

My brain won't allow me to listen to most music when coding because I automatically focus on the music, not the code. The only kind of music that works for me is music that has a repeating percussive pattern. But here's how sensitive I am. This piece by Ha Hui (Crying Ospreys) has that repeating pattern, but it's 5 beats to the measure, and that makes it interesting to me, so I focus on the song, not my code.

This piece by Steve Reich (Music for 18 Musicians), however, is perfect. It has repetitive percussive patterns and changes gradually over time. And it last about an hour. It's the perfect background music for me when I code.

How about you? What kind of music do you like playing in the background when you code?


9 Replies 9

Paul Zimmerman
Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee

Ah good stuff, @npetrele !! I love to listen to concerts by my favorite bands... a long form type of thing, so I don't have to change up the playlist while I'm working. Here's the Cure from one of their recent (and LONG) shows!

Yeah, I can listen to Dixie Dregs or Steve Morse Band playlists, mostly because every note is committed to memory, so I can keep my focus on coding. Sometimes, though, I realize I was coding through my favorite lick, so I have to rewind and listen to it. 

Alex Stevenson
Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee

I can relate to this : )

I usually opt for something instrumental or with standard, repeating vocals, like the first one you shared, which is magical. Ones of the second type you shared, where it changes up, work for me sometimes too, especially if it's going to be a longer coding session.

Yes, instrumental is my go-to. Like I said to Paul, I go with Dixie Dregs or Steve Morse Band. Instrumental jazz works, too.

Sean Dahlberg
Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee

For me, it changes a bit based on the task. If it is something I need to do some real problem-solving, it is usually some LoFi. I find it easier to concentrate when there are no vocals but a good beat. The one I was listening to earlier was:

But, when it is something I just need to rock through, I listen to.. well, hard rock! My latest playlist is comprised of the following artists:

  • Five Finger Death Punch
  • Otep
  • Slipknot
  • Tool
  • Coheed & Cambria
  • Nonpoint
  • Stone Sour
  • Metallica

Hey, I really like that lofi -- never heard of it. Thanks for the intro.

This isn't what I would listen to while coding, and it's not even a song I like, but I **LOVE** this music video. It somehow combines cuteness (kawaii) with skulls, bones, eyeballs, toast, a duck wearing a crown made of rifle cartridges, brains, barbie dolls, and even Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Oh, and I forgot the colorful fart. That's original.

Ray Stephenson
Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee

This incredibly jazz playlist based on the vinyl collection of Japanese author Haruki Murakami who owned a jazz club prior to becoming an international best selling author of fiction (mostly mystical realism) about all kinds of things. 


Mine  is lofi and groove by French kiwi juice a.k.a FKJ, every time I code or write technical blogs the music bring me in flow state,i can work 4 to 6 hours sometimes 10 alone in a room.





Network automation,Python,Linux


The best music for coding varies from person to person. It can be instrumental, electronic, or even your personal favorite. It should help you focus and boost your productivity while coding. Experiment to find what works best for you. There are also specialized playlists and websites designed for coding music.

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