I sat down to write something today, put on some music as always, then got to thinking about what to write about. I couldn’t really think of a topic, but then I glanced to the playlist displayed on my second monitor. “There’s a perfectly good topic right there,” I said to myself. When I write, there are particular kinds of music I gravitate toward, which is what we’ll be discussing here.

Not all music is suited to listening to while working. I find vocals can be distracting, especially when it’s a song that I know the words to. I love me some metal, but songs that are too aggressive are no good for helping to block out distractions as they are themselves distracting. So what do I listen to while working.

Video Game Soundtracks

I think most of us can agree that games frequently have great soundtracks. Be it feel good chiptunes or epic orchestral arrangements, I find a good video game soundtrack really helps me focus. I first discovered this back in high school after Halo 3 came out. The Halo games were some of the first too really make me truly appreciate game soundtracks as amazing works of art in their own right, apart from the games they are a part of, especially the third in the series as it was the first to feature a live orchestra. Marty O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori’s compositions for these games are truly inspiring. The soundtracks for the first three games are among the first music from games I purchased to listen to, and I quickly discovered that throwing them on while I worked on homework really helped me to concentrate. Although I’ve expanded the library of game soundtracks I listen to while working, I still throw on Halo music the most frequently of them all. The Legend of Zelda is a close second, though.


Covers of Video Game Songs

While similar to the previous category, sometimes I just want to listen to other artists interpretations of video game sounds in various styles of music instead of the originals. From intricate metal arrangements, to chilled out acoustic guitar jams, to some swingin’ jazz, to ambient electronic atmospheres, it’s cool to see the ways people reimagine the songs of video games. Some of my favorite cover artists are FamilyJules, RichaadEB, Ro Panuganti, ToxicxEternity, Ace Waters, and insaneintherainmusic.

Instrumental Progressive Rock/Metal

In recent years, one of my favorite genres of music has become instrumental prog rock and metal. Artists like Plini, Intervals, Animals as Leaders, Ployphia, and Scale the Summit I’ve found are amazing to listen to while working, and these days I probably throw this sort of music on while I work more than anything else. Instrumental progressive music has this certain vibe to it that just sucks me into it, blocking out all other distractions, while also not being distracting itself. Of all the artists in this category that I listen to on the regular, Plini is by far my favorite. Something about his guitar playing is just so magical. I don’t even know how to put it into words. He’s definitely one of my top favorites across all types of music, plus his compositions are just really well suited to listening to while working.


So there you go, there’s a taste of what I listen to while I write articles here on TAY, or when I’m doing any other sort of work. I’d love to hear what music you listen to while you work, so feel free to share in the comments!

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DisturbedShadow is a fan of video games and heavy metal music. You can can find more of his writing here and you can follow him on Twitter @DisturbedShad0w.