1. simina
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    simina Senior Member

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    Can you read or write while listening to music?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by simina, Jul 15, 2012.

    I'm just wondering. Most people seem to be able to? I can never read or write anything that requires any sort of brainpower if I'm listening to music - it's too consuming.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No music. The TV can be on, people can be talking at me (as long as they don't expect a response), but music is too damned distracting. So is silence,
     
  3. NumberOneChin
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    NumberOneChin New Member

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    I always listen to music whilst writing, but never whilst reading a book. I find music distracting if I'm reading something because I'll often have to read things a couple of times to register what's being said. Oddly, I still listen to music whilst reading back my own work... I honestly don't know why. It might well be laziness.
     
  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I can, but it largely depends. When writing an essay I don't like to listen to music. I like to be fully focused on what I'm trying to say and argue. When writing a first draft of something that isn't absolutely important to me I do listen to music, and even then I like songs that 1) I know very well, or 2) does not have lyrics. Mostly stuff like Eric Johnson, Classical music and Jazz do I have on.
     
  5. simina
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    simina Senior Member

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    Cogito, haha good point. Silence can be weirdly distracting. I like it best if there's some sort of white noise - like a fan or something.

    NumberOneChin, yeah I definitely feel the same way when I'm reading a book. But even when I'm writing, the words just don't come to me as easily if I have music in the background - they often don't come at all.

    Lemex, that's interesting. On the rare occasions that I do listen to music, it's usually something that I'm not very familiar with. Because if I know it really well, I like to anticipate my favorite parts, so it becomes a really active process. I agree about lyrics being an absolute no-no.
     
  6. Steph4136
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    Steph4136 Senior Member

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    No, I can't listen to music while I'm trying to write, I always end up paying more attention to the music than what I'm working on. I can have the TV on for some background noise, but not a show I'm interested in. Usually I just have nothing on in the background so I can focus. I have two small children so silence is a blessed thing sometimes.
     
  7. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    It used to be a requirement for me -- I HAD to have music on if I was reading or writing. However, since becoming a parent, I have a newfound deep appreciation for silence that I hadn't previously possessed.

    I can write either way. I sometimes listen to headphones if I'm someplace where I don't want to be distracted, but it's no longer a requirement for me.
     
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  8. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    I can listen to music while I write. In fact, I like to. Mostly instrumental or orchestral music which suits the scene I'm writing. But I can do it with music with words too. I don't like it when things are too silent :3
     
  9. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nope, I can't. It'd be way too distracting.

    Besides, when I listen to music I often get the impulse to pick up my guitar & play. I'd never finish reading/writing anything. ;)
     
  10. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    Always. It is the only way I can focus and really work. Yeah for orchestrated movie soundtracks. :D

    - Darkkin
     
  11. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This. I can't listen to music either without grabbing my guitar and playing. Music just isn't that ignorable to me.

    Also, the rhythms of the music tend to interfere with the rhythms of my prose, and I HATE that. I can't understand how other writers can stand it.

    Silence is best for me. I love silence.
     
  12. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I have a special writing playlist in iTunes. It consists of classical pieces and music from soundtracks -- nothing with lyrics.

    As for listening to music whilst reading... I can, but I tend to go mad trying to get music to fit to what I'm reading. When it does match, it's rather brilliant though, the best example coming immediately to mind being Chris Wooding's Black Lung Captain and Mumford & Sons' album Sigh No More.
     
  13. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    Exactly. I'm a musician first and writer second. If I hear music I like, I'm inspired to play, not write; and if I don't like the music, it's going to be a distraction, in all likelihood.
     
  14. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    I definitely can't read while listening to music. It's too distracting and I want to be completely absorbed.

    Sometimes I can listen to music while writing, usually to get me in the mood of the piece and fired up. Although I tend to zone out once I get into writing.
     
  15. simina
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    simina Senior Member

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    Hmm interesting responses.
    I think minstrel brings up a really good point. Writing has a certain rhythm so experiencing a contrary rhythm simultaneously is really irritating. I think that's my main problem - it's much easier to listen to music that doesn't have a very intrusive rhythm, like ambient or drone. . . but those tend to set an (eerie) atmosphere which I'm scared could unintentionally enter into my writing. Does anyone else feel that outside ambiance could work its way into text? Or is that just silly. . ?
     
  16. El Chacal
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    El Chacal New Member

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    There's nothing like some good old fashioned Norwegian Black Metal to get my creative juices flowing.
     
  17. Mikael
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    Mikael New Member

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    I used to, but I found silence to be the better choice for me. While listening to music I could come up with a few really good lines derived from the muse I got. Silence, on the other hand, made me create a better flow to the writing.

    Even though I don't usually listen to music while writing, I have developed sort of a ritual before my sessions. I listen through a whole album while lying in bed and just stare at the roof or close my eyes. It really gets my blood pumping and I can think of good scenarios for my writing. It's actually very comforting, especially if I've had a stressful day. It makes me very relaxed before I get to work.

    Sometimes though, when the silence becomes unbearable, I put on classical music. It is lovely and I don't get too distracted.

    @El Chacal: I'm from Norway, but I prefer Swedish black/death/progressive metal over the Norwegian bands^^
     
  18. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    It's dependant on my mood but I think I write better without. I get distracted fairly easily so I like to be alone but I'll jot down ideas or little scenes while watching TV or listening to music.
     
  19. Iron Orchid
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    Iron Orchid Member

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    I find that I am way more distracted by silence, there's a weird part of my brain that has to be subconsciously listening to something, or it will make up something to listen to and intrude on my writing.

    On the flip side, I also do get distracted by music, but only at times when my writing wouldn't be of best quality because I am able to ignore everything when I'm writing at full pelt and really into what I'm doing, and that's when the quality stuff usually comes out for me.
     
  20. MistKestrel
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    MistKestrel Member

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    I find music very inspitrational when I'm writing, it gives me new ideas. Although I hate it when I'm reading, because it just distracts me.
     
  21. Citizen Gallagher
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    Citizen Gallagher Member

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    I find silence far too distracting. I become very sensitive to every random noise (cars, voices of people outside, dogs barking etc.) so I have a Rock radio station on all day (Manchester's Real XS, if anyone's interested), which plays Rock/Metal music, and my concentration on what I'm doing becomes enhanced.
     
  22. Whiskey Jack
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    Whiskey Jack New Member

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    I am the same way. In fact, often listening to a song may inspire a scene of some kind and then I have to have it playing (usually on a loop) while I hammer something out. However, if I'm trying to tighten something up I usually have to put on something instrumental or something that otherwise doesn't require my attention. Background noise. Silence is always far more distracting.
     
  23. Lydia
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    Lydia Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depends on what I'm reading/writing. If it's something that I need all my attention for, then I definitely can't use music. When I'm really into it I don't mind listening to some tunes. I must say though that I find it easier to write with music than to read while listening to music.
     
  24. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Sometimes music can actually spark a scene in my story. Other times it's distracting and I have to turn it off.
    Same thing with watching t.v. and writing at the same time - one time I found myself typing what the actors were saying!
     
  25. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    On the contrary, I often cannot focus without some sort of background noise. I almost always have music on in the background.

    TV however distracts me - I always end up watching it.

    I find libraries distracting - too much silence, too uncomfortable. I need a certain quiet kinda buzz, like people moving about, some kind of noise, someone walking around in the kitchen etc.
     

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