Music to Read By

By FPL_John

Someone recently asked me what kind of music I like, and I realized that I like different music depending on what I’m doing. For example, I like Trance music when I read. Artists like Schiller, Amethystium, Conjure One, OceanLab, and Black Mill are some of my favorites. I really enjoy the upbeat rhythms.

So that made me wonder what kind of music my colleagues here at the library like to listen to when they read. I asked them, and here are their responses. I hadn’t heard of some of these genres, but they are all pretty great. Also, I found out that a lot of people don’t like music when they read. Fascinating...

I like listening to music by BTS when I read.

Not understanding Korean, in which most of the music is sung, helps my brain just focus on the melodies, flow, and beats and doesn't get in the way of the words I'm reading. With the music alternating between upbeat and slower melodies it keeps my mind active and helps me concentrate on what I'm reading.

I usually listen on Apple Music, but here's a link to one of my BTS Playlists on YouTube, opens a new window

My go-to is definitely Lo-fi since I love it so much. I do love vaporwave, videogame/movie soundtracks, jazz, and ambient music. ?? ?

So, I had to ask, “What’s vaporwave?”

The definition of it is that "vaporwave has more of electronic music and visual arts style that emerged in the early 2010s. As a musical genre, it evolved from Chillwave and Seapunk with influences from lounge music, elevator music, smooth jazz, and 1980s dance-pop."

Vaporwave example, opens a new window  (I time-stamped it since some songs do have lyrics since it revolves around 80's.)

Ambient music "is a genre of music that emphasizes tone and atmosphere over traditional musical structure or rhythm. It may lack net composition, beat, or structured melody. It uses textural layers of sound that can reward both passive and active listening and encourage a sense of calm or contemplation."

Ambient music example, opens a new window This one gives a very atmospheric vibe. I am more than happy to talk more about it! I love these types of genres of music. ❤️ ?

No music. Total silence. Shhhh....

I also don't listen to any music while I read.  ?

Wait... people listen to music when they read??? ?‍♂️

I also do not listen to music. Though I have been known to read to the background sound of football on TV. ?

I usually listen to Lo-fi (Chillhop on Youtube, opens a new window has great playlists), Soundtrack, and jazz.

I also like Trance-esq stuff and ambient music while I read! This has been my go-to lately, opens a new window.

I love listening to Lo-fi on YouTube when reading. These usually have a cute or cozy picture to go along with the music but isn't too distracting for me while reading. I also love cozy jazz instrumental music while reading.

This is the link for the cozy jazz instrumental music, opens a new window that I enjoy.

And here’s a link to a good Lo-fi station

I personally like really maximalist electronica (Hyperpop) for studying because it hypes me up! Arca, Sophie, Charli XCX, Lady Gaga, 100 Gecs, and Dorian Electra are artists on my Hyperpop playlist for studying. It may not be relaxing music, but it gets me going!

I look on Spotify for their official Hyperpop playlist. I have one of my own playlists as well.

When I am reading for pleasure, I like listening to piano covers of video game songs.

Here are some examples:

Zelda: Song of Storms Piano, opens a new window 

Undertale OST – MEGALOVANIA, opens a new window 

Lo-fi Study album on Amazon music and Lo-fi Focus playlist on Spotify are my favorites for when reading or studying.

I personally don't play music when I read. However, I do love reading outdoors or at a campsite and hearing the sounds of nature.

I love hearing the birds sing, the wind rustling the leaves on a tree, or reading by a creek where the water is passing over the rocks.

I usually listen to ambient music like Slow Meadow and Hammock or post-classical artists like Max Richter, Jon Hopkins, and Ólafur Arnalds. I like instrumental music that has a lot of emotion and tends towards the melancholy or wistful. Here's a mini playlist:

Borderland Sorrows by Slow Meadow

In the Shattering of Things by Hammock

Infra 5 by Max Richter

Immunity by Jon Hopkins

Epilogue by Ólafur Arnalds

Bossa Nova—aka Brazilian jazz—is my go-to for cooking, relaxing and reading.

I have a couple of Spotify playlists that I go between. One is a called "Classical Music for Reading" and it has a mix of traditional and contemporary music. Alexis Ffrench, opens a new window is probably my favorite composer on that playlist.

The other is Anime Piano Covers by Cato, which has a mix of Lo-fi stuff.

Miles Davis Quintet (1st incarnation) or Yo-Yo Ma

Pandora has a Jazz for Studying station that I really like. I also will play classical music if I really need to concentrate. I have a Vivaldi station on Pandora that's awesome. 

On the flip side—I have trouble reading while anything with lyrics is playing in the background! Too many words to pay attention to.  ?