What is your favorite classical music to listen to while reading?

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What is your favorite classical music to listen to while reading?

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Sep 7, 2013, 11:27am

For me, this does change with the book. Right now, Erik Satie's music seems to be most fitting (odd, as I'm reading a book set in 1980s India, The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai, but there you go).

If you need a quick intro to Satie, I wrote about him briefly here (along with a music sampler): Music Notes: Erik Satie’s Gymnopédies.

Would love to know how others pair up their books with their music choices and perhaps get some new recommendations.

Thank you.

Editado: Sep 7, 2013, 11:51am

Classical guitar music by Andre Segovia during light reading.

Sep 7, 2013, 12:43pm

razzamajazz, yes, he's lovely. I've heard bits and pieces and especially like his Tarantella. What's your favorite of his works?

Editado: Sep 7, 2013, 11:45pm

Sep 9, 2013, 5:16am

It's odd - I've always played music when I read, but, these days, I'm finding it more and more difficult to do.

Trouble is, any kind of classical, jazz, opera or classical guitar continually distracts my attention from the reading. I just have to stop and listen. Unless I don't like it, of course, which is even more of a distraction - an irritation.

I occasionally try easier stuff, popular music from the 'fifties, 'forties, 'thirties - just as a pleasant background noise; but, even then, I can get distracted by a particularly good arrangement or backing player. It only occasionally fits, anyway - never the right mood for anything from the nineteenth century or earlier, better with modern non-fiction.

These days, for fiction at least, I'm tending more and more to switch off the music (or play the music and put aside the book!)

Editado: Sep 9, 2013, 11:42am

How to enjoy music ( strictly music, no lyrics or liberetto) while reading:

1. Use a portable combo set, do not play with external speakers or amplifier.

2. Play only music ( jazz,classical,orchestra music,single-instrument music- eg piano,guitar,flute,saxophone,trumpet),ethnic music and etc.

3. Not a loud music.

4. Tune your volume/tone to "low" just right for your ears.

Try this. See the results.

Some soft music: James Galway - classical flute; Kenny G: Richard Clayderman;

Miles Davis = trumpet,jazz: Charlie Parker; John Coltrane ; Ramsey Lewis Trio:

Modern Jazz Quartet; Strauss's Waltz music and many musicians that provide good

background music as in the cocktail lounge bars.

Sep 9, 2013, 11:29am

Some great recommendations there, razzamajazz. Thanks. I like Miles Davis for reading too. Stan Getz too.

Sep 9, 2013, 11:46am

I find it really hard to concentrate on reading when there's music playing--especially if the music has lyrics (that's why the tv and other people talking are also out!). BUT I do occasionally like to have some instrumental music playing, as a lot of you have mentioned, because it's relaxing and creates a nice atmosphere. I think my favorites to listen to these days are movie soundtracks! I actually like to put those on when I do work too. Some Hans Zimmer or the soundtrack to Amelie or Shakespeare in Love, for example. I'd like to start listening to more jazz too.

Editado: Sep 10, 2013, 2:27am

All about listening to background music you can use while dining with guests or reading at home . Some good recommended compact disc titles.


search: The Best Restaurant Music Ever Made

Sep 9, 2013, 3:02pm

I never even think to put music on when i'm reading, i don't think i'm capable of enjoying both things at the same time. Just imagining it is getting me a little anxious. Then again, i can't relax while there's someone badly parked down the road. Help me, please.

Editado: Sep 9, 2013, 10:21pm

Give yourself a test: A Free Anxiety Test ( This is not a spam ), Find out your anxiety's tolerance level.


Sep 10, 2013, 1:28pm

#11 -

Dear calmclinic,

I'm a sucker for online quizzes and tests, but then I get irrationally annoyed when I work my way to the end and then find that they want my email address before I can get the results. Am I paranoid?

Sep 10, 2013, 9:55pm

Go for vacation and relax.

Sep 14, 2013, 7:11pm

yeah, good advice.
this is an interesting topic, it has made me question what is the more powerful, music or type.
thanks for the push, jenny...

Sep 14, 2013, 7:46pm

What made me start the thread was this bit of news: http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/05/booktrack-studio/.

I don't know that I like the idea of predetermined soundtracks to my books (plus, I don't really read digitally anyway).

But, I always have music on when reading, so I wondered what others preferred.

These days, I'm into movie soundtracks. My current playlist: Out of Africa, Legends of the Fall, Last of the Mohicans, The English Patient.... oddly, they are all movies that were originally books. :)

The BBC is doing a Sound of Cinema Season that I need to explore further: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01fs3cy

Sep 14, 2013, 11:56pm

Music depends upon the book. Easy reading, such as most fiction, I can listen to any pre-20th century classical music. I like 20th century classical music for non-fiction. Scarlatti and Bach work well for more intense fiction, such as Gravity's Rainbow, Finnegan's Wake and Infinite Jest. Harpsichord music is excellent for plays and poetry. For philosoophy, physics and foreign language reading, especially ancient languages, I prefer silence.

Editado: Sep 15, 2013, 3:03am

Baroque music is best suited to be used as background music. Vivaldi's Four Seasons is one of grand music of that era.

Sep 15, 2013, 3:05pm

Can't-I have to do one or the other. Listening usually trumps reading, if I put something on. Unless I don't like the music, in which case it distracts.

Sep 26, 2013, 11:15am

I can't concentrate on my reading and listen to music at the same time. I've seen playlists creep in at the end of some YA books (Rachel Caine's for example). That's great for readers who can multitask (ie, not me)! The French SF author Alain Damasio went even further: his novel La horde du Contrevent comes with its own original soundtrack/music on CD. I must confess I've not even unwrapped mine. I just read the book, which as far as I know, is still not available in English, although that might change once the animated film comes out Windwalkers: Chronicle of the 34th Horde.

Editado: Jul 31, 2014, 11:23pm

I tend to go with piano music or anything that's not extremely loud like a symphony, usually Rachmaninoff or Debussy.

Dic 30, 2014, 9:08pm

I'm in the can't crowd. I love listening so much, that it draws my attention away. I can sometimes listen to something while working (developer - used to be called computer programmer), generally not classical though, that's too interesting to me.