Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Music to my ears

I like doing math research to music. This drives my significant other absolutely nuts.

Music calms me, allows part of my brain to be distracted while the other part gets to work, helps me enter a flow state. I can only listen to two kinds of music while working and eventually if my thinking gets too deep I do need to turn it off. While computing examples, though, Bach or electronic dance music are really lovely companions. Surprisingly, I've found myself falling for dubstep as well. Best is an hour-long seamless mix without interruptions. iTunes Radio gives a lot of options for this. Maybe I like Bach for similar reasons: the patterns fit that mathematical part of my brain, there are long pieces without interruptions, and there's a certain purity to the music that you just don't get with most pop or country. Bach and techno are about patterns and sounds, rather than giving verbal accounts of tales of romantic woe. I have no mental tolerance for multitasking that involves talking to someone while doing something else that involves writing -- the verbal part of my brain is just not that nimble.

I do confess I wrote much of my dissertation to the sound of Lady Gaga and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

And "math rock" never quite fit my math moods...

Music for math? physics? writing as opposed to doing examples? writing as opposed to reading?

Alright... flashbacks to college weekends in the desert....

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