Spotify Playlist of the Week

Michael Quick

Alright everybody, that time of the semester is here again. With finals looming over everyone’s heads, I decided to follow up my “(Not from) Concentrate” playlist with another grouping of songs to be played during study sessions. Last time around, I tried to include a lot of songs that were a little bit more out of the ordinary, but this time I’m going for maximum effectiveness with a whole bunch of tried and true classical pieces that will put you in the right headspace to crack down and finally open those books that you bought at the beginning of the semester.

On this playlist, you may notice a few compositions by Philip Glass. Glass is an American composer who helped to popularize the “minimalist” movement in classical music. This type of music can take many different forms, but has two main iterations: either an overwhelming amount of repetition of simple parts, or incredibly slow droning music. In minimalist music there are often very subtle alterations in either melody or timbre over the course of the piece, and the whole idea is to get the listener to become more aware of these changes than one would be in a more traditional piece of classical music. Listening to minimalist music while studying can have one of two effects: either cause the listener to lose track of time and become engrossed in their work, or drive them up the wall out of annoyance. It really depends upon the person. Someone, like myself, who is an auditory learner would most likely pay too close attention to the seemingly ceaseless succession of notes forming a melody played ad nauseam. However, it if you can distance yourself from it just enough, it can turn into an almost melodious white noise to help drown out other distractions and allow the listener to really lock in to whatever it is that they’re working on.

Also included are a few pieces from Johann Sebastian Bach. The grandfather of music theory incorporates many blistering straight sixteenth note runs in order to outline chords and to move with the harmony of the piece as a whole. It is this steady motion and consistent rhythm that many people associate with classical music and, as such, should create a similar environment as the minimalist music where the listener’s ears can almost expect what is to happen next, leaving room for their brains to focus on the twenty page paper they put off until the night before.

Adding these songs to your arsenal should (hopefully) make these last few weeks at least marginally better. I wish you all the best of luck.