Five genres for background music while reading

Some people prefer reading in silence while others concentrate better when they read while listening to music. Especially if you are in a noisy environment, it can be sometimes difficult to block out the outside noise sufficiently for you to focus on your reading. Sometimes it pays to have a good set of headphones/earphones that can help you cancel out the noise. But not everyone has noise-cancelling headphones at their disposal. Moreover even the best noise-cancelling headphones will not block 100% of the external sound. What we have found that a good choice of background music can do wonders to provide you the perfect soothing environment for you to read with focus.

So what is a good choice of background music? To work for our purpose, music for reading has a few defining characteristics. It should be almost non-noticeable, playing the part of an enabler, rather than a distractor. It should not be too loud or jarring. So certain genres, such as metal or rap/hip-hop are effectively out. It should also not have sudden and broad movements. As a result, I find jazz music to be quite unsuitable for reading as well.

More suitable genres are ambient, lo-fi, chill, classical, etc. Something softer such as piano or flute serves our purpose better. However, strangely, I’ve found that movie (and TV) soundtracks are a great companion to reading fiction. With their build up and climax, they help you become more engrossed in the story. Imagine listening to the Light of the Seven from the Game of Thrones when something big is going to go down in the crime thriller that you’re reading. That will definitely heighten the mood and create a multi-dimensional effect in the material that you’re reading.

Thankfully, one doesn’t need to search far and wide to find such music. YouTube has a plethora of videos that are suitable for each and every occasion – whether you’re lying in the bathtub with a glass of wine, or enjoying a quiet dinner, or simply lounging with your friends. Below are five music sets, each from a different genre that will help you focus on your reading. I have avoid genres such as binaural beats because there’s not much clarity whether these are actually as effective as they claim. You can still try them out if it works for you.


Boring Work | Beautiful Chill Mix – As the title suggest this is an effective companion to when you’re doing boring work. Of course this is not to imply that reading is boring (how blasphemous!) but that this set can help you focus more on the reading than the music. And the one hour play time is more than enough for any session of reading (You do take breaks, don’t you?).


Raag Ahir Bhairav in Flute – One of my favourite tracks to get up in the morning to. Simple, relaxing and unassuming. This can be the perfect set to block out the world and keep your mind calm and relaxed as you navigate the pages of your book.


2-hours epic music mix – As I said, sometimes an upbeat heroic soundtrack is the perfect companion for reading fiction. This mega 2-hour collection of tracks has sufficient energy to keep you turning pages one after the other as you plough through the latest bestseller.


Classical music for reading – Ah, classical music. Who better than the likes of Mozart, Chopin and the other greats of classical music to give you company as you read from your collection of classic literary fiction. Jane Austen would be so proud.


White Noise – Well, Sometimes you don’t need any particular genre of music to accompany your reading. Sometimes you just want to block out the outside world. And what better way to block out external noise than to use a combination of all the possible frequencies of audible sound. That is what exactly white noise is. A combination of all the possible audible frequencies hat the human ear can perceive. And by listening to this combination of frequencies, you are blocking out any and all types of noise from your surroundings, whether it is a baby crying, or a couple arguing, or the sound of incessant traffic.