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It’s a well-known fact: Music makes a long day at the office or a long night in the library approximately 1000x better. It’s also generally accepted that lyric-less music is better for maintaining focus and boosting efficiency. While we love the rich and varied traditions of classical and jazz music, we want to open your ears to rest of the performance-enhancing, concentration-retaining, success-inspiring world of lyric-free music. Enjoy these carefully curated playlists while you work or study.
These beautiful and richly-textured acoustic guitar playlists offer impressive, but not distracting, background sounds.
Acoustic Guitar Instrumentals
Hailing from the worlds of folk, rock, country, blues, and beyond, these acoustic guitar instrumentals are organic enough to keep from jarring your focus, but they've got enough forward motion to motivate your mind.
Developed by John Fahey and artists on his Takoma Records label, this finger-picking style of guitar playing combines country and blues techniques with neo-classical composition.
One of the oldest instruments still in common use, the classical guitar first found its home in Spain. The Spanish guitar is the voice of an entire musical world, and to this day is still a distinctive sound in rhythm and character.
Acoustic Guitar Explorations
Soothing doesn't have to mean boring. Expand your musical horizons while working or unwinding with this wide-ranging set of acoustic guitar tunes.
Film Scores and Soundtracks
These playlists will make your afternoon at the office or evening at the library a dramatic, action-packed, riveting, beautifully realized, crowd-pleasing, no-holds-barred, Oscar-worthy tour de force.
Epic Film Scores
Here are the most epic scores in modern cinema. Filled with sweeping string sections and thunderous percussion, this is the perfect playlist for saving the world, preparing for battle, or staring up in awe at something miraculous.
Pop Artists Turned Composers
What do Daft Punk, Neil Young, and David Byrne have in common? They all make music for films. These tracks were composed by accomplished pop or rock artists who have transitioned into the world of film scoring.
Provocative Contemporary Film Scores
In an industry dominated by a few A-list composers, these artists and their dramatic, modern film scores stand at the vanguard; cool and provocative music from cool and provocative films.
Legendary Vintage Film Scores
Here are the most revered, referenced, and beloved film scores from some of Hollywood's most legendary composers.
A-List Film Scores
Here are some recent and memorable film scores from powerhouse composers like Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore and Thomas Newman.
These rhythmic and driving playlists will keep your head nodding while you work or study. Enjoy the more cerebral side of electronic music.
Electronic Study: IDM
IDM may have originally stood for Intelligent Dance Music, but it doesn't have to live on the dance floor. This cerebral electronica also makes the perfect soundtrack for studying, reading, or simply relaxing.
Instrumental Trip Hop
Funky and atmospheric instrumental works from the masters of trip hop, one of the hippest underground movements to emerge in the '90s.
Electronic Study: Acoustica
Explore the current state of forward-looking electronic music, from minimal techno to electro-acoustic sound experiments.
Idyllic electronic sounds that evoke expansive rural vistas, from evocative Teutonic rock (Neu!, Cluster, Brian Eno) to deep listening drone (Fennesz, Oneohtrix Point Never, Emeralds).
Hypnotic breaks and pensive soundscapes from today's greatest electronica artists: the perfect soundtrack for reading, working, or just relaxing.
Even if you can’t stand Skrillex, you might still like dubstep. Seriously! Try these lower-key, chilled-out dubstep playlists when you’re trying to stay focused.
Electronic Study: Dubstep
Have a listen to the sonic diversity of dance music's most popular new subgenre -- from the early pioneers on Hyperdub Records to some of today's higher energy offerings -- with no annoying vocals to distract you from your studies.
Looking for a chilled out take on that brain-splitting, wobbly bass? Liquid dubstep provides a unique blend of ambient sounds, melodic keyboard riffs, and of course, visceral bass lines.
Coined by DJs Dirty South Joe and Flufftronix, luvstep is a journey into the sexier side of modern dubstep that's smoothly visceral and uniquely melodic.
Enjoy the low, thudding bass of chill dubstep, the perfect soundtrack for working, studying, or relaxing.
Love ‘n’ Bass
The lush and romantic side of traditional drum and bass music, featuring seductive vocals, melodic keyboard riffs and deep canyons of bass all strung together by the genre's signature rat-a-tat snare drum sound.
Instrumental songs from genres like rock, hip hop and soul are often left out of the conversation, but they can provide the perfect soundtrack for gettin’ stuff done.
Vintage Rock Instrumentals
With their penchant for twang and aversion to lyrics, these 1950s and '60s acts -- some fleeting, some lasting -- all reveled in the rock instrumental.
Instrumental Hip Hop
Atmospheric and ambient, this is the sound of hip hop producers left to their own devices. Without any vocal assists from rappers, the results are innovative, expressive, and sometimes more than a little trippy.
Get Down to the Instrumental Soul Groove!
While icons like Otis Redding and James Brown brought the soul, their legendary backing bands brought the stank. Listen to these funky instrumental grooves and you'll be deep in the pocket!
Provocative & Evocative Instrumentals
Think of these progressive instrumentals as the ultimate "temp tracks" -- that is, the music used during the editing phase of a film production to set the mood for a scene. Great for budding indie filmmakers and soundtrack enthusiasts.
Studytime Blues Instrumentals
Greasy guitar licks, honkin' harmonica lines, and pounding piano riffs take the forefront in these killer blues instrumentals. It's the ideal feel to give you enough groove juice for focusing on your work without any vocals to vie for your attention.
Ambient music is the ultimate sonic wallpaper, and we mean that in a good way. Let one of these playlists fill the silence.
Electronic Study: Ambient
Take a break from the dancefloor and enjoy this collection of trippy, atmospheric tracks made for the chill out room. Cool down and relax with no distracting lyrics or vocals.
Ambient Music for Reading
You've got some reading you're ready to dive into, but you want to keep some music moving through the air. Here's an awesome array of ambient cuts perfect for putting a pillow of sound around your ears but subtle enough to avoid any distractions.
In the '70s and '80s, pioneering artists from the worlds of jazz, classical, rock, and electronic music fashioned ethereal sonic landscapes ideal for a fostering a meditative state. Decompress with these essential cuts from ambient's early trailblazers.