Music to help you relax, and sometimes shut out the noise

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We have all been there; when our bodies scream at us for a break after hours of staring at the computer screen because of work or study. Or when we are trying to work, but our environment refuses to corporate; the neighbour drives in with his car radio a little too loud for comfort, or you can hear the TV from your room or office. Or maybe, when you are writing, you become sensitive to the slightest sound.

Should you quit your work because someone in the next three rooms is watching TV? Or the alternative is becoming a nocturnal animal; working when everyone else has finally quit?

I have a slightly less drastic suggestion – classical music.

Before you dismiss my idea too quickly; no, classical music is not only for old rich dudes in glasses and dark suits, and yes, it can be as thrilling, soulful and captivating as your garden variety hip hop, R’n’B, pop and so on. If you want proof, stay with me.

In this article, I will do the following:

  • Talk about relaxation.
  • Note some of the benefits of listening to classical music.
  • Mention work.
  • Share my favourite classical compositions which you are free to download.
  • Give you a link where you can easily and legally download tonnes of classical music for absolutely free.

Let’s Relax

I know all too well about the pain of staring at a computer screen all day – dry eye, eye strain, neck/ back pain and overall exhaustion. You don’t feel any of this when you are in the grips of writing a powerful scene, or reading that fascinating article. But when the thrill is gone, the pain takes its place. Your body is telling you to rest.

As much as we would love to go out, take a walk under the sun, or meet with friends, sometimes we are working on a deadline, or studying for that exam tomorrow. We can afford maybe a 30 minute break. We can’t waste this time; every second of it must be spent relaxing.

According to scientific studies dug up by the University of Southern California and Reader’s Digest, listening to classical music can help improve learning ability, lessen anxiety, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress. The result; you become more relaxed.

When I was in college, and I had that important exam the following day, I would pop in my ear phones, lie down on my back and just listen to my classical music. I would set the volume really low, but enough for me to hear every instrument.

The lights would be off and I would close my eyes. It was incredibly relaxing and invigorating. When I got up after 30 minutes to an hour, I felt refreshed and ready to tackle that next chapter.

Later, when I was writing, I would play my classical music on my computer, break dance whilst I made a snack in the kitchen and lie down on my couch as I ate my snack, all the while being serenaded by Vivaldi, Bach, Haydn and Corelli.

The music just has this powerful effect – It is no wonder that Researchers at Southern Methodist University found out that classical music can make people more emotionally available.

Let’s work

I am one of those writers who are incredibly sensitive to their surroundings when writing. Even an over-loud conversation throws me off my game. But sometimes we just can’t avoid the sounds other humans love to make. The solution – drown them all out.

The beauty of using classical music is that a lot of it has no vocals, no words. You are not distracted by that catchy chorus, phrase or sentence. This is especially distracting if you are trying to create words of your own, or when you are reading a passage. Ever tried writing something whilst you had a catchy phrase stuck in your head? Chances are, at least once, words from this catchy phrase unintentionally landed on your draft.

With classical music, you get a beautiful neutralizer, which at times can be stimulating for your writing. I find it to be especially effective when I am writing the first draft. It seems to keep me awake and energised. Sometimes working in total silence feels isolating and deficient. My classical music fills this void.

Still haven’t convinced you? Here are some other reasons to love classical music:

  • Beautiful – it is simply a delight to listen to. You hear each instrument. The instruments sound natural, like they come straight from nature. The compositions sound original, like that is what music is meant to be.
  • Expressive – when you listen to the compositions, you’re not just hearing violins or pianos; you’re also hearing a story. It’s like the instruments have a voice. You listen to a track and you immediately know its story is sad or thrilling.
  • It never gets old – I’m the kind of person who quickly gets bored of things, including music. But my classical music never gets old or boring. My original favourite compositions remain my favourite. If anything, the tracks I initially side-lined grew on me after I had given myself time to listen to them.

My favourite compositions (arranged by Composer)

I like my compositions fast and with string instruments. I particularly like the violin. You can click on any one of the tracks to download.

Vivaldi

Vivaldi – Concerto for strings RV 146 in G – 1 Allegro

Vivaldi – L’Estro Armonico Op.3 Concerto n.10 RV 580 in B Minor – 3 Allegro

Vivaldi – L’Estro Armonico Op.3 Concerto n.8 RV 522 in A minor – 3 Allegro

Vivaldi – La Stravaganza Op.4 Concerto n.12 RV 298 in G – 3 Allegro

Vivaldi – Le Quattro Stagioni Op.8 Concerto n.2 RV 315 ‘Summer’ in G minor – 3 Presto

Vivaldi – La Stravaganza Op.4 Concerto n.06 RV 316a in G minor – 3 Allegro

Vivaldi – L’Estro Armonico Op.3 Concerto n.4 RV 550 in E minor – 3 Allegro

Vivaldi – La Stravaganza Op.4 Concerto n.10 RV 196 in C minor – 1 Spiritoso

Vivaldi – La Stravaganza Op.4 Concerto n.04 RV 257 in A minor – 3 Allegro

Vivaldi – La Stravaganza Op.4 Concerto n.02 RV 279 in E minor – 3 Allegro

Vivaldi – La Cetra Op.9 Concerto n.11 RV 198a in C – 3 Allegro

Vivaldi – La Cetra Op.9 Concerto n.01 RV 181a in C – 3 Allegro

Vivaldi – Concerto for strings RV 168 in B minor – 1 Allegro

Vivaldi – Concerto for violin, strings and continuo RV 325 in G – 3 Presto

Vivaldi – Concerto for strings RV 157 in G minor – 3 Allegro

Vivaldi – Concerto for strings RV 146 in G – 1 Allegro

Vivaldi – Concerto for strings RV 156 in G minor – 3 Allegro

Vivaldi – Concerto for strings RV 121 in D – 1 Allegro molto

Vivaldi – Concerto for strings RV 119 in C minor – 3 Allegro

Haydn

Haydn – Symphony ‘A’ in Bb – 1 Allegro

Haydn – Symphony n.014 in A – 1 Allegro molto

Corelli

Corelli – Sonata for violin and continuo n.11 Op.5 in E – 2 Allegro

Corelli – Sonata for violin and continuo n.05 Op.5 in G – 2 Vivace

Corelli – Sonata for violin and continuo n.03 Op.5 in C – 2 Allegro

Corelli – Sonata for violin and continuo n.01 Op.5 in D – 2 Allegro

Corelli – Sonata for violin and continuo n.01 Op.5 in D – 5 Allegro

Corelli – Sonata for violin and continuo n.02 Op.5 in Bb – 3 Vivace

Corelli – Sonata for violin and continuo n.03 Op.5 in C – 4 Allegro

Corelli – Sonata for violin and continuo n.01 Op.5 in D – 3 Allegro

Bach

Bach – Concerto for violin, strings and continuo n.1 BWV 1052 in D minor – 3 Presto

Bach – Concerto for violin, strings and continuo n.1 BWV 1041 in A minor – 3 Allegro assai

Bach – Concerto for 3 violins, strings and continuo BWV 1064 in C – 3 Allegro

Bach – Concerto for 2 violins and orchestra BWV 1043 in D minor – 1 Vivace

Albinoni

Albinoni – Concerto a cinque n.11 Op.10 in C minor – 1 Allegro

 

To get your hands on more classical tracks, visit 1Classical.com. The music is arranged by composer and by instrument. You can browse through the lists, listen and download. I find the site to be very simple and user-friendly. Enjoy.

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