Music for Image Editing

I can't edit in silence. The silence is too deafening and distracting.

It is simply too quiet for me to work as there is some part of my brain that needs to be kept occupied while the image-editing part works.

Steve Reich's 'Music for Mallets, Instruments, Voices and Organ' is a cyclical piece that I often use when editing my work.

I have found over time that certain kinds of music, but not all, can be used to occupy the part of my mind that needs to be kept busy while the rest of me works on my images.

In general, for me I've found that the best editing music is either cynical - full of repeating patterns, or has a wash like structure to it of long notes held over long periods. I believe it is the structure of the music that is the most important element for it to work as a background. Somehow the structure of repeating patterns and long washes of notes lend a hypnotic effect which allows my mind to zone out of the present moment and into the world that my images reside in.

It's also vital that the music does not demand too much of my attention - so highly dynamic music (going from quiet to loud) doesn't work. Any music I use has to have some form of trance ability to it, or for it to act as a form of 'audio-wallpaper'.

Steve Reich's 'Music for Mallets, Instruments, Voices and Organ', lends a certain quality of 'wallpaper' about it. It is a cyclical piece that is consistent in dynamics, with enough gradual variations over time to keep my background mind occupied. It provides enough of a 'trance' like effect to help bring my mind under a spell as I am brought out of my current existence and transported into a place where I can allow my mind to focus on the process of editing my work.

Environment, I think, is greatly overlooked when it comes to image editing, or being creative in general, not only do I have to have the right kinds of sounds around me, but I also need to be surrounded by the right levels of lighting. Perhaps I am more tuned-in, or too sensitive to what is around me? I don't think so: I think we all need a space that is conducive to creativity, and it is something that is personal for each of us.

Long washes of sound, such as this piece of music by Stars of the Lid provide the right setting for me to work on my images.

Are you the same? Do you find that you need to create the right setting in which to work? And do you sometimes feel that you can't find the right space in which to edit? Perhaps you can't find the piece of music you need, or perhaps it's more to do with the ambient light around you or the simple fact that you need some time to yourself to work on your images?

Our environment plays a big role in how we feel while we are editing our work and music can be a big part of that space. By choosing music that is non-distracting, or has some hypnotic aspect to it, we can create a suitable space that is conducive to good editing. 

Happy music choosing.