Playlist of the Week: Music for Writing and Studying

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Playlist of the Week.”

By Marie-Pierre Renaud

Ever since Mark Carrignan, a blogger and sociology PhD student, started publishing a series titled Music I find inexplicably conducive to writing on his blog, I’ve been meaning to publish my own playlists as part of our Advice for Students series.

I thought his idea was simply stellar: we all need some great music to help us find creativity and motivation from time to time, and it’s always great to know what music other students enjoy listening to when they write.

As a recent writing prompt on The Daily Post is “Playlist of the Week”, I thought I would take this opportunity to share the music I listened to last week while writing and reading. The following three albums are not listed in any kind of order: they are all amazing!

The Skyrim  Soundtrack by Jeremy Soule

Alright, listening to the Dragonborn song will NOT help you focus and write. If anything, It will make you want to stand up on your desk and shout ”Fus Ro Dah!” to all the other graduate students in your lab. Not the way to go for a writing session, but probably a great piece to listen to before a presentation, when you need to find your self-confidence.

Several other tracks on the score, such as From Past to Present, Ancient Stones and Secunda are, however, beautiful, inspirational and tranquil. The Skyrim Atmospheres, which include sounds from rain, wind, and birds from the game, are also very soothing.

You can purchase the soundtrack on Itunes.

Noir  by  Blue Sky Black Death

Noir Album CoverThis album is a recent obsession of mine. I am extremely grateful to Sean Plott (DAY 9) who recommended it on his website. As all Day Knights know, he has great taste in music, so I downloaded the album before travelling in Nunavik last fall. I ended up listening to it over and over again: while I was flying over magnificent treeless landscapes of snow, rocks and icy waters, before falling asleep, or when I couldn’t seelp.

Blue Sky Black Death created a ”screwed up” version of their album which they titled NOIR+VIOLET. I find it and the original version to be equally conducive to writing and studying. You can listen to and download these on the duo’s page. Several of their songs are available on the official BSBD Youtube channel.

The Journey  Soundtrack by Austin Wintory

Journey Soundtrack

This soundtrack, like the game it was created for, is astonishing. While it is moving, I find it allows me to focus on my writing all while helping me keep a good rythm and productivity.

If you have not yet played Journey, I strongly recommend it! Don’t simply watch a playthrough or read about the game. Nothing should spoil the amazing experience of playing through it yourself!

You can listen to and download the soundtrack on Austin Wintory’s page on or listen to the entire score with text commentary on Austin Wintory’s Youtube channel.


Make sure to check out Mark Carrignan‘s blog and his own playlists! I really like #9!

What is your favorite music to write or study to? Let me know in the comments below!

About Marie-Pierre Renaud

I am an anthropologist living in Quebec city, Canada. I specialize in native studies and anthropology of health. I am a geek. I founded and now co-manage The Geek Anthropologist blog. I am working on transforming my memoir into a book and journal articles. I like to knit while watching Star Trek. Reach out to me for collaborations!

There are 10 comments

  1. whitney

    Years old, but these suggestions are still great! My go-to is Love Yourself: Answer the Piano covers by kpop sensation BTS. I’m not sure how I found it, but it’s great for writing.


  2. CelestialAeonProject (@celestialaeon)

    Skyrim soundtrack ❤ Regarding Jeremy Soule, I’ve been a big fan of his music since Morrowind. Spent hours just walking around the countryside in search for the next exploration track. Actually he was my main inspiration to start my own soundtrack project Celestial Aeon Project and eventually led me to publishing unofficial music packs for Oblivion and Skyrim. If you are interested, here is a compilation of the Skyrim pack: – it got quite popular response on Steam.


    1. Marie-Pierre Renaud

      That Mortal Kombat soundtrack would also be great on a list titled: music to help you get up in the morning when you sick of writing your dissertation!

      If you haven’t played Skyrim, it’s one of the very few games I recommend to eveyrone!

      Thanks for the suggestion!


Join the conversation! Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s