Brian Eno, Talking Heads, The Orb. For productivity zoning.
Dead frickin’ silence if you have to talk to clients on the phone. Shut off the damn music and concentrate on what they are saying.
For writing, composing, being creative, Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin, Bach, Mozart, Teleman, Handel, Grieg – I think you get the idea.
For me, Jazz doesn’t work, as I’ll start to listen hard and it will destroy my concentration. Same with more modern orchestral works. If it’s a warhorse, I know it and it won’t distract, but enhance.
I can’t work to folk, or stuff like Pentangle, Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention, most rock, or punk. Ditto Polkas, Klezmer, or cartoon music.
I can work to world music where I don’t know the language, and stuff like Enya. Generally can’t be headphones (Although I’m OK with the old Stax, they are light and don’t clamp hard) Usually has to be on speakers.
Maybe I’m just wierd. What are other people’s parameters?