Most of us have come across the lo-fi genre one way or another through the web, and many are probably already familiar with the dreamy and chill beats it provides. However, for those who don’t know what lo-fi is, it’s defined as a genre of hip-hop inspired and built on jazz and blues. Lo-fi sounds like coffeehouse and lounge music.
The genre has found immense success and popularity over the internet, with playlists and compilations of it on platforms like Youtube and Spotify garnering the attention of many. So, why is lo-fi so popular and liked? Many people claim that the genre helps them with their study and work, so we’ve compiled a list of the reasons why that may be.
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Moving on, let’s look at the intricacies that make the lo-fi genre good for focusing.
1. Lo-Fi Stimulates The Brain Without Distracting It
According to some research and information Brain.fm has shared, lo-fi music is made up of elements that stimulate the brain but don’t necessarily distract it. Take for example most pop songs: they have vocals, salient events (snares, etc.), and strong melody and rhythm. These elements are meant to attract your attention.
On the other hand, lo-fi takes advantage of beta rhythms, an amplitude that corresponds to focus, decision-making, and problem-solving (no wonder it’s befitting music for work). How does a lo-fi beat achieve this?
- According to studies on the genre, it achieves this because “the music in lo-fi uses chords that contain keys that are near or next to each other”
- It uses a filter that sort of muffles the sounds, which gives them an amplified dreaminess or fades them into the background.
2. It’s relaxing
A key element to being able to focus is to get into a state of calm and relaxation. The lo-fi genre allows the listener to do that since the whole genre is smooth and dreamy – there are no aggressive vocals, and the beats play on a slow bpm.
Some sounds that add to a heightened state of relaxation when listening to lo-fi are:
- Added sounds of rain
- Added sounds of nature
- Static background noise
- Dreamy chopped up samples of nostalgic voices
Reportedly, lo-fi’s effect on most audiences is similar, it gets them in the right state of mind to start working or continue working. And it’s difficult to disagree since lo-fi beats are undeniably soothing.
3. It’s repetitive
Repetitive sound patterns in beats tend to put listeners in a trance, which helps concentration and the ability to focus for a longer period of time.
It’s similar to why rave-goers are known for dancing for long periods of time at techno scenes, or why deep house and lounge music are played in cafes and restaurants. The music in both environments fades into the background but keeps repeating consistent sounds.
4. It Lets The Mind Drift
When in the flow state, many people’s minds need the space to drift but also be focused, to let creativity flow. Lo-fi beats let this happen, as we already stated that it kind of fades in the background, and is not distracting. This could be another reason why it helps people focus.
5. It’s Neutral
Good work music doesn’t inspire feelings that are too positive or too negative. Music with lyrics is usually distracting. A slower tempo should help relax you; a faster one will amp you up (think workout playlists — there, Schellenberg said, music’s positive effect is a little more established).
It’s not that music magically makes you smarter, Lesiuk said — an idea that got distorted in the 1990s. It’s that it affects your mood, which affects cognition.
Supposedly, effective work music doesn’t provoke too much emotion in the listener, be it positive or negative. This is probably why lo-fi helps focus – it has a slow tempo, and is neutral, which affects the mood of listeners, promoting a calm and collected mental state.
We recommend checking out a lo-fi playlist on Youtube or Spotify if you’re in need of music for focus and relaxation – there are heaps of it online! If you’ve never heard of it before, you might be missing out, as it’s an exceptionally cool genre.
Overall, it’s a genre of music that’s likely to stay, since there is a constant need for work output in our modern world, and sometimes having the right music to accompany us in our grind is a big help.