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Is LoFi music your best study buddy?

What kind of music do you listen to when you are working, studying, or wanting to relax?

The music genre I've been listening to for the last few years is 'LoFi'.

Low fidelity

- A term used to describe poor sound quality. (It is an antonym of 'Hi-Fi', which is often used in audio equipment, etc., and indicates good sound quality.)

I will share why Lofi has been so popular on playlists like YouTube and Spotify in recent years.

What is Lofi Music?

In recent years, “Lo-fi” has become popular on playlists such as YouTube and Spotify.

The main features are shabby beats, environmental sounds, record noises, samplings such as jazz, and many of the songs are slow.

Lo-fi is originally an English-speaking slang for 'bad recording environment', but by intentionally incorporating the old analog feel, it creates a somewhat nostalgic atmosphere.

Sampling means using part of the sound source of an existing song and diverting it to new music. Often used in hip-hop.

So there are times when I feel like I've heard this melody somewhere before.

There are various methods, such as intentionally creating a sampling-like atmosphere without using sampling, or using audio from movies, animations, etc. for sampling.

I don't know why, but as a Japanese person, I'm a little happy that many of them use voices from Japanese movies and anime.

Lofi Girl

What sparked the Lofi music is a YouTube streaming channel called 'Lofi Girl'.

This channel, which was born in France, shows a girl who looks like a Ghibli movie, commonly known as 'Lofi Girl', studying.

This is her channel where Lofi music is broadcast live all the time.

Dimitri, originally from France, started playing Lofi music under the name 'Chilled Cow' in 2015.

Then changed to Lofi Girl in 2017. Originally, the image of the main character of 'Whisper of the Heart' studying was used.

It seems that the channel got too big and was closed by YouTube after a few months due to copyright issues.

After that, he created a character by himself, and it seems that the channel continues to this day.

The popularity of Lofi Girl is amazing,

Actor Will Smith and Disney's Minnie Mouse tried to make their own version with parody,

It became a hot topic on the Internet with parody illustrations of Lofi Girls from all over the world.

Why Lofi Music Helps You Focus?

What is your favourite time of the day?

When I'm on vacation and not working for a few days, there are moments when I miss it.

Working on my computer in the quiet morning with my Lofi Music playing next to me with my self-brewed coffee.

Does listening to Lofi music help you concentrate while you work? I feel like I work better with it.

Lofi music found on the Internet is often labelled as 'beats to study to'.

Can Lofi music really help you concentrate?

Is it scientifically proven?

Ultimately, there isn't enough research out there to prove a causal link between Lofi and concentration.

However, there are several factors that can be considered as the reason why it is said that music can concentrate.

Feature 1: Predictable melody repetition

Normally when you listen to music, you would play the specific song that you want to listen to.

When it is over, I think you'll listen to the next song, but most people who listen to Lofi tend to play a streaming channel background all the time rather than "listen to" a song.

One of Lofi's features is that even within a single song, the same melody is repeated at the same tempo and BPM.

These predictable melodies are perfect for working or studying, without the music taking your attention.

With normal music, the brain is surprised by changes in the melody in the middle.

Music departments call this phenomenon of Lofi Cocooning.

Like a larva wrapped in a gentle thread to form a cocoon,

Lofi surrounds you and your brain with gentle music and predictable melodies, shielding you from outside noise and distractions.

Feature 2: No lyrics

Many of Lofi have only melodies without lyrics.

If there are lyrics, the lyrics will steal your attention.

There is an interesting study published in 2019 by the University of Manila that examined the relationship between music and memory.

  • 207 university students participated as subjects.

  • They were asked to memorize 15 words for 30 seconds.

  • Three different pieces of music were played while trying to memorize 15 words.

    • Lofi with lyrics

    • Lofi without lyrics

    • no music

  • As a result, it seems that the group that memorized while listening to Lofi music without lyrics scored much better on the memory test than the other groups.

Feature 3: Amplitude Modulation

If you have ever edited a sound file, you may have seen sound frequencies like the one above.

Music that is preferred when dancing or sprinting vigorously tends to have high-frequency amplitudes.

Good for exercise, not for work or study.

When I speak to you in front of a fan, the sound reaches your ears with some uniformity.

This is called Amplitude Modulation.

Lofi has many brain frequencies and beta rhythms that are closely related to concentration, problem-solving, and decision-making.

Beta rhythm has a frequency of 12-30Hz.

So how do you fix this frequency?

In Lofi, there are many things that play similar key sounds at the same time.

This prevents large ups and downs in amplitude.

Feature 4: Nostalgic Melody

A lot of Lofi is inspired by games and anime music that we've been familiar with for a long time.

I don't know if it helps me concentrate, but it definitely helps me relax.

Why I Listen to Lofi

To be honest, I'm not sure if working while listening to Lofi improves my concentration.

There are times when I don't get much work done even though I'm playing Lofi.

In terms of concentration alone, natural sounds such as rain and forests and ambient music may be better.

But what I can say without a doubt is that it makes the act of working a pleasant and stress-free experience.

As I said at the beginning, when I don't work for a long time, I miss doing my desk work while listening to Lofi.

So I will continue to use Lofi as a companion in my life.


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