BlogFocus@Will Classical channel rebuilt with new science research, renamed “Classical Plus”

Focus@Will Classical channel rebuilt with new science research, renamed “Classical Plus”

September 20, 2017

We set out to design the world’s first focus channel combining the art of classical music with the neuroscience of focus, using the latest digital audio production techniques. This was an intense 5 month project for our music team, and we’re really excited to hear how it works for you.

This was quite a mission and endeavor. We had to experiment and solve many technical and artistic  issues to achieve the final goal. The main question we kept asking was: How can we streamline or tame the classical music experience to behave as better background for focus?

We found we had to edit and sculpt the compositions and recordings significantly to remove distracting elements, and we had to boldly “tame” frequencies and dynamics with the latest audio production and mastering techniques. We know, we know, it’s called Classical for a reason, but hey, we can still love the originals while improving them!

Here is more of the story and details about why we did it and how we did it:

Classical music as an “experience”…

Classical music by nature is very dynamic, ie it gets really loud and really quiet. In fact, many orchestral recordings have a dynamic range close to 100db, which means from a whisper to the sound of a siren.  Drastic changes in tempo, mood, key, and emotion tell the story in each composition. These are reasons why classical music is so enchanting, entertaining, memorable, and has remained part of our culture for so long.  This is not simple music. The complexity of classical chords voicings, melody, dynamics, performances make it an ultra compelling musical genre. A visceral emotional and intellectual experience. Remember originally this music was composed to be “the” big entertainment experience of its time! There was no TV, radio, movies, video games or recorded music during the 18th and 19th centuries!  There were just live music concerts. So classical music was created to deliver the big bang of the live human experience, the climax. The goal was to mesmerize and wow the listener in real time. Ultimately, classical music stands the test of time because so much detail went into these compositions.

But this is not an experience conducive with a productive work environment.

We once had a Focus@Will Member email us a thank you and say that she finds it hard to work with some other music because it “imposes a story on the listener while trying to work.”  This really stayed with us. The question became: How can we provide a listening experience from Classical music without enticing the emotional whirlwind the master composers had every intention of creating?

So that brings us to our challenge: How do you streamline and Tame the Masters?

First, we curate tens of thousands of recordings. Then we hand edit each chosen track, removing the obvious distracting parts that are say, really loud or really fast etc. From here, we automate the volume of each section of each track for a consistent “set it and forget it” feel.  Then we scientifically and artfully reduce certain distracting frequencies in a mastering room. Finally, we smooth our crossfades between tracks and define our low, medium and high intensities with much more definition than before.

Classical Plus will prolong your work-flow, giving you the calm energy only Classical music can create. This time around, we are taking you on an even smoother ride, with extended 120 minute sessions. See how long your next focus session can last without ever hitting the stop or skip button 🙂 Give it a try and let us know how it works for you!