Someone Wrote an Equation in Pencil That Sounds Like the ‘Star Wars’ ‘Cantina Theme’

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The depth to which “Star Wars” has invaded our culture is, at times, a little insane. Disney’s new slate of films means there’s a huge amount of advertising, media tie-ins, and product crossovers. It’s kind of impossible not to have “Star Wars” in your head.

That might explain what happened to one Reddit user who started writing a math equation, and heard the Mos Eisley Spaceport “Cantina Theme” from “Star Wars: A New Hope” in the sounds his pencil was making.

It sounds a bit ridiculous, but Redditor smallgoblin heard the theme as they were writing math equations down on a piece of paper using a pencil. The moves of the pencil, and the small scraping sound they made, seemed to line up with the notes of the song. So smallgoblin started writing math equations trying to get all the right pencil moves into a single string of numbers and variables.

Smallgoblin writes that it took an hour of work and five pages of attempts, but they eventually got it right. You can watch and listen to the equation just below, where we’re embedded it. The video runs twice, once with just the pencil sounds, and once with the actual “Cantina Theme” playing over it. Make sure you turn up your speakers so you can actually hear the quiet sounds the pencil makes, though.

Cantina Theme in pencil WITH MUSIC! It plays twice, skip ahead to hear the one with actual music. from pencilmusic


If you want to go even further into slightly bonkers “Star Wars” territory, you can follow this comment from Reddit user TCJulian, who made an attempt at solving smallgoblin’s equation. TCJulian takes what might be considered some liberties with the math, but it brings them to an appropriately sci-fi conclusion: that the equation’s answer is the speed of light.

It seems the “Cantina Theme” isn’t the only run smallgoblin has taken at translating “Star Wars” music into “pencilmusic.” They also made a try at “Duel of the Fates,” the epic theme that first pops up during the lightsaber battle in “The Phantom Menace.” You can hear the pencil version here, and composer John Williams’ orchestral version here for comparison. And here’s a pencil-and-math take on “The Imperial March” from “The Empire Strikes Back,” along with its actual music counterpart.

And if you want more “pencilmusic” fixes, it seems the popularity of the pencil version of  “Cantina Theme” inspired the creation of a whole new subsection of Reddit to house such works. Users are already sharing their own pencil versions of popular songs. You can start your fall down the pencilmusic rabbit hole the most ridiculous way possible: with Smashmouth’s “All-Star” from Redditor Mainly_Green.

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