Fun_People Archive
4 Jun
The "Microsoft Sound"

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue,  4 Jun 96 15:48:20 -0700
To: Fun_People
Subject: The "Microsoft Sound"

Forwarded-by: Keith Bostic <>
Forwarded-by: Sean Eric Fagan <>
Forwarded-by: (Andrew Haley)

You know that little arpeggiated chord that starts Windows '95?
Well, there's more to it than I thought.  I wonder if it's the
shortest commissioned composition in musical history?

Sunday, June 2, 1996 San Francisco Chronicle

Q and A With Brian Eno


Q: How did you come to compose ``The Microsoft Sound''?

A: The idea came up at the time when I was completely bereft of ideas.
I'd been working on my own music for a while and was quite lost, actually.
And I really appreciated someone coming along and saying, ``Here's a
specific problem -- solve it.''

The thing from the agency said, ``We want a piece of music that is
inspiring, universal, blah- blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic,
sentimental, emotional,'' this whole list of adjectives, and then at the
bottom it said ``and it must be 3 1/4 seconds long.''

I thought this was so funny and an amazing thought to actually try to make
a little piece of music.  It's like making a tiny little jewel.

In fact, I made 84 pieces. I got completely into this world of tiny, tiny
little pieces of music. I was so sensitive to microseconds at the end of
this that it really broke a logjam in my own work. Then when I'd finished
that and I went back to working with pieces that were like three minutes
long, it seemed like oceans of time.

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