YouTube’s number one trending video has captivated just about every corner of the internet, including Reddit where a new community dedicated to “pencil music” is quickly growing.
Created by YouTube user Dani Ochoa, “Cantina Theme played with a pencil and girl with too much time on her hands” is, well, exactly that. Using an algebraic equation and one hell of an ear for tunes, Ochoa manages to recreate the iconic music first heard in the original Star Wars 40 years ago.
The “Cantina theme with a pencil” video marks Ochoa’s first upload to YouTube. It has garnered more than 2.2 million views at the time of this writing. Since that initial upload, Ochoa has added to her masterpiece with a penciled-in version of the “Imperial March,” seen in the video below.
Ochoa’s video has inspired quite a few people, such as a group of likeminded individuals who want to get in on the trend of creating music using a very sharp pencil and math equations. Pencil Music, a subreddit created this week, has just over 13,000 subscribers at the time of this writing, and multiple threads from musicians uploading their own covers of popular music.
One Reddit user who goes by the name UberVoyager uploaded a 23 second video of Smash Mouth’s classic “All Star,” played with a very sharp pencil etching lines onto graph paper. There are even new takes on the strange, but nonetheless fascinating trend. YouTuber Ian Ring recreated the Super Mario Bros. theme song using a large marker and legal pad.
Ochoa, a 19-year-old optical engineering student in Ireland, even supplied a few tips on Reddit for other pencil music aficionados who want to try and do it themselves.
“You gotta get yourself one of those Dixon Ticonderoga pencils,” Ochoa wrote. “I’m tellin ya, that’s where the talent lies. Also sharpen your pencil all the way, then wear it down slightly with a couple practice lines. An aaalmost sharp pencil is key. I did write on a pad of paper, but placing the paper on top of a toothy surface like the back of a notebook, or even just writing on toothy paper in the first place would definitely do the trick.”
Ochoa’s original video caught the attention of Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, who retweeted Ochoa’s original tweet that included the video.
It started with x+4... and I couldn’t unhear it.— dani (@d4niphantom) January 11, 2018
I was supposed to do my math homework but instead I figured out what the Cantina Theme would sound like if your instrument was a pencil. (Volume all the way up) pic.twitter.com/c86RhZiDHP
Ochoa is pretty active in the subreddit community and seems to be looking for new cover suggestions to tackle. Hopefully Ochoa will continue to dazzle us with her tricks — and create an entirely new, very important internet subculture dedicated to music made from pencils scratching on paper.