Windows 8 was a crappy mess of an OS, but the sound scheme was GOAT. Pardon my internet slang, but this was the only scheme I hesitated to turn off. We’ve covered other Win8 sounds here on this blog, but the ones that stand out over time are the sounds for the “hardware insert” and “hardware removal.” Like call and answer, the two sounds compliment each other.
Here’s the hardware insert, a sprightly F Major Seventh chord. Click on the black stemmed noteheads. (Click rapidly for extra fun.)
And here’s the removal sound; they both resolve to the E—the 7th of the F Maj. 7.
In and out goes the USB, and pleasurably does she sound, a tiny fanfare of electrical excitement.
The entire Windows 8 sound scheme is in the key of F major, a pleasant FACE of a key. The simple timbres evoke a perfect future where machines sound softly and never buzz or bloop—a nice contrast to the ubiquitous marimbas of iphones.
What sonic pleasures does Windows 10 offer? I’m too scared to open my backdoor to find out.
The 1985 movie theme song “St. Elmo’s Fire”, originally written about paralympian Rick Hansen, was retooled in 2012 as “Tim Tebow’s Fire” dedicated to Christian quarterback Tim Tebow. It’s kinda like when Elton John’s lyricist retooled “Pizza in the Wind” to become the hit we all know “Candle in the Wind” and then Sir Elton retooled it again after Princess Di died.
I just love title drops. See if this melody don’t make you want to get down on one knee and start Tebowing your fist into the Heavens. Click on the score to play/stop.
In the key of F#, the top melody moves down in triplets and then up on the “fire.” The bottom harmony remains on the D# and moves in contrary motion, down on the “fire,” creating a suspension over the V chord.
The verses of “St. Elmo’s” are in A Major and the choruses move down 3 steps to F# Major. However, the vocal register moves up, hitting the high C#5 on the “Saint” of the hook. The two keys, Amaj and F#maj are closely related with only one note difference.
The verses change key into the chorus via the Aeolian cadence: D Major to E Major, IV – V in Amaj, or vi – vii in F#maj. The choruses return to the verse using the D diminished 7th chord. Below is a simplified voicing of the chord. Drag over to listen.
The verses aren’t great, but the key change and the choruses make up for that. You can hear the hair in the guy’s voice and I’m pretty sure there’s a Rob Lowe saxophone blowing underneath the song somewhere.
Yeah, it isn’t a great song; I just like the movie and any momento movi to remind me of the death of great cinema.
In 1986, Eddie Money had a hit with “Take Me Home Tonight”. The chorus of the song borrows a melody from The Ronettes ’60s classic “Be My Baby”. Click on the score to play/stop, just like Ronnie sang.
The song is in the key of Db Major, but Ronnie Spector sings her old line over the relative minor (Bb). The Major Third interval from the F to the Db is reminiscent of the bellsong or doorbell.
Here’s how I imagine it all went down: At first, Money belted out the melody, but the producer found it came out a little too awesome, so Sony suggested they get the OG Ronnie to do it, no matter what the cost, and it would probably cost nothing because they owned her too. Perhaps there were copyright issues, so Ronnie had to be involved and she had to sing it wrong. We can’t know.
The original melody from “Be My Baby” is slightly different and in a higher key. Ronnie really sang in E Major, and the “baby” comes in on the offbeats. In “Take Me Home”, the ”baby” is sung evenly on the beat; the ’80s were a rough time. Just listen to the half-time bridge sax solo of the song below, it’s like nobody knew what to do or where to go—more ‘blowback’ from all the cocaine the CIA imported at the time. Or more likely, it’s because the melody serves a different purpose in each song. In “Be My Baby”, it provides counterpoint to the main thrust of the backup singers, so the off-beats work well, whereas in “Take Me Home”, the melody acts as the hook, so it makes sense to give it an on-the-beat feel.
Listen to the drums—that dull straight New Wave feel; the best part of the song is when the drums cut out. You can tell the drummer wants to go wild with all the fills he busts out at the end
The lyrics are as low as it gets—begging a girl for sex in song. However, since the girl in the song replies with Ronnie’s melody, it was probably a sure thing anyway.
In The Little Mermaid, Ariel trades her voice for legs. The sea witch Ursula performs an occult ritual under the sea (typical for Disney films) and forces Ariel to sing the song below, her voice growing ever more reverberated as it leaves her mouth. Click on each phrase to listen from that point on; click again to stop.
Ariel sings a Lydian lullaby changing key every 4 bars, from G Major up to Bb Major and up again to Db Major. Up™. She presumably would’ve kept changing keys forever if Ursula didn’t cut her off. The harmony follows a VI – V chord progression. A similar progression and modulation can be found in the “Mushroom House” music from Super Mario Bros. 3.
“Hot Pocket” is a jingle in the key of F Major and features this tasty little hook.
Major third, second, tonic—just like hot cross buns.
It’s always impressive how much ground a 30-second jingle can cover. “Hot Pocket” runs through 3 choruses, changes key up a whole tone to G Major, and is super catchy even though I don’t even like hot pockets, am morally opposed to hot pockets. It’s no “Theme From Malibu Barbie”, but we’ll check that out at a later time. For now, check out “Hot Pocket” below. Listen for the little trill at the stop just before the hook. Listen for the background singer shouting the melody. Listen…
F Eb Bb F
When you wanna have meal but not a big deal
Bb F C F
Whaddya gonna pick? Hot Pocket!
The “Opening Theme” from Final Fantasy III (USA) is a series of ascending 4ths, a quartal harmonic structure, that eventually kicks in with a loud F Half-Diminshed Seventh chord, followed by an F Minor Diminished Seventh chord. Click on either measure to play/stop from that point.
On guitar: 000011.
Final Fantasy III is widely known as Final Fantasy VI, and only an ignorant American would refer to it as FF3. In the Spring of ’94, when we weaboos first loaded this cartridge on our Super Nintendos, from the ominous organ to the purple apocalyptic sky, it was clear this was no kid’s game, but a grand epic equal to The Odyssey, only with mecha robots and black magick tech, so more like The Mahabharata.
The quartal ascent from Final Fantasy was reappropriated for the Los Doggies song “Farted On”, heard at the 3:37 mark. Just like in FF3, the 4th intervals are sustained together, now split between six different voices, stretching over three octaves to the F5—the very highest note Los Doggies can sing.