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Watch: How to play the ‘Cantina’ theme from ‘Star Wars’ by writing a maths equation with a pencil

‘Played by a pencil and a girl with too much time on her hands.’


A few days ago, a student from Arizona in the US became instrumental in starting a whole new music movement called “pencil music” on reddit. Like most other things in the universe, it began with Star Wars.

Hidden among the dark, foreboding themes from the franchise is a jaunty piece of music titled the Cantina Theme from Star Wars: A New Hope. The original theme was played by a group of funky aliens in the film. Here, it’s played by a young girl named Dani Ochoa with a pencil, paper and a maths equation.

Don’t believe it? Fine, listen to this then.


Ochoa was just doing her homework when she realised it. “It started with x+4... and I couldn’t unhear it. Instead of doing my math homework I figured out what the Cantina Theme would sound like if your instrument was a pencil,” she wrote on reddit. She then used different levels of pressure for the strokes to recreate the theme.

To prove she’s not just a one-trick pony, Ochoa posted yet another pencil cover, this time of the Imperial March:


Overnight, Ochoa became an internet sensation. Though she simply described her video as “Cantina Theme played by a pencil and a girl with too much time on her hands”, the video quickly gathered up millions of views and started trending. Ochoa’s videos even started a whole new subreddit dedicated to “pencil musicians” who started to put up their own pencil covers of music and themes. You can see a compilation below:


Meanwhile, a reddit user analysed her maths equation and came to the conclusion that the formula calculates the speed of light and “cracked the key to hyper space and beyond.”

Even the official Twitter account for Star Wars had words of, well, appreciation for her video:

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