TINY MUSIC MAKERS: Pt 1: The 'Intel Inside' chimes

Austrian KLF fan Walter Werzowa had never heard of Intel when they asked him to compose a 3 second jingle for them. Last year alone, they spent $350m promoting the sound he created in his home studio by paying PC companies to use it in their ads. It's played once every five minutes somewhere around the world.
>>Walter has a mysterious and wonderful past. In the late 1980s, he and a friend came up with an idea for an ABBA-vs-yodelling novelty record called "Bring Me Edelweiss". Then they read the KLF's 'The Manual: How to Have a Number One Hit the Easy Way' [full text here]. They followed the instructions in the book, and sold 2 million copies across Europe. That's how he had enough money to live in LA.
>>Walter's friend Kyle Cooper was commissioned to create an ad for Intel and asked Walter to provide some music. In less than three seconds, they wanted "tones that evoked innovation, trouble-shooting skills and the inside of a computer, while also sounding corporate and inviting".
>>He sat in his home studio for a weekend, getting more and more frustrated: "Everything just felt stupid, chopped off and strange," he says.
>>The breakthrough came when he stared at the words 'Intel Inside' and started to sing them. He used 4ths and 5ths, because they're the most common intervals worldwide. It took ten days to record.
>>Walter is a big synth collector (he says he hasn't got 'all of them'). For the Intel sound he used 40+ layers, including a DX7, Oberheim OBX, Prophet VS, Emulator IIIx, Roland S760 and his beloved Jupiter 8, which was the first synth he ever bought.
>>He used lots of marimba and xylophone sounds because they 'sound corporate'
>>He was paid a set fee ("not that much") for the Intel work, but it opened a lot of doors. Now Walter's company Musikvergnuegen (German for 'Love of Music') employs 11 people.
>>Walter has just finished a sound for Samsung that will be used on all their advertising worldwide. He says that listening to tiny bits of music over and over and over is an acceptable occupational hazard.
>>More on Walter in this interview from Mix Magazine.


Excellent post, one of your best. Way to go on the 'actual journalistic skills' :)
yeah! fun reading.. looking forward to the next one, but I can't hear the sound sample on my (mac)computer.. why?
Don't know why it's not working for you - it seems to play fine on my mac at work any my pc at home... Anyone?
great post...really looking forward to hearing about the thx noise...is it a cs80 ? i think thats my fave bit of micro music...

cant wait to find out...

avery .
i think asger was telling a joke.
Man it's incredible what KLF are responsible. Truely inspiring. Great article btw.
Where do you get that KLF book 'the manual" anyway? I could use the help!
Say, anybody know who did the guitar theme for MTV back in the day? You know, the one with the claymation MTV logo. I've heard it was the Butthole Surfers, but I can't find any reliable source.

WOW, thanks for posting the link to the full text of the Manual.

I had checked Amazon (US) earlier to see if they had any paperback versions. Oh, and they do. They are only $134. What a deal!

Mike Oldfield has noted that these four notes seem awfully similar to the first four notes of Tubular Bells. He has a point -- although, naturally, Intel disagree!
This guy needs a jingle on his site:

This is very cool. However, I was hoping for a bit of information on the sound upgrade that ocurred, I think, when the Pentium III came out. It might have been the Pentium II, but I think it was the III. The sound changed -- it became a bit more chorused or something. I prefer the old one. I think the MP3 in the article is the old one. Any insight?

Of course, I could research it myself, but this is one of those many things I haven't gotten around to.
wow! i can't believe that the intel jingle had 40 layers! i would think at the most 5. thats amazing!
This is very cool.


They reprinted The Manual not so long ago, after a long period of it being unobtainable. http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1899858652/203-8448339-8437552 is where to look! You should read Drummond's other books too, they're extremely good and he probably needs the money seeing as he burnt it all...
Hi. Thanks for the insights.

Steve @
Maybe it's just me, but it always drove me nuts how the "Intel Inside" chimes are note-for-note the same as this one scene in the musical Miss Saigon (which was written several years prior). It's somewhere in the second act; there's this scene where the wife of the protagonist is finding out that he's had a son w/ a Vietnamese girl, and there it is -- the "Intel Inside" tune, repeated like 3-4 times in a sung exchange between the characters. Glad he's making bux though! Thanks for driving me up the &*(! wall for the past 10 years!
Actually, the notes are exactly the same as a four-note sequence from the musical "Gypsy." The lyrics are "I had a dream."
I always get a message to new york times readers when I try to download the intel theme--how can I fix this?
8hands are having a sound events challenge for a new application and looking for a few short effects for when "things happen" (like "incoming IM message)"
they are giving a Theremin to the person who sends the best sounds!

beeps and sounds can be e-mailed to

for more details -
I have loved your blog as a whole... Now I'm reading all your posts...I've found many interesting for myself) and this post is one of the best and most interesting!!!
Great blog. I'm spending too much time here. ;)
It is always pleasant to learn something new about usual things. I have surprised that the intel jingle had 40 layers! All of us hear it very often but we don't think who did it and how did he do!

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