Orville Redenbacher’s Dream

I have written a new piece of music that requires some explanation. It’s called “Orville Redenbacher’s Dream.” You probably know Orville Redenbacher as the smiling face on the bag of microwave popcorn, and the guy who wrote an autobiography to “make it clear [he] is real.”

How many times have you been making a bag of microwave popcorn, listening to the randomly popping kernels, and thought, “Wow! What a catchy beat!”? Well, finally someone has used that great, toe-tappin’ rhythm in a piece of music, and that someone is me.

This piece began with an actual bag of Redenbacher’s microwave popcorn. I made a recording of the kernels popping and used that exact rhythm as the basis for this composition. I imported the audio of the kernels popping into GarageBand and painstakingly dragged about 200 digital snare hits to perfectly line up with the kernels popping. (One thing I learned from carefully listening to popcorn popping is that either 1.) kernels pop in pairs, or 2.) when one kernel pops, it makes two popping sounds.)

Once I had the digital popping track finished, I changed it to a piano track. I knew that if I tried to write a mellow-sounding, cohesive melody, it wouldn’t fit with the predetermined rhythm. So instead, I decided to compose a random-sounding, atonal-esque, highly chromatic, jumpy “melody” to match the rhythm. If, after hearing this piece of music, you thought it sounded like a four year-old banging on a piano, you are wrong, my friend. I spent over ten hours on the composition and creation of this two minute piece. It contains both small-scale and large-scale repetition, sequencing, and other techniques to increase cohesion. Here is an excerpt from the score to prove that the music in this piece was thoroughly considered.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 2.57.15 PM

Naturally, a piece based on microwave popcorn would be incomplete without the microwave. A simple organ drone does a good job of giving the piece a “dream”-like quality while still sounding like a microwave.

Although the recording posted here is performed by a robot (because I wanted it to stay true to the rhythm of the actual bag of popcorn I used/ate), I believe that a skilled piano player familiar with how microwave popcorn works could quite easily perform this composition.

I am happy with how this composition turned out, and now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m really craving some… pizza. Haha, betcha didn’t see that coming!



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