Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Here's the musical notation for THX's iconic, ear-melting movie intro

Like someone butchering “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” at karaoke, Lucasfilm’s THX (or THUD) “Deep Note” intro exists solely to pummel your sonic sensibilities into oblivion. The ambient build, the acceleration, the endless, spine-rattling climax, and slow fade all serve to evoke a spaceship’s launch into space, its triumphant drift into warp speed, and, we’re guessing, the inevitable death of its overheated engine. It debuted before a screening of Return Of The Jedi 35 years ago this month, and we’re all deafer because of it.

As a means of celebration, THX took to its Twitter account over the long weekend to share the sheet music for the sound, which, to be fair, is less a composition than a computer program. The sheet music includes hand-written notes by Lucasfilm’s Dr. James A. Moorer. Check it out above.


In its mentions, THX has been urging fans to cover it. It doesn’t seem too hard, after all. All you need is 30 voices at random pitches between 200Hz and 400Hz, which you could probably find at a Bauhaus concert. Other users have been tagging university marching bands in the hopes they’ll unleash it upon unsuspecting live audiences. That could be cool, but don’t be surprised if, untethered from the insulated calm of a movie theater, the sound serves to awaken some long-dormant Lovecraftian terror.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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