​When You Start Up The Xbox One, It Plays A Pretty Song

 When You Start Up The Xbox One, It Plays A Pretty Song

One of the first things I noticed when I turned on my Xbox One was that it played me a little song. It's just three notes, which I've always thought of as the bare minimum number of notes required to make a melody.

Two notes could be the start of a melody, but a mere interval is rarely all that memorable. (Jingles like T-Mobile's can be the exception, but they kind of cheat by repeating notes.) Some of the great jingles of all time are just three notes: Nabisco, NBC and the like. It's similar to the reason most songs (with the exception of, say, Bill Withers' "Use Me") need at least three chords. The first note sets the stage, the second note introduces change and the third note brings about resolution.

When I boot up the Xbox One, I hear these three notes:

That's an E, a G and a D, or Me-So-Re if you're into the whole solfège thing:

 When You Start Up The Xbox One, It Plays A Pretty Song

It's a nice little pair of intervals, which you might recognise from the opening motifs of such famous tunes as the Bricusse/Neewley joint "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory:

…as well as The Carpenters' "Close to You":

It's actually even in the same key as The Carpenters were, the key of C.

When Stephen heard it, he thought it sounded like "Song of Storms" from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

The two melodies aren't quite the same, though they're very close. The Zelda melody is D - F - D. The third note is the same, but the first two notes are a step down on the C major scale from the Xbox One notes. (Though "Song of Storms" is in D minor, not C major.)

The Xbox 360 slim plays only two notes on startup and shutdown, and as it turns out, they're the second two notes the Xbox One plays: G and D.

That means the Xbox One's startup sound is the same as the Xbox 360 Slim, with an extra "E" on the bottom. Hmm. How to interpret this compositional choice? I like to think the added note represents the Xbox One's new TV functionality. The "E" stands for "Extra TV Functionality."

When you shut down the Xbox One, it plays a slightly different, descending cadence: C - G - C.

A fitting resolution.

Actually, now that I think about it… the Xbox One and the Xbox 360 could sing a nice duet together. Let's see…

Lovely, guys.

 When You Start Up The Xbox One, It Plays A Pretty Song

So, there you have it. If you boot up your Xbox One for the first time and find yourself whistling The Carpenters for the rest of the day, now you'll know why.

To contact the author of this post, write to [email protected] or find him on Twitter @kirkhamilton.


    This may be a contender for dumbest thing i've read today...but it is early yet.

      I'm pretty sure it will degenerate further once the rest of the Kotaku staffers stumble out of bed around noon...

      Not really dumb, just not relevant. This whole article could have been condensed into a single paragraph in one of their reviews.

    lol why you guys hating so much this was fun article

    After watching the videos of all those great songs... I can say that totally not what I was expecting. Surely they could have been able to produce more notes and have something as advanced as say a gameboy?

    How is this worthy of an article on Kotaku. Are you serious right now? This has to be the worst excuse for news that has ever been on the site (barring the non-stop stream of those paid facebook game articles).

    Whaaaaaa my xbox 360 played me a song too "Buy a PS3" later it played another song " please don't buy my Brother Xbox one" then it plsyed another song " get a ps4"

    My parents have a washing machine that makes a similar noise when it starts up. Film at 11.

    Last edited 22/11/13 9:13 pm

    I kinda think this was written very tongue in cheek - you gamers need to cool down a little!

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