I started out producing music around 1997/1998 (my age: 10/11) on Windows 95, which start-up sound will be forever ingrained in my heart. Every time Windows 95 crashed & started up in a blue screen or some cryptic MS-DOS diagnosis matrix I felt literally sick for days until solving the problem. A kind, distant relative, a programmer was debugging Windows with me via Telephone for hours. He dictated long-ass MS-DOS commands & I told him what happened. Bringing it back to life & hearing the start-up-sound again was a relief in the scale of life & death.
Here is Brian Eno on the birth of the sound:
“Q: How did you come to compose “The Microsoft Sound”?A: The idea came up at the time when I was completely bereft of ideas. I’d been working on my own music for a while and was quite lost, actually. And I really appreciated someone coming along and saying, “Here’s a specific problem — solve it.”
The thing from the agency said, “We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah- blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional,” this whole list of adjectives, and then at the bottom it said “and it must be 3 1/4 seconds long.”
I thought this was so funny and an amazing thought to actually try to make a little piece of music. It’s like making a tiny little jewel.
In fact, I made 84 pieces. I got completely into this world of tiny, tiny little pieces of music. I was so sensitive to microseconds at the end of this that it really broke a logjam in my own work. Then when I’d finished that and I went back to working with pieces that were like three minutes long, it seemed like oceans of time.”