Teen Dani Ochoa 'plays' 'Star Wars's Imperial March theme song with a pencil and paper while Darth Vader looms over the drawing.

Dani Ochoa/YouTube MathKnight/Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA) Remix by Samantha Grasso

The internet loves this teen’s ‘Star Wars’ pencil covers—Mark Hamill included

Math homework has never been so cool.


Samantha Grasso

Internet Culture

Published Jan 13, 2018   Updated May 22, 2021, 4:51 am CDT

Doing homework is far from the most exciting way to spend your time as a college student—but it helps if you put on a few (pencil) tunes.

Across YouTube, Reddit, and Twitter, 19-year-old college student Dani Ochoa’s “pencil music” covers of Star Wars themes are kicking up a storm of internet praise for bringing routine calculus equations to life.

Her two videos covering “Imperial March” and “Cantina Band” are shorter than 30 seconds each but have racked up more than 5 million views over two days on YouTube. Across Reddit, her posts have garnered tens of thousands of points in upvotes, her main post bringing in six individual gifts of Reddit gold.

The concepts behind Ochoa’s videos are basic but ridiculous in the context of the math equations she forms with her writing: using just a pencil and paper, she writes out an equation to the rhythm of a song, the pencil scratches on the paper sounding like the song’s melody.

Ochoa wrote on Reddit that her “discovery” of hearing the Cantina Band theme began when she wrote “x+4” on her homework.

“I couldn’t unhear it. Instead of doing my math homework I figured out what the Cantina Theme would sound like if your instrument was a pencil,” Ochoa wrote.

It started with x+4… and I couldn’t unhear it. Instead of doing my math homework I figured out what the Cantina Theme would sound like if your instrument was a pencil. from StarWars

And even if you can’t quite hear the Cantina Band theme coming from her first video, she’s made a third clip to give the tune a bit more body.

Even across Twitter, Star Wars fans have gone mad for Ochoa’s pencil stylings, her videos collectively garnering more than 200,000 retweets. She’s even been retweeted by Mark Hamill and the official Star Wars account.

“Never in a million years” did Ochoa think she’d go viral through Star Wars pencil music, she wrote on Reddit. “I’m definitely going to wake up from this dream soon, right?”

Ochoa did not respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment. However, she did give fellow “pencil music” enthusiasts some pointers for a clean pencil music recording:

“…You gotta get yourself one of those Dixon Ticonderoga pencils. I’m tellin ya, that’s where the talent lies. Also sharpen your pencil all the way, then wear it down slightly with a couple practice lines. An aaalmost sharp pencil is key. I did write on a pad of paper, but placing the paper on top of a toothy surface like the back of a notebook, or even just writing on toothy paper in the first place would definitely do the trick…Also pressure and direction of stroke really makes a difference in pitch.”

Hear that, folks? It’s all in the lightsaber.

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*First Published: Jan 13, 2018, 1:12 pm CST