The music for Tetris is very catchy, but it was actually a beautiful erotic song that was danced to in Russia 160 years ago.

It is an absolute legend in video game history and probably the most memorable title of all time. Even Alexei Pazhitnov could not imagine that his modest work broke through the barriers of the Soviet Union and has become an unstoppable global phenomenon. Placing pieces in endless rows is an irresistible obsession in Tetris.

To the magic formula for success, we must add a fundamental section like the soundtrack. And at the time, that represented dozens of hours in front of the Game Boy screen in 1989, so the music had to accompany the endless mechanics with rhythm. This is how Hirokazu Tanaka, Japanese composer of this version, created the song known as Type A, which you can listen to below.

Beyond the fact that for the rest of the day I engraved the melody in your head, the truth is that the origin of these notes goes back well before Pázhitnov’s birth. In fact, the world was very different in 1861, the year Nikolay Nekrasov is the originator of the so-called Korobeiniki .

Russian romance

It was at this time that the Russian poet and playwright, particularly famous in his time, created the poem entitled Korobeiniki. The meaning of the word is “peddler” and it evokes the relationship established between a young boy who seeks to sell his merchandise to a very pretty girl. The content was published in the Russian literary journal Sovremennik and reads:

Oh my drawer is full, so full,

I have embroidery and brocade.
Have mercy, oh my God,
from the shoulder of this young man.

I will escape, I will escape among the tall stalks of rye,
I will wait until night comes;
once I saw the girl with dark eyes,
I will show you all the good things about me.

I didn’t pay a small price,
so don’t bargain and don’t be greedy.

Bring me your scarlet lips,

sit closer to this handsome young man.

The foggy night has already arrived,
The bold young man waits.
Listen, it’s her! The desired girl has come,
The merchant will sell his goods.

Katia bargains cautiously,
afraid of paying too much,
The young man kisses the girl
asking him to increase the price.

Only the deep night knows,
the terms of your agreement.

Stretch now, tall ears of rye!
and carefully guards his secret!

Oh, my drawer is so light, so light,
The straps no longer lacerate my shoulders,
and everything my girlfriend took
It was a ring with a turquoise.

Katia, the young woman who shares a kiss with the protagonist of the verses and with whom she ends up getting lost in the rye in the most romantic sense of the word, is the main figure of the poem that began to become very popular among the Russian population . The accelerated rhythm and the very characteristic tone were more than reasonable arguments to understand its immediate success, so Tanaka brought this song to Tetris .

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The composer, nourished by reggae influences, turned to the most classical past of music to further increase the speed of Korobeiniki and include it in the video game. Since then, it has been heard in virtually all versions of the work, but variations have also been made for other titles.

Tetris and Dr. Mario, Tetris DS and Super Smash Bros. Brawl are some of the most notable examples, although Tanaka didn’t look solely to Russia to create the soundtrack. We talked about Type A, but Type C is a score essentially written by Johann Sebastian Bach; yes, one of the most important composers.

The German wrote the French Suites, a series of dance compositions that appeared during the Renaissance, and more specifically we are talking about the Suite No. 3 in B minor, BWV 814 . Seven movements make up the piece and, for Tetris, Tanaka took Minuet – Trio to make his own arrangements and implement them on the Game Boy cartridge. So, all the songs and notes that pass through our ears are not exactly new, because in the past they also knew how to create great songs.