Here’s How To Play Kraftwerk’s ‘Pocket Calculator’ On A Pocket Calculator


I’m the operator with my pocket calculator.

Kraftwerk are the epitome of electronic music and arguably one of the world’s most influential bands to this day. The sounds they invented have been sampled by hundreds of artists from Madonna to R.E.M., while their strong image has influenced the likes of David Bowie and Daft Punk.

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Despite hitting the krautrock scene in the early 70s, their sound and image represent the technological boom in the 80s and their song ‘Pocket Calculator’ was the musical embodiment of this.

Kraftwerk calculator

The song itself, from the album Computer World, contains a reference to the calculators being able to play music:

By pressing down a special key, it plays a little melody.

In spirit of this, Kraftwerk released a limited edition of the Casio VL-80 calculator, which includes a representation of musical notes on the front. Kraftwerk wanted to see fans play their music on their own calculators, so they published the sheet music for ‘Pocket Calculator’ (Der Taschenrechner), as well as for other songs such as ‘Trans Europa Express’ and ‘Schaufensterpuppen’:

Kraftwerk sheet music Kraftwerk sheet music 2

Well, I know what I’m doing tonight. Might be time to dig out that old Casio from the broken electronics box and have yourself a robotic German techno fest. Sehr gut.

To read about the new app that solves maths problems with a calculator, click HERE.


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