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The sound that connects Stravinsky to Bruno Mars

This 1980s pop music cliché dates back to 1910.

If you listen to the first few seconds of Bruno Mars’s “Finesse” (hint: listen to the Cardi B remix), you’ll hear a sound that immediately creates a sense of ’80s hip-hop nostalgia. Yes, Cardi B’s flow is very Roxanne Shanté, but the sound that drives that nostalgia home isn’t actually from the 1980s.

UCLA musicology professor Robert Fink and the inventor of the Fairlight CMI, Peter Vogel, help tell the story of the orch2 sample, a sound that was first heard in 1910 at the Paris Opera when the famed 20th-century Russian composer Igor Stravinsky debuted “The Firebird.”

Watch the video above to see how the sound traveled through time to become one of the most ubiquitous sounds of the 1980s. And please enjoy this Spotify playlist I created of the songs that have made the orchestra hit so iconic.

You can find this video and all of Vox’s Earworm series on Youtube. If you’re interested in supporting our video journalism, you can become a member of the Vox Video Lab on YouTube.