23 February 2021

A supercut of typewriter use

As a touch typist, I don't mind when cinema portrayals depict typists "hunting and pecking," but I am tired of seeing actors who alternate left-right-left-right-left-right...

The music for this is exactly what you would expect.
The typewriter was modified so that only two keys work to prevent the keys from jamming. According to the composer himself, as well as other musicians, the typewriter part is difficult because of how fast the typing speed is: even professional stenographers cannot do it, and only professional drummers have the necessary wrist flexibility...

Michael Kamen used this composition as the musical basis for "the Office" theme for the Ministry of Information in Terry Gilliam's Brazil.  When Mrs. Buttle's cheque for her dead husband is filed in the Ministry of Information a tune is played on typewriters interwoven with orchestral music to symbolize a stuffy bureaucratic atmosphere. The same music is also used later in the film when Sam joins the Ministry of Information and is then met with Mr. Warrenn and his many yes-men.

Via Neatorama

RelatedTouch typing (not)


  1. Before learning touch typing, I hunted and pecked alternating hands. Made sense to me. I learned to type in a high school summer class which ended before we got to the top row of keys. To this day I H&P the numerals and symbols.

  2. Rosalind Warfield-BrownFebruary 24, 2021 at 9:58 AM

    This could have been me years ago.

  3. Ahhh, typing class, in junior high no less. I think it was 8th grade, maybe? I was proficient, but not fast and certainly not without errors, lol. I played the the flute though and could get a pretty good speed up. I have to look at the keyboard now though it's easy to switch between touch typing and not. I think most computer keys are a little close together to make typing at a rate of speed comfortable, though. Typewriters have the keys spaced a little further apart. My fingers used to ache in the pre-electric typewriter days.

    1. I have said publicly (and truly believe) that typing was the single most useful course I took in high school. It was a mandatory eighth-grade course in a boys' school in the 1960s, and was scoffed at by some students as "something for girls." But it sped me through college and graduate school and life in general (including blogging).

      The course was taught by a secretary at the school, so some years ago I wrote to the school to ascertain her name and retirement address, and I wrote her a letter (typed) expressing my appreciation to her for teaching that skill. I'll bet it was the only thank-you she ever received.

      One of my classmates told me he secured a clerkship with a Supreme Court judge based on his ability to type (the judge was short of clerical staff). Another one told me that during the Vietnam War, his ability to type resulted in a stateside clerical position in San Francisco rather than a combat one in the war zone.


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