So, let’s talk about my washer and dryer. Actually, I want to talk about the signals that they play when you open the lid or the door, and the ones that play when the clothes are done washing or drying. I happen to have Maytag appliances, and I became curious one day when I heard their signals playing.
I was sitting at my kitchen counter, enjoying a fresh cup of coffee, and thinking of nothing-in-particular….then I heard it. The dryer rang its ‘Hey, we’re all dry in here!” end of cycle signal. For some reason, that signal seemed louder than usual, and, in turn, triggered my curiosity. Being a percussionist, I have an overactive interest in sound which, in this case, caused me to ask – “What note (pitch) is that?” Yes, I wanted to find out what note was being played to announce the ‘arrival’ of dry clothes.
The signal was made up of only 1 pitch. But, this pitch was repeated 4 times in a pattern that repeated itself once more. Da-da-da-daaa…Da-da-da-daaa. Think Beethoven’s 5th Symphony….or, if you know music, the rhythm is a triplet and a long note. I grabbed my phone, went to the tuner app, and matched the pitch by starting and stopping my dryer 5 or 6 times. The dryer was probably wondering what the heck was happening. It had never had quite this much attention, and I could tell it was enjoying having someone play with its dials.
The pitch matched up to E-flat! Whoa! Who knew! Why E-flat?, I wondered. Why not E-natural or E-sharp? Why ‘E’ at all? Maybe E equals ‘end’ (of cycle).
Now I was really curious. I needed to know if my washer would play the same tune when its cycles were done. The result – the washer plays the same pitch, but in a complementary rhythm. The washer’s rhythm is also in a triplet-feel, and uses a pick-up note going into a da-de-da-de-da-de-da pattern. It’s like a skipping-dance-like rhythm. I realized that if both the washer and dryer played simultaneously, we could have a sweet little duet. I had the washer start and stop another 5 or 6 times so I would have proper data to support my discovery.
I need to stop here for a moment, and confess to you that, even though I had figured out that the tunes were the same pitch with complementary rhythms, I thought it would be fun to see if I could get them to play together. Is it possible to play one and then the other in sequence OR get them to play at the same time and create a ‘laundry ensemble?’ An hour or so later, it was clear that neither the washer nor the dryer understood the role of a conductor, so I finally gave up trying to work with the ‘divas’. Each was determined to be a star on its own terms.
Suddenly, I remembered the dry clothes. Can you imagine what they might have been thinking while all the starts and stops were going on? I opened the dryer door, heard a wardrobe collective sigh of relief, and began to pull everything out into the basket. I took the basket of these warm and cozy clothes and placed it on a chair so that I could begin the folding process.
I started folding, but soon remembered that I had laundry in the washer that, now, was ready to go into the dryer. I walked to the laundry room, opened the door to the dryer, and immediately heard a different tune play! Oh my, what’s this? There was more than one pitch and the rhythm was different! “How fun,” I thought. If only the washer has another tune as well…. I opened the door to the washer, and – TA-DA – a matching tune. Possibilities went racing through my mind.
I am excited to tell you about these possibilities, but we are going to wait until – My Washer and Dryer – Part 2. Until then, if you happen to do any laundry, listen to the washer and dryer songs. Let me know what you find out!
Just a thought …
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