Is there a slot-machine ambient tone?
March 26, 2007 6:15 PM   Subscribe

Any information on the ambient tone that seems to emanate from many casino slot machine halls? It seems to be consistent from casino to casino, and I can't tell if it comes from the combined sounds of the machines, or if it is an underlying tone.
posted by pt68 to Society & Culture (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I believe most slot machines use a major C chord, which is supposed to be psychologically pleasurable.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:44 PM on March 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

A music major friend told me many years ago that all the slots used the Devil's Interval. But he may have just been yanking my chain.
posted by nanojath at 6:49 PM on March 26, 2007

Second the C chord being the base of slot machine sounds, as told to me by a musically inclined friend.
posted by shinynewnick at 7:04 PM on March 26, 2007

Whether the C chord was specifically chosen for a reason, there's plenty good reason for everyone to standardize. If all the slot machines used different keys, the resulting cacophony would be painful for a lot of folks to listen to, and it would drive customers away.

This is almost certainly a case of a "standard" that just happened, where the standard is pretty arbitrary but there's good reason for everyone to follow it. (A similar case: "drive on the right hand side of the road." It doesn't actually matter which side you drive on, but it does matter that everyone in a given area use the same side.)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:26 PM on March 26, 2007

your friend was yanking your chain.
posted by tumult at 7:26 PM on March 26, 2007

So do the melodies of slot machines in Asia use pentatonic scale?
posted by afx114 at 8:51 PM on March 26, 2007

Disclaimer- I have never been near a slot machine making a musical sound.

I note that many, many electronic devices use a 1000 Hz tone. C (2 octaves above middle C) is around 1046 Hz. Could this be close enough for overtones to sound like a C chord?
posted by MtDewd at 5:21 AM on March 27, 2007

I know the tone you're asking about, and I know it's not there when the floor is empty but the machines are still on. It's the combined sounds of the machines dinging and clanging.
posted by jaysus chris at 11:12 AM on March 27, 2007

MtDewd, modern slot machines are very high tech, with large flat-panel displays and a lot of sophisticated electronics. They don't have to rely on primitive sound-makers such as you describe, and they don't.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:58 PM on March 27, 2007

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