Concerning the useless fact “Most toilets flush in E-Flat,” let no one take offense. I’ll only ramble, tongue in cheek, through the inter-relationships of concepts, words, musical notes, my musically inoperative mind, and the placement of these patterns in the different octaves through a failed musician’s experiential record.
“Most toilets flush in E-Flat,” made me curious. So much so that I had to hear it in real life; although, I consider myself tone deaf.
As a result, my curiosity made my husband question me if there was anything wrong with the commodes in the house. “Why do you keep flushing non-stop? Is there something wrong with the plumbing?”
I’m chicken. I didn’t give him a straight answer. “I don’t know,” I muttered, “I’m trying to find out something.”
Luckily, he didn’t insist. “Let me know if something’s amiss,” he mumbled absent-mindedly, clicking on his true love, the TV’s remote.
I flushed again, thinking the procedure thoroughly. I tried to enjoy the sound while recalling works in E-Flat. Beethoven’s E-Flat major sonata, the first movement dominated by three descending notes, repeating the motif with expression of feeling throughout the sonata, but then, Beethoven is like that. Yet, I heard no Beethoven here in the bathroom’s flush.
“Think chords,” I told myself. I had a piano teacher who was educated in France. He never referred to notes as A, B, C, etc., but he called them with weird names like do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si, which amplified my musical inability.
Talking about playing an instrument, I still ask, what for? Isn’t listening to music on the CD player much easier? If push came to shove and I had been the ambitious sort, then I would probably want to be in front of the real music makers, the instrument players, and act important, swinging a stick in the air. Who in this world does not want to feel important?
Despite all my musical disabilities, I eventually learned to appreciate the major chords since I’m a positive person, even where playing the piano is concerned. Besides, I loved the C major chord. As well as sounding happy, playing the C major chord was easy. Not the minor keys and E-flat major, however.
My teacher would probably have called E-Flat major mee beh-mole. When the correct pattern of whole and half steps are achieved, E-Flat major scale contains three flats, B flat, E-Flat, and A flat. All these flats, which make me think of slum dwellings, give the scale a low, slightly solemn, but still happier-than-minor-chords tone.
Many symphonies in E-flat major are loud with mournful passages in between. Sibelius Symphony number 5 or Haydn’s Drum Roll, better yet Shostakovich. I adore any symphony that starts with great gusto and energy and goes to the heart without beating around the bush. Yet, I don’t like loud as overbearing loud, but loud enough with energy. I like short fantasias in between to break the monotony and to add color. Hey, maybe I didn’t turn out to be a piano player, but don’t you think I, at least, mastered the lingo?
At one point in my experiments with the flushing, after I thought symphony, I turned on the tap and drummed on the bathroom counter with my fingers. No, not quite. I really didn’t hear the E-Flat.
At that time, I remembered an article in my son’s archeology magazine. Unlike his mother, my son has a good ear and he plays the guitar proficiently. The article said, archeologists had dug out a prehistoric musical instrument or rather the pipes of such an instrument in Ireland. Initial experiments had proven that one of the notes these pipes generated was E-Flat. “E-Flat is common pitch for many ancient Irish horns,” the article wrote.
Yes, Irish music…after all, wasn’t Irish music aristocratic, assertive, and yet sad at times? I googled, “Irish music E-Flat.” This had more to do with socio-musicology, if there’s such a thing, or maybe musico-sociological factors, but I think I had hit on something here.
Probably, I hadn’t heard the E-Flat due to tone-deafness or my lack of knowledge, but the words, I could recognize them. They were suggestive. They had a bounce and a swirl to them.
This is what I found: “Give us a minute” Traditional Irish Bagpipe Ireland Jig E-Flat Major and
the Irish ballad for bagpipes “The Water is wide” E-Flat Major. They did deal with water and pipes, and it does take a full minute to flush. I know, because I timed it.
In another found-in-Google article, it said: “It doesn’t matter what key the music is written in, but the range of the instrument matters… Some instruments are constructed in E-Flat, like the E-Flat trumpet, E-Flat clarinet, and the E-Flat saxophone.”
Inside my mind, I added “E-Flat commode” to the list. Well, why not? Isn’t it a fact that “Most toilets flush in E-Flat”?