The home microwave oven is yet another dubious musical instrument—like the television and the car horn—that is tuned completely wrong. Dead flat wrong. It drones the same flat tone below, as it beeps octaves above—the “flattened B” of the groaning grid tone, the same tone most machines moan.
These ‘psych-out sounds’, or ‘made-ya-listens’, sure make it hard to make it as a musician in this world. Instead of a nice equal temperament tone, like say a B, or say maybe a B-flat, the microwave drones and beeps a quarter tone between them. The same utility frequency can be found in other home appliances. The 60 hz American Power Grid hums at the same frequency.
The low drone will play as long as you like. The fermata symbol, a cyclops eye, indicates the note is held until the conductor let’s go. Click on the unstemmed notehead to play/stop.
The microwave is monotone, more mechanical than musical, like a metronome (if it wasn’t out of tune). The most interesting thing it plays is probably the “Ready Song”. Drag over the high flat-B 4 times.
The Ready Song is in 4/4, and has a similar vibe to Backup Truck Beeps. For authentic microwaveforms, click the top drone on and off, then quickly drag over the beeps.
Why are all the machines so mistuned? Is this a B-horror movie musical we live in?
Well, the 60 Hz became popular not because of its musicality, but because of it’s mechanical use in railway rotary converters. It has a very long boring history you see, that only fuddy duddies from other dimensions can appreciate.