Burpin’ Tregurtha in B Flat

“Alligators.” That’s the first thing that came to mind when they started talking on NPR about the universality of musical note pitches that belong to the class commonly known as b-flat. I once read a news story about the alligators in some guy’s basement. His wife’s sewing machine operated at a b-flat pitch and every time she ran it, the ‘gators would start bellowing up a storm. Yes, I really did read that somewhere.

I have a long history of my own with b-flat. When you are in a wind band, that’s the pitch that the instruments usually tune to. Orchestras and some of the snootier flootists (and other musicians) tune to A. 440 or 442. Take yer pick! And there are no less than three stable, commonly used fingerings for b-flat on the flute. Just another bit of trivia.

According to the NPR story, b-flat is now showing up all over the universe. A black hole has been emitting a great big, trenormous b-flat 57 octaves below the b-flat just below middle c on the piano for the last umpteen billion years. Sorry, I can’t duplicate that one for you with GarageBand. A stairwell hi-jacks a humming piano tuner’s b-flat and echoes it for minutes after the tuner stops humming. Scientists study whether the noises that accompany various bodily functions occupy a b-flat spot on the spectrum of pitch. And, yes, alligators really do bellow upon hearing b-flat. Not g-sharp or c-flat or d or any other note.

When I was a kid and first learned about atoms, I used to sit around and wonder if the solar system was an atom within a molecule that was in turn a part of some unimaginably gigantic person somewhere. And conversely, what if each atom in my body was actually a little solar system with planets in it with people on them. So, what if b-flat is the basis of the universe? Is there some gargantuan entity somewhere playing a big piano and we exist because he’s currently playing a b-flat? What if that b-flat is part of a run of thirty-second notes and what happens when he switches to the c or a or whatever note follows it? Do we disappear in a big poof of smoke? Or do all the rules of physics that operate in our universe switch instantaneously to something we can’t even imagine? Which might effectively mean we disappear in a big poof of smoke. What about parallel universes? Do they operate on a different note? g-sharp maybe? Yikes, that might be an interesting place!

And, finally, the big question. When you burp Tregurtha, does it come out in b-flat? Anyone know? Sounds like a good experiment for a bunch of trombone players to me!

2 Responses to “Burpin’ Tregurtha in B Flat”

  1. Valdemort Says:

    That’s why Michigan has Vernors . . . >: )

  2. A purposeless knitter in search of her eloquence » Blog Archive » Feeed Meee Says:

    […] Alligators bellow in response to a B-flat pitch?? […]