The Law of C

As clamorous and clangy as they are, there's just no avoiding slot machines when you're in their natural habitat, a casino. For instance, during a recent business trip to Las Vegas, I followed up on a theory that I began developing earlier this year. I began 2012 in a casino in Niagara Falls, Canada. On my daily strolls through the casino floor, on the way to play the show in the theatre there, I began wondering why, with all their varied beeps and bloops, that slot machines weren't even more annoying. Nerdy as I am, I got out my iPhone, pulled up a keyboard app, and began to find the general tonal center of the madness. And, behold! The Key of C!!!

New York, New York Casino, Las VegasSo, here I am in Las Vegas, wondering if I've discovered the myserious thread that ties all slot machines together. I mean, the machines have to have something in common other than being a shiny money vacuum, right? I pull out my iPhone, open the same app, and begin playing along with the surrounding machines. It works!!

A feeling of accomplishment wells up inside, I have discovered another law of nature! It totally makes sense. If the slot machines were all in various keys, the resulting din would drive people away. But since they are all in one key, or a very closely related pentatonic of that key, they make a twisted kind of sense and blend together in a big clangorous mush. 

But then, the musician in me is saddened. Most of the machines being in the same key means that they can basically have an idiot sit down, hit only white notes on a keyboard, and come up with their themes. The won't even need to hire a real musician to program basic midi files to play in their machines. I guess it's no great loss. The money would probably be decent, but sitting around making 'winning' and 'losing' sounds all day would wear on your psyche after awhile. 

So, there you go! Another mystery of the casino world unveiled :) I will continue to double-check myself in future casinos, but Niagara, Reno, and Las Vegas all agree on "The Law of C".