Having your own washer and dryer is a blessing. But having a washer and dryer with an end-of-cycle alert that's a jarring buzz? Well, that's not so nice. Yet, over the past decade or so, the sound of home laundry has been revolutionized, changing from that harsh acoustic outburst to far more pleasant beeps. Or, in the case of Samsung appliances, a lovely melody.
If you've ever wondered whether that Samsung laundry machine ditty is a real song, you're not alone, and we've got the answer.
"The jingle is a melody from Franz Schubert's Piano Quintet in A Major, also known as 'The Trout,'" a Samsung representative tells Hunker. In German, it's known as "Die Forelle."
Austrian composer Schubert created the work in 1817 for a solo voice and pianist (the quintet came along in 1819), and it's based on a 1783 poem by German writer Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart. The poem tells the tale of — you guessed it — a fisherman catching a trout. But in the last stanza, the piece shares that the story is a metaphor to warn ladies about the advances of men.
Schubert, however, omitted that last stanza from the composition, leaving his tune to become a simple yet beloved song across Europe.
How did the tune end up being used by Samsung, a Korean company, for its washers and dryers?
"The incorporation of this melody comes from Samsung's belief that home should be a place of comfort, and that home appliances should blend naturally into consumers' lifestyles, whereas the traditional, more industrial-sounding alerts from appliances can be unpleasant and distracting," says the Samsung representative, noting that the song was chosen by an employee and implemented into the appliances more than a decade ago.
Seeing as Samsung washers and dryers don't come equipped with voices or pianos, the tune has been simplified to a series of tones. However, Schubert's original melodic quaintness still comes across — and is certainly a far more lovely sound than a traditional buzzer.
It's not the only time Samsung or, for that matter, any number of companies, have used sound as a branding tactic. Think about the start-up sounds of Microsoft or Apple computers, or even catchy advertising jingles from TV and radio. Auditory cues have been used by brands for over a century — credit for the first commercial jingle is often attributed to a 1926 Wheaties radio ad, per The Atlantic.
As for Samsung, specifically, nearly all of its appliances have a dedicated tune. Its "Beyond the Horizon" melody, a four-tone sound, is tied in not only with Galaxy smartphones but also ovens and air-conditioners.
"Samsung has been developing its sound identity to harmonize with the functionality of each appliance, be easily identifiable, and pleasant to the ears," says the company's representative.
An interesting side effect of Samsung's musical selection is that a new generation is being introduced to Schubert's works. One of the top comments on a YouTube video of "Die Forelle" states, "[I] love how so many people thought their washing machine song was so calming that they wanted to listen to it separately."