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The tones were picked so that the notes sounded like a H-E-L-L-O in musical form. Steven Spielberg, the director of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, said that "it shouldn't even be a melody: it should be more like somebody pushing a doorbell. Like Avon calling, you know. 'Ding Dong.'

You play the 5 note motif in the order indicated below. (The C major scale below is written in Scientific pitch notation. Refer to the Related Links section below)

C4 D4 E4 F4 G4 A4 B4 C5 D5 E5 F5 G5 A5 B5 C6 ....<< Major Scale
.4..................5..............3...1...2 ...............................<< Order you play the notes
do. re me fa so. la. te. Do Re Me ..............................<< Notes in "Doe Ray Mee" form

C4 is "middle C" and A4 has a pitch of 440 cycles/second

It is interesting to observe that these notes are all harmonics.
What this means is that if you let the note C2 be the fundamental or first harmonic of a string or something, then as indicated below, the note C3 is the 2nd harmonic of the string, the note G3 is the 3rd harmonic of the string and so on.
( The 7th harmonic is not a note in the major diatonic scale)

Refer to the below "diagram"

.1..................................2..................3.............4........5........6......X.....8...9..10 ......<C2 D2 E2 F2 G2 A2 B2 C3 D3 E3 F3 G3 A3 B3 C4 D4 E4 F4 G4 A4 B4 C5 D5 E5 ......<........................................................................4..................5.............3...1...2 .......<< Order you play
Do Re Me Fa So La Te. Do Re Me Fa So La Te. Do Re Me Fa So La Te Do Re Me

(The truth is that with the exception of the octaves, harmonics do not correspond exactly with the notes in the diatonic scale, but they are intentionally close)

As indicated above, to generate the motif you would pluck the harmonics in the following order.
9th then 10th then 8th then 4th then 6th.(If you have a guitar you might try doing just that!)

Refer to the related links in the Related Links section below to play the notes using an applet on the web. When running the applet, on your keyboard, you press the keys in this order L ; K A G (Or you can use your mouse)

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14y ago
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11y ago

These things may be called Quindar tones. They had something to do with message protocols- transmit and recieve of the NASA live radio traffic in the moon and other shots. they were background beeps every five seconds or so. This woud also compensate for transmission lag- which at the moon distance was over one Light-second. sort of an auditory traffic signal- go, transit, now pause. etc.

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Q: What is the five 5 note motif or tonal phrase from Close Encounters of the Third Kind?
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