### Author Topic: 432 Hz vs 440Hz  (Read 150844 times)

#### WIN 52

• Jedi Master
• Posts: 390
##### 432 Hz vs 440Hz
« on: March 24, 2010, 05:01:05 PM »
I have read a discussion about frequencies of music, and found something interesting.

Apparently Hitler played music using 440Hz which was also a change made by the Roman Church around the time they interpreted the Bible. Before that 432Hz was the tone used, going way back in history. There is the fact that 440Hz does not work properly in music, but 432Hz allows music to flow.

I did a quick u-tube search and found some examples of both frequencies using the same music. The results are amassing.

The ancient "bullroarer", a common artifact found worldwide, used by the ancients for what?

Music & Spinning? I am at work, so this is all I can put up, for now, but a quick google search and/or u-tube will give readers something to listen to and hear what I am talking about. This is something I seem very familiar with.

#### Jonathan

• The Living Force
• Posts: 1,276
##### Re: 432 Hz vs 440Hz
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2010, 05:58:14 PM »
I've been reading about this as well, but can't come to any conclusions about who exactly changed the standard tuning from A432 to A440.  Some say Bach, some Goebbels, it goes all over the place...

Two interesting bits I found said Verdi's music was composed and originally played at A432, and that the original Stradivarius violins were designed to be tuned to A432.

Also 432 squared is 186,624, which comes close to Einstein's figure for the speed of light - 186,282 miles per second.

Aaand, if you plot the Pythagorean tuning for the C-Major scale on a 360 degree wheel, the wheel is based on 16 divisions, and if you set middle C as 256Hz (A432 tuning), you get 16 sections of 16Hz in the wheel.

One thing that caught my eye was when I calculated the hertz frequencies for the C-Major scale in 432.  I posted this on my facebook as well, but here it is... I find it fascinating that the cycles per second work out to whole numbers with A432 and NOT with A440.  Seems to make sense that this tuning would "feel better" to the human ear.

- - - - - - - - - - -

Modern Standard Tuning (A = 440 hz, C = 261.63 hz)
Sources: http://www.phy.mtu.edu/~suits/notefreqs.html and http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-notenames.htm

Note   Frequency (hz)

- Mid Low (1 octave below middle C)

C   130.81
D   146.83
E   164.81
F   174.61
G   196
A   220
B   246.94

- Mid (middle C)

C   261.63
D   293.66
E   329.63
F   349.23
G   392
A   440
B   493.88

- Mid High (1 octave above middle C)

C   523.25
D   587.33
E   659.26
F   698.46
G   783.99
A   880.00
B   987.77

- - - - - - -

Stradivari/Verdi Tuning (A = 432 hz, C = 256 hz)
Calculated using the Pythagorean method of 3:2 ratio for dominants, 11:8 for sub-dominants, 2:1 for octaves.

Note   Frequency (hz)

- Mid Low (1 octave below middle C)

C   128
D   144
E   162
F   176
G   192
A   216
B   243

- Mid (middle C)

C   256
D   288
E   324
F   352
G   384
A   432
B   486

- Mid High (1 octave above middle C)

C   512
D   576
E   648
F   704
G   768
A   864
B   972

- - - - - - - - - - -

edit: WIN32, did you post this originally in baked noodles?  it doesn't seem that baked to me...

« Last Edit: March 24, 2010, 06:04:49 PM by JonnyRadar »
"We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill."  - Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Artchemical Matter

#### Away With The Fairys

• Dagobah Resident
• Posts: 944
##### Re: 432 Hz vs 440Hz
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2010, 06:36:05 PM »
WIN 52 wrote,
I did a quick u-tube search and found some examples of both frequencies using the same music. The results are amassing.

Hi
Do you have a link to the examples., would like to hear , compare.

Thanks

#### Saša

• Dagobah Resident
• Posts: 785
##### Re: 432 Hz vs 440Hz
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2010, 07:03:29 PM »
...
Aaand, if you plot the Pythagorean tuning for the C-Major scale on a 360 degree wheel, the wheel is based on 16 divisions, and if you set middle C as 256Hz (A432 tuning), you get 16 sections of 16Hz in the wheel.

One thing that caught my eye was when I calculated the hertz frequencies for the C-Major scale in 432.  I posted this on my facebook as well, but here it is... I find it fascinating that the cycles per second work out to whole numbers with A432 and NOT with A440.  Seems to make sense that this tuning would "feel better" to the human ear.
...

Thing that immediately caught my attention is the frequency of C notes in Stradivari tuning...
I find it quite interesting that the C's frequencies are multiples of 2; i.e. 128=27 256=28, 512=29...
No surprise that, in addition to the integer frequencies, Stradivari tuning 'sounds' better...

And also, although this could be simply coincidence from playing with numbers, i.e. construction of tuning

...
Calculated using the Pythagorean method of 3:2 ratio for dominants, 11:8 for sub-dominants, 2:1 for octaves.
...

Dmid low -> 144=122
Emid -> 324=182
Dmid high -> 576=242

- Mid Low (1 octave below middle C)

C   128   = 27
D   144   = 24×32
E   162   = 2×34
F   176   = 11×24
G   192   = 26×3
A   216   = 23×33
B   243   = 35

for higher octaves you just double your numbers...

WIN 52 wrote,
I did a quick u-tube search and found some examples of both frequencies using the same music. The results are amassing.

Hi
Do you have a link to the examples., would like to hear , compare.

Thanks

Me too...
When one is on a quest for true learning and higher knowledge, there are no "missing points," only those not yet discovered! - C's
You cannot transcend what you do not know. To go beyond yourself, you must know yourself. - Sir Nisargadatta Maharaj

#### mkrnhr

• SuperModerator
• Posts: 4,506
##### Re: 432 Hz vs 440Hz
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2010, 07:10:20 PM »
Maybe I'm missing something but I guess it would make sense if the Hz or second unity is related to some intrinsic natural phenomenon, no?

Edit :
I mean all I can find about the definition of the second (or Herz by the same occasion) is from wikipedia :
Quote from: Wikipedia
The second (SI symbol: s), sometimes abbreviated sec., is the name of a unit of time, and is the International System of Units (SI) base unit of time. It may be measured using a clock.

Early definitions of the second were based on the motion of the earth: 24 hours in a day meant that the second could be defined as 1⁄86  400 of the average time required for the earth to complete one rotation about its axis. However, nineteenth- and twentieth-century astronomical observations revealed that this average time is lengthening, and thus the motion of the earth is no longer considered a suitable standard for definition. With the advent of atomic clocks, it became feasible to define the second based on fundamental properties of nature. Since 1967, the second has been defined to be

the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom.

« Last Edit: March 24, 2010, 07:15:32 PM by mkrnhr »
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#### SAO

• The Living Force
• Posts: 2,317
##### Re: 432 Hz vs 440Hz
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2010, 07:56:51 PM »
432 vs 440 tone comparison:

Guitar strum:

He says one of the parts uses 432, the other 440, but doesn't say which is which and wants listeners to guess by listening. I'm gussing part 2 is 432, it seems to sound lower tuned.
Anyone here with "perfect pitch" hearing?

#### Jerry

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• Posts: 2,505
##### Re: 432 Hz vs 440Hz
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2010, 08:03:08 PM »
It’s been my understanding that even today tuning is not universal, and that the decision to use 440Hz was because it made the orchestra sound crisper and a little brighter.  Prior to this various tunings were used and tended to be choices based on individual preference.

Violins when played solo tend to sound better because fifths are pure, whereas pianos and orchestras, by using semitones as exactly one twelfth of an octave have no pure intervals other than the octave.

From Wikepedia:

Quote
History of pitch standards in Western music

Historically, various standards have been used to fix the pitch of notes at certain frequencies[4]. Various systems of musical tuning have also been used to determine the relative frequency of notes in a scale.

Pre-19th century

Until the 19th century there was no concerted effort to standardize musical pitch, and the levels across Europe varied widely. Pitches did not just vary from place to place, or over time—pitch levels could vary even within the same city. The pitch used for an English cathedral organ in the 17th century, for example, could be as much as five semitones lower than that used for a domestic keyboard instrument in the same city.

Even within one church, the pitch used could vary over time because of the way organs were tuned. Generally, the end of an organ pipe would be hammered inwards to a cone, or flared outwards, to raise or lower the pitch. When the pipe ends became frayed by this constant process they were all trimmed down, thus raising the overall pitch of the organ.

Some idea of the variance in pitches can be gained by examining old pitchpipes, organ pipes and other sources. For example, an English pitchpipe from 1720 plays the A above middle C at 380 Hz, (info) while the organs played by Johann Sebastian Bach in Hamburg, Leipzig and Weimar were pitched at A = 480 Hz, (info) a difference of around four semitones. In other words, the A produced by the 1720 pitchpipe would have been at the same frequency as the F on one of Bach's organs.

From the early 18th century, pitch could be also controlled with the use of tuning forks (invented in 1711), although again there was variation. For example, a tuning fork associated with Handel, dating from 1740, is pitched at A = 422.5 Hz, (info) while a later one from 1780 is pitched at A = 409 Hz, (info) almost a semitone lower. Nonetheless, there was a tendency towards the end of the 18th century for the frequency of the A above middle C to be in the range of 400 (info) to 450 Hz.

The frequencies quoted here are based on modern measurements and would not have been precisely known to musicians of the day. Although Mersenne had made a rough determination of sound frequencies as early as the 1600s, such measurements did not become scientifically accurate until the 19th century, beginning with the work of German physicist Johann Scheibler in the 1830s. The unit hertz (Hz), replacing cycles per second (cps), was not introduced until the twentieth century.

Pitch inflation

During historical periods when instrumental music rose in prominence (relative to the voice), there was a continuous tendency for pitch levels to rise. This "pitch inflation" seemed largely a product of instrumentalists' competing with each other, each attempting to produce a brighter, more "brilliant", sound than that of their rivals. (In string instruments, this is not all acoustic illusion: when tuned up, they actually sound objectively brighter because the higher string tension results in larger amplitudes for the harmonics.) This tendency was also prevalent with wind instrument manufacturers, who crafted their instruments to play generally at a higher pitch than those made by the same craftsmen years earlier.

It should be noted too that pitch inflation is a problem only where musical compositions are fixed by notation. The combination of numerous wind instruments and notated music has therefore restricted pitch inflation almost entirely to the Western tradition.

On at least two occasions, pitch inflation had become so severe that reform became needed. At the beginning of the 17th century, Michael Praetorius reported in his encyclopedic Syntagma musicum that pitch levels had become so high that singers were experiencing severe throat strain and lutenists and viol players were complaining of snapped strings. The standard voice ranges he cites show that the pitch level of his time, at least in the part of Germany where he lived, was at least a minor third higher than today's. Solutions to this problem were sporadic and local, but generally involved the establishment of separate standards for voice and organ ("Chorton") and for chamber ensembles ("Kammerton"). Where the two were combined, as for example in a cantata, the singers and instrumentalists might perform from music written in different keys. This system kept pitch inflation at bay for some two centuries.

The advent of the orchestra as an independent (as opposed to accompanying) ensemble brought pitch inflation to the fore again. The rise in pitch at this time can be seen reflected in tuning forks. An 1815 tuning fork from the Dresden opera house gives A = 423.2 Hz (info), while one of eleven years later from the same opera house gives A = 435 Hz (info). At La Scala in Milan, the A above middle C rose as high as 451 Hz (info).

19th and 20th century standards

The most vocal opponents of the upward tendency in pitch were singers, who complained that it was putting a strain on their voices. Largely due to their protests, the French government passed a law on February 16, 1859 which set the A above middle C at 435 Hz. This was the first attempt to standardize pitch on such a scale, and was known as the diapason normal. It became quite a popular pitch standard outside of France as well, and has also been known at various times as French pitch, continental pitch or international pitch (the last of these not to be confused with the 1939 "international standard pitch" described below).

The diapason normal resulted in middle C being tuned at approximately 258.65 Hz (info). An alternative pitch standard known as philosophical or scientific pitch, which fixed middle C at exactly 256 Hz (info) (that is, 28 Hz), and resulted in the A above it being tuned to approximately 430.54 Hz (info), gained some popularity due to its mathematical convenience (the frequencies of all the Cs being a power of two) [5]. This never received the same official recognition as A = 435 Hz, however, and was not as widely used.

British attempts at standardisation in the 19th century gave rise to the so-called old philharmonic pitch standard of about A = 452 Hz (different sources quote slightly different values), replaced in 1896 by the considerably "deflated" new philharmonic pitch at A = 439 Hz. The high pitch was maintained by Sir Michael Costa for the Crystal Palace Handel Festivals, causing the withdrawal of the principal tenor Sims Reeves in 1877,[6] though at singers' insistence the Birmingham Festival pitch was lowered (and the organ retuned) at that time. At the Queen's Hall in London, the establishment of the diapason normal for the Promenade Concerts in 1895 (and retuning of the organ to A = 439 at 15 °C (59 °F), to be in tune with A = 435.5 in a heated hall) caused the Royal Philharmonic Society and others (including the Bach Choir, and the Felix Mottl and Artur Nikisch concerts) to adopt the continental pitch thereafter.[7]

In 1939, an international conference recommended that the A above middle C be tuned to 440 Hz, now known as concert pitch. This standard was taken up by the International Organization for Standardization in 1955 (and was reaffirmed by them in 1975) as ISO 16. The difference between this and the diapason normal is due to confusion over which temperature the French standard should be measured at. The initial standard was A = 439 Hz (info), but this was superseded by A = 440 Hz after complaints that 439 Hz was difficult to reproduce in a laboratory owing to 439 being a prime number.[8]

Despite such confusion, A = 440 Hz is arguably the most common tuning used around the world. Many, though certainly not all, prominent orchestras in the United States and United Kingdom adhere to this standard as concert pitch. In other countries, however, higher pitches have become the norm: A = 442 Hz is common in certain continental European and American orchestras (the Boston symphony being the best-known example), while A = 445 Hz is heard in Germany, Austria, and China.

In practice, as orchestras still tune to a note given out by the oboe, rather than to an electronic tuning device (which would be more reliable), and as the oboist may not have used such a device to tune in the first place, there is still some variance in the exact pitch used. Solo instruments such as the piano (to which an orchestra may tune if they are playing together) are also not universally tuned to A = 440 Hz. Overall, it is thought that the general trend since the middle of the 20th century has been for standard pitch to rise, though it has been rising far more slowly than it has in the past.
Many modern ensembles which specialize in the performance of Baroque music have agreed on a standard of A = 415 Hz, an even-tempered semitone lower (rounded to the nearest integer Hz) than A = 440 Hz. (An exact even-tempered semitone lower than A=440 would be 440/21/12=415.3047 Hz.) At least in principle, this allows for playing along with modern fixed-pitch instruments if their parts are transposed down a semitone. It is, however, common performance practice, especially in the German Baroque idiom, to tune certain works to Chorton, approximately a semitone higher than A-440 (460–470 Hz) (e.g., Pre-Leipzig period cantatas of Bach).

esse conscius

#### Samuel

• Jedi
• Posts: 105
##### Re: 432 Hz vs 440Hz
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2010, 10:08:46 PM »
This is interesting. I've read so many different things about 440 vs 432, that 432 puts less strain on the voice, that 432 is close to the frequency or perhaps some multiple of the frequency of earth (whatever that may mean), that 432 is more in tune or entrained with brain waves or frequencies, etc., etc. I read a rather interesting discussion (50 some pages, if I still remember correctly) at Above Top Secret. Some posts were nonsense, but there were a few that were based upon some research, or so it seemed.

I've heard that some bands (rock mostly, I think) have tuned to frequencies even higher than 440 to get that brighter type sound.

Seems that this has been brought up before here, so might be a good idea to do a thread check and a C's check.

On a side note, I have a keyboard with a 'cents' adjustment that can be tuned to whatever frequency you want. I have tried the A=432, and it does seem to be more soothing or pleasing, but I'm somewhat hard of hearing and high pitched sounds seem to be more irritating and lower frequencies more agreeable too me.

Anyway, it'll be interesting to see some of the research you people dig up.

#### Ghostdoghaiku

• Jedi
• Posts: 190
• (Weasel3D)
##### Re: 432 Hz vs 440Hz
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2010, 10:50:09 PM »
I remember reading somewhere that it has to do with the acoustical settings of the large Catholic cathedrals.  There's something about the 432 resonating with the human body to give a spiritual experience and the church wanting to be the only one's to "own" that.  When I have a chance I'll try to find the site I saw that on.

It would be an interesting thing to bring up at a Cs session!
440 A
432 A
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#### WIN 52

• Jedi Master
• Posts: 390
##### Re: 432 Hz vs 440Hz
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2010, 11:03:53 PM »
Really short om time ....

440Hz was legislated in, against what the musicians thought worked better.

In Britain all classical music is legislated to be 440Hz

Adolph Hitler legislated 440Hz in Germany.

#### dant

• The Living Force
• Posts: 2,251
• Those who have Eyes,See; those who have Ears,Hear
##### Re: 432 Hz vs 440Hz
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2010, 12:03:51 AM »
I listened to:
432 vs 440 tone comparison:

432 sounds lower and more sinsoidal dominant whist 440 seems
higher and not quite sinsodial and a bit more "whinny".  By "sinsodial",
I mean it seems more resonant, ie a pure standing wave...

While the above example was completed, another list of 432 showed
up, and the following supposedly based on 432Hz?  I cannot hear well, but
what does this one sound like?

[Tool - Schism (432 hz)]

However, I also listened to this Classical Prelude @432Hz:
(and it sounds to me, more pleasant!)

Interesting indeed!

P.S: Since Pythagorean was brought up, I found this:
http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Pythagorean_tuning

« Last Edit: March 25, 2010, 02:10:45 AM by dant »
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#### Dingo

• Jedi Master
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• The point of no return
##### Re: 432 Hz vs 440Hz
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2010, 01:43:42 AM »
Pink Floyd - The great gig in the sky 432Hz

#### SAO

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##### Re: 432 Hz vs 440Hz
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2010, 02:47:50 AM »

#### abstract

• Dagobah Resident
• Posts: 828
##### Re: 432 Hz vs 440Hz
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2010, 05:08:48 AM »
You know, i just compared the two and I find that I did in fact enjoy the 432hz more.
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#### Rhys

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• Posts: 189
##### Re: 432 Hz vs 440Hz
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2010, 06:37:54 AM »
I'm also enjoying 432Hz more than the "standard" 440Hz, it certainly feels more natural to me, imho. I've never heard of this Stradivari/Verdi Tuning, I'll definitely be "converting" my instruments when I get home!
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