Why Pitch Is Relatively Important

If you have a digital instrument tuner, chances are it’s working at standard concert pitch (A440) where the A above middle C is set at a frequency of 440Hz. There are some people, however, who feel this may not be the ideal system…

Music As Mind Control

The western (even temperament) music scale was derived as a sort of compromise system which would allow musicians to play songs in a variety of keys without needing to re-tune their instrument. Although it is common practice nowadays for everyone to tune to 440Hz, this was not always the case: A440 was only accepted by the International Standards Organisation in 1955.

There are groups, however, who believe that tuning down by 8Hz to A432 provides a much more pleasant (and in some cases, spiritual) musical experience. Some have even suggested that A440 was part of a Nazi mind control plot designed to trigger negative emotions in the worldwide populace (the evidence being that in a 1939 conference on the topic, Radio Berlin – under Goebbel’s control – was a primary proponent of the move to implement A440).

Good Vibrations

In 2013, Alexandros Geralis and Ivan Yanakiev set up the 432 Chamber Orchestra, devoted to performing compositions tuned to this superior frequency. Yanakiev maintains that not only is this tuning more pleasant to the ear, it’s capable of unlocking mysteries on the level of consciousness itself. Have a listen to one of their recordings here:

While it’s true that tuning down may place less strain on an instrument – or a vocalist – there’s little concrete evidence that alternate tunings provide any persistent benefits beyond this, such as enabling communion with fundamental oscillations of the universal divine.

In practice, most groups will tend to perform at tunings that deviate quite a bit from the 440Hz standard (and according to Bruce Hayne, over the past 400 years concert A has varied from 380Hz to 500Hz), so the notion of widespread Nazi mind control through musical tunings seems like quite a stretch.

The overall experience of a musical piece is much more dependent on the relation of notes to one another, regardless of what base frequency is chosen as the anchor pitch – it is possible that transposing the base frequency may produce slightly different responses in the listener (and indeed in the environment) that could contribute to an altered experience, but it is most likely that such variation would be subjective and difficult to quantify or reproduce.

An interesting article with more details on A432 and tuning in general can be found here


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