Sunday, December 2, 2012

432 Hz compared to 440 Hz

I've been reading about alternate tuning and done some of my own research into the subject. The standard tuning for instruments is A = 440 Hz  This was decided in 1939 and this is the only official standard tuning around the world. My preferred tuning is A = 432 Hz which according to some studies is a more harmonious frequency, in tune with natural law. You can see for yourself with these two water sound images of the two frequencies.


Worth to mention is that there are many alternative frequencies for tuning. Some people say 444 Hz is the "sacred frequency" but so far there is no "right" or "wrong" tuning defined. There are claims that 432 Hz was the standard tuning for classical composers, but this is not true. There was no such thing as a standard tuning before electromagnetism was discovered in the 19th century, which enabled the precise measurement of frequencies. Old organ pipes are tuned to a large variety of frequencies. 

"For example, an English pitchpipe from 1720 plays the A above middle C at 380 Hz, while the organs played by Johann Sebastian Bach in Hamburg, Leipzig and Weimar were pitched at A = 480 Hz, 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."

With this being said, my own personal experience with the different frequencies has been clear. I feel a lot more relaxed when playing 432 Hz on my guitar, maybe partly because there is less tension on the strings. However, there is also a connection to sacred numbers. An lower octave is half the frequency and a higher octave is double frequency. The A string (second lowest) on a guitar that is the one being tuned is two octaves below the tuning A, which means four times lower frequency. For 440 Hz this becomes 110 Hz, but for 432 Hz it becomes 108 Hz, which is a sacred number. (See Wikipedia)

You can also see a practical experiment I did with some friends on the Solfeggio frequency 528 Hz in this article.

For a more philosophical article, read about the Source of Music.

36 comments:

  1. Thanks Patrik - very interesting article - I am wondering what the impact to tunning to A=432hz makes to when you play other notes and it's impact on the water sound image.

    Ed K

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    1. I'm glad to hear you appreciate the article!
      The other notes you play on a regular instrument wouldn't be exact frequencies - a fifth (the E note) should be 3:2 which is 648 Hz but due to equal temperament the intervals aren't perfect.
      In Gandharva Veda music is always played with just intonation which means all intervals are perfect, but you can't switch keys - you would have to play all songs in A major, as an example.

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  2. p.s. I could not play your samples via internet explorer on my windows 7 pc. Not sure where the problem lies

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    1. I have had some trouble with the music samples... if you have Spotify you should be able to search "Siljestam" and find my music there.
      Otherwise I could email some songs to you if you'd like?
      Just send an email to me at patrik.siljestam@gmail.com

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  3. Hitler (Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels), Rockefellers and the Illuminazi made us change to 440 MHz in 1939 (11th September 1939 to be exact).... Let's change it back to 432 MHz.

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    1. Well, my question to you would then be this: how long did we have 432 Hz?
      (it's not MHz because that would be 432000 Hz which is really really high pitched sound that human ears cannot perceive). Before the 19th century the technology to measure hertz and frequencies didn't even exist, and as far as I know there has never been any documented consensus around 432 Hz.

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    2. If you start the scale at 440hz, you have to work with decimals in the ladder... if you start wit 432hz, you get round numbers at all the tones... isnt that proof enough?
      Loose from the musical aspect, it's mathematically unlogic to start at 440hz. So why did they agree upon 440hz?
      We know for a fact that the nazi's did a tremendous amount of research, around the world, on the spiritual subject. It's also pretty well documented that right after the 2ndWW the standard basetone of 440hz was implemented. Cross reference it with Project Paperclip and the contours of a worldwide scam start to become visible.

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    3. Another thing to consider is that many instruments, such as guitar and piano, are not tuned with perfect intervals in order to play in different keys.

      Also, 440 Hz was an informal standard in the American music industry in 1926. This is 7 years before the Nazi government was elected 1933. There have been many different tuning options: a modern baroque pitch of 415 Hz (currently, A flat), baroque for some special church music (Chorton pitch) at 466 Hz (A sharp) and classical pitch at 432 Hz.

      440 Hz may or may not be a conspiracy, but I think the important thing to focus on is to do more research around sound in general and compare not just 400 Hz to 432 Hz, but compare basically all frequencies to determine their different characteristics.

      There is also the question of just intonation vs equal temperament, which plays maybe an even larger role in the effects of music. You can read more about it here:
      http://www.soundfromtheheart.com/2013/10/pythagorean-tuning-compared-to.html

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  4. Thanks for in-depth information regarding 440 Hz vs. 432 Hz. So even if tuning down so that A equals 432 Hz instead of 440 Hz, other tones on most instruments do not "vibrate with nature" because instruments do not have perfect intervals. I'm wondering if there have been any reasons for standardizing A to 440 Hz?, I mean any positive reasons?

    Of what I've experienced so far, I would also say that when playing/singing/listening to music with A = 432 Hz, it makes me more relaxed compared to A = 440 Hz. Is 432 the most "optimal" tuning for our instruments we have (ordinary piano, guitar, etc.)? I guess it depends on the music we are playing, but would we in general benefit on tuning to 432 Hz?

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    1. I think standardizing to 440 Hz has some positive reasons, such as people from various countries can play with each other with more ease, and that there is a general consensus while still leaving the freedom for any group of people to play with another frequency.

      I also experience 432 Hz as more relaxed, and from what I've seen that frequency creates more harmonious patterns than 440 Hz. However, I sometimes play in 444 Hz as well, which has its own unique vibration. It's more energizing rather than relaxing though.

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  5. I wonder who controls the music industry? And who decides in which tune the musicans must play their music?
    I really wonder is it a magic power behind the vibrations?
    Thanks.

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    1. I don't think any one person or group of people control the music industry. There are music bands that play in alternative tunings, but I think most mainstream musicians don't pay much attention to it and go with the standard 440 Hz.

      The power behind vibrations is not magical - rather scientific. Your body is made of 60 - 70% water and water responds incredibly well to vibrations. As you can see in the water sound images, 440 Hz produces a different pattern than 432 Hz. So it is about how these patterns will influence your physiology, and in extention, your consciousness.

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    2. There is something the article isn't telling you about that image (and indeed, MOST articles that feature this image won't tell you). What you are looking at in that image is a STANDING WAVE. A standing wave occurs when the sound reaching the liquid surface matches (or is a multiple of) the resonant frequency of that surface.

      However, the resonant frequency of that surface is dependent on the surface area, among other things. In order to get the result pictured above, you have to very carefully CHOOSE a container that gives a surface resonating at 432 Hz. One could just as easily choose a DIFFERENT container that gives a resonant frequency of 440 Hz, and the results would be the exact opposite.

      The whole 432/440 controversy is just one more example of how scientifically illiterate most people are. Take a physics course, for science's sake.

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    3. phoenixshade, you bring up an interesting point. If you could provide me with some form of picture of video of a demonstration proving that point, I would include it in this article.

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    4. Hi Patrick, I'm working on a project singing/ spoken word in 444/ 432hz. But all of the equipment being used, drum machines and virtual instruments are in 440, of course. Because my ear and vocals are naturally tuned to 432hz, it is off key to the music including some of baselines and chords. Is there a work around for this? I tried singing lessons, but I can feel the distortions in my energy field. Also I can't get my project properly mastered.

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    5. Hi Eon,
      If you are using virtual instruments there should be settings so you can change their pitch to 432 hz. I don't use virtual instruments myself, so I unfortunately I can't help you further.

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  6. I know the spiral of silence theory was in Nazi regime after the WWII scientists found out that people were under control and not easy for them to practice the freedom of speech.
    do you think the tune 440 Hz had affected on people?

    Thanks.

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    1. There are theories that 440 Hz was put in place by the Nazi's to make people easier to control. I know of no verification, and to me a Nazi conspiracy is not more likely than people with good intentions deciding on a frequency without considering its impact on humans.

      In other words, I'm not for or against the Nazi theory, but I would like to point out that before then there never was a standard tuning frequency, so there was no change from "good" tuning to "bad" tuning.

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  7. Isn't the internet such a wonderful place for misinformed people to be fooled by conspiracy theories? Good work Patrik and a fair analysis of the A=432Hz vs A440=Hz debate. Interestingly I feel withdrawn and melancholy when listening to "downtuned" music (440 to 432). I actually much prefer going the other way to A=456Hz.

    If you give everyone a pitch control for their music, everyone will choose something different. Everyone's optimal frequencies will be different. Forcing yourself to listen in A=432Hz will be just as "detrimental" as A=440Hz. Find your frequency, be an individual for a change instead of believing the internet.

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    1. I completely agree that 432 Hz is not the only harmonious frequency - the mathematics of vibrations is far too vast of a field to limit itself to one frequency! I personally play both in 432 Hz and 444 Hz. What name you give to the note doesn't really matter that much, having A as a reference point is convenient though.

      I do experience 432 Hz as a more mellow tuning, whereas 444 Hz is more energized. In my mind, there are several frequencies that "hit the spot" and can create beautiful water patterns and so far not enough research has been done on the influence of sound on humans.

      I made a video with friends of C = 528 Hz, which is the C related to A = 444 Hz, that shows beautiful patterns: http://www.soundfromtheheart.com/2013/06/528-hz-experiment.html

      On a regular guitar tuned to A = 444 Hz, C would not equal exactly 528 Hz, however, which is why intervals are so important to consider in this discussion!

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    2. A=456Hz is the same as tuning A4=430.5hz or scientific A4 when C=256hz using 12-Tet. 456hz is A# when A4 is 430.4hz

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  8. I personally think 444hz = A is the best tuning. I totally agree that 440hz is very plain and "uninspired." I play 432hz = A occasionally, when the song is "sad," e.g. more classical. Most of my songs, which are faster, poppy, rock and blues songs, are played at 444hz. I am curious to see if anyone else plays at 444hz = A?

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    1. I play in both 432 Hz and 444 Hz, depending if I want mellow or upbeat. 440 Hz seems to be a bland middle ground that doesn't have the special harmony of either of the two other.

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  9. Interesting article! I've heard about that discussion before. I think it's possible that nature is somehow 'tuned' to some frequencies, maybe it would have to do with the frequencies of the elements, the orbits of electrons, who knows...

    Now, I don't want to break the spell, but for the sake of science there are some bits of information that should be taken into account:
    In nature, objects and bodies that produce audible sound can be of any size and properties like hardness, density and elasticity. And these dimensions and properties cause objects to produce sound at an infinite range of frequencies. Nature doesn't care about any exact number. As you said, standard tuning is a human thing at any standard, 432 440 or 444.

    So, if you play a certain pitch, some objects around will be 'compatible' (able to vibrate at the same frequency or at an octave, fifth and so on) these objects will vibrate in consonance. That's how sound propagates from one object to other thru the vibration of air. I doubt that a string or clarinet tuned at 432 would necessarily find more 'resonating' objects made by nature that at 440 or any other.

    But how you explain the pictures?

    The surface of the water on the picture, or the patterns that salt draws on a vibrating surface (look for that on youtube) are explained the same way. The patterns we see are due to the size of the plate, or the radius of the surface of water. It is possible to alter sightly the glass dimensions to obtain the same patterns at other frequencies. The surface of the water is not so different than a guitar string, with a given tension, tuning and harmonics. Only it is a plane, not a string, and it's made of different material.

    That said, I don't have enough knowledge to deny any struggle for power and manipulation from 'them' when it comes to standard tuning. I only would not rely on these mind-shaking and impressive pictures as proof of conspiracy.

    I'm a musician, not a scientist.BTW your Blog is fantastic, thank you.

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    1. Thanks for a great comment! And I'm glad you appreciate my articles :)

      I never thought of the fact that a vibrating surface would produce different patterns depending on its own size, and thus different sizes would be in tune with different pitches. I wonder if this is really the case, or if there is some universality to the phenomenon.

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    2. Well, there are lots of small factors to evalluate. For instance, if you create ripples on water (by sound or by throwing a stone at the surface, whatever), these ripples will eventually bounce on the border of that pool and ripple back . The ripples that come back will collide with the ripples that come forth, generate more ripples and so on. Very similar to acoustics. I'm pretty sure of the interaction of dimension, material and pitch. Maybe a test could be done.


      One mind-blowing concept we need to understand is: sound doesn't exist. Unlike light, which is has material existence of its own, sound is just of movement of air or other materials because they were physically hit by something. There's no 'ray of sound' like there is a ray of light.

      Anyway, I do believe that frequencies have some kind of meanings, and a standard tuning of 432 is really different from the 440 standard. I only avoid the temptation of taking false proofs of that - the reason for that must be somewhere else.

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  10. Great read~ I have been interested in this debate ever since two lovely folks from Bhakti Fest 2009 told me to tune my flutes down from 440 to 432. I have ever since! I appreciate your equanimity on the subject. Have you explored the "Equal Temperament" theme? in regards to musical tuning disharmony? Would love to hear your thoughts on that.

    I plan on putting snippets of your articles and others on my own site, I would be honored for a guest blog or a comment! I make end blown pentatonic flutes, culturally Chinese, known as the Xiao, or Shao. My music permeates the yoga communities of the West Coast of the US. www.DragonFlutesRising.com

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    1. Hi Jonathan! I'm glad you enjoy my article!

      I did write about Equal Temperament and Just Intonation, right here: http://www.soundfromtheheart.com/2013/10/pythagorean-tuning-compared-to.html

      You are most welcome to quote my blog, as long as you have a link!

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  11. Hey Patrik! Greetings from a musician and instrumentmaker in Vienna. As an old tuning and temperament freak, I'm glad that people are experimenting and taking control of their music however they like. And I agree: there's absolutely no evidence that the Nazis had anything to do with 440- that's just a typical internet conspiracy theory.

    But I will also say this: there's also no evidence that 440, or 432, or 528, are in any way special. Frequency is a continuous function with no steps. To pick out one frequency as being somehow different is just the same as saying that it's somehow "special" to be exactly 6 feet tall, rather than 5' 11 1/2". If there really were detectable differences between, say, 432 and 431, that would be worth a Nobel Prize, and so far no one has gone for it.

    cheers, Scott

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    1. Hi Scott,

      I think there is some evidence that different frequencies produce different effects, as can be seen in the water images. However, this has not been tested as to what the difference means and how significant it is, or if it varies with the medium or size.

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  12. 4+3+2 =9 perfect number

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  13. Hello brothers and sisters!

    I’m here to extend a warm invite to a fantastic music theory group!

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/musictheory/

    We discuss all manner of things and in particular the benefits and harmonious beauty that is 432 Hz tuning over all others.In this group, we are very open to the ideals of using 432 Hz to cure disease, solve world problems, create a more harmonious Earth and universe, and create a more harmonious society built on the principles of love and acceptance.

    Some topics already in discussion:
    Healing by listening to 432 Hz and excluding 440 hertz.
    Plant growth using 432 Hz.
    How to use frequencies for healing and success

    THE ONLY THING THAT I ASK ONCE YOU JOIN THE GROUP IS THAT YOU POST AS MUCH AS YOU ARE COMFORTABLE ABOUT YOUR OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCES WITH 432 HZ. While many people talk about the benefits of 432 Hz for musical performance, we are more interested in your personal stories of healing, growth, success, and other benefits using 432 Hz. You will find our community to be very open and friendly to these ideas and you will find a novel and unique place in which to share and grow through our shared experiences.

    After your introduction, feel free to start posting immediately! Again, we are really interested in your stories of how you have used 432 Hz to benefit your life and even though the group’s name is “music theory”, anything related to 432 Hz is on-topic according to our admins so share, share, share!

    So please accept this personal invitation into our almost 6000 member strong group.
    We are very excited to hear your contributions and your stories about the magic that is 432 Hz in all things, not just music!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hello brothers and sisters!

    I’m here to extend a warm invite to a fantastic music theory group!

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/musictheory/

    We discuss all manner of things and in particular the benefits and harmonious beauty that is 432 Hz tuning over all others.In this group, we are very open to the ideals of using 432 Hz to cure disease, solve world problems, create a more harmonious Earth and universe, and create a more harmonious society built on the principles of love and acceptance.

    Some topics already in discussion:
    Healing by listening to 432 Hz and excluding 440 hertz.
    Plant growth using 432 Hz.
    How to use frequencies for healing and success

    THE ONLY THING THAT I ASK ONCE YOU JOIN THE GROUP IS THAT YOU POST AS MUCH AS YOU ARE COMFORTABLE ABOUT YOUR OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCES WITH 432 HZ. While many people talk about the benefits of 432 Hz for musical performance, we are more interested in your personal stories of healing, growth, success, and other benefits using 432 Hz. You will find our community to be very open and friendly to these ideas and you will find a novel and unique place in which to share and grow through our shared experiences.

    After your introduction, feel free to start posting immediately! Again, we are really interested in your stories of how you have used 432 Hz to benefit your life and even though the group’s name is “music theory”, anything related to 432 Hz is on-topic according to our admins so share, share, share!

    So please accept this personal invitation into our almost 6000 member strong group.
    We are very excited to hear your contributions and your stories about the magic that is 432 Hz in all things, not just music!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. 440Hz is a tension filled pitch.. Due to it being a 32 cents from the vocal resting state at 432Hz.. Yes I have done a lot of testing with the voice at home.. The resonance at 440Hz sits at an uncomftable place for my voice. its that last note that creeps into the middle register instead of staying in more in chest resonance..

    I am a deep baritone and singing "i can hear your heartbeat" with Chris Rea who is similar to my vocal color and reigster, the verse in E-minor that top note (H3) jumps into middle resonance. I have to change "gears" so to speak on that note and that feels unnatural. WHen I tune down from 440Hz its when I hit 435Hz the magic happens.. THat H3 note is suddenly more in chest.. THe same thing happens at the next upper passaggio between middle and chest.. D#4 and E4 is much nicer at 435Hz than 440Hz. Again even more relaxed at 432Hz but then I feel the chest notes becomes a bit too sunk down for the pop and rock music I listen to..

    THe thing is that you can only go so far above 432Hz before things get to tight for the voice.. Yes you can train day in a day out but the color change at 440Hz for the vocal registers are just so damn obvious..

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  16. I've experimented with tuning ET to 432 Hz and 430 Hz, and 430 Hz wins out. 430 Hz induces more resonance and mass in fluid than 432 Hz, which translates into the human experience as more pressure on neurons than 432 Hz, hence the more visceral experience. 430 Hz is already a standard in classical period reproduction (where the effect is quite stunning), so I don't see any point in people trying to standardize 432 Hz.

    That's basically what people are trying to describe when they attribute magical qualities to pitch. Some pitches induce more resonance in deep soft tissue than others, which translates to feeling the music more inside the body tuned to lower pitches than 440 Hz. There are musicians who achieve this effect with 424 Hz tuning, so it's not a single frequency in the entire spectrum; several can produce highly resonant music when used as reference pitches. 420 Hz tuning also produces some interesting sensory effects, though different from 430 Hz and 424 Hz tuning.

    More accurately, it's bands of frequencies rather than single frequencies; for example, you could probably tune as low as 428 and get the same resonance inducing qualities as 430 Hz, or up or down a Hz from 424 Hz. 256 Hz is known to cause bone resonance, but moving up or down a Hz produces the same resonance.

    A standard must be an arbitrary mean, just to keep things practical. 430 Hz was popular in the late classical period because it was as close as one could get in ET to scientific pitch of C4 at 256 Hz (a popular reference pitch in instrument manufacture in the late 1700's/early 1800's); tuning 430 Hz in ET gives you C4 at 255.64 Hz. It's so close that tuning to A4 at exactly 430.54 Hz is irrelevant, unnecessary, and impractical. Scientific pitch itself is an arbitrary consideration, invented to make scientific calculation of octaves more practical and convenient. It's purely coincidental that both of those frequencies exist in bands that cause peak tissue resonance.

    Search for 430 Hz on Youtube; there's a video posted showing the mass inducing properties of 430 Hz in a tube of fluid. More induced mass = more pressure pushing the bubble in the container down. As the tone increases several Hz, the pressure on the bubble is relieved and it begins to rise, demonstrating that the peak resonance induced mass occurs at 430 Hz rather than 432 Hz. There is also much to be found about the resonance inducing properties of 256 Hz in audiological and medical literature, and in books about pitch written during the classical period that are unfortunately difficult to find translated into English.

    So the science is out there; people are just looking in the wrong places. There is almost no direct reference to any of this stuff on the internet, even though most of it is well know in academia.

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    1. With music performed with modern 12-TET everything below ~ 430.7Hz start sounding vocally flat to my ears and hence why i much prefer 431.19Hz (~-35 cents) on most tunes using audacity.. The difference between -35 and -40 audible to my ears..
      Though I do not think there is no chance in hell that we could get the standard pitch of 440Hz that low.. We are so used to 440Hz and the effect it has on voices that I am not sure orchesters and audiences would be satisfied with a pitch that is relaxed and requires no early register shift at the passaggio.. SOme Rock musicians singing in a high pitch relative to their vocal fach are smart.. Some famous tracks I found are around 427Hz to 435Hz. Old AC/DC is all over the place,, A couple of Kiss tracks are around 431Hz. DAD's "sleeping my day away" are in ~ A4=431Hz tuning played in A#-minor.
      Going down a half step live is a common thing for a lot of vocalist but that is because the standard picth is too high and something very natural with clean register breaks like 431Hz (~35 cents) would completely negate this trend.. The most critical interval though is the one from 437Hz to 440Hz.. With proper technique, warm up and exercises 437Hz is very doable live and sounds better than 440Hz to my ears.. The lift from 438Hz to 440Hz is the one that makes singing in 12-TET completely unnatural for the majority of human voices..

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