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Why A=432? The "Verdi Pitch"

Apparently A=432hz as a concert pitch is in tune with organic processes and brings us to more inner harmony than music set at the present international standard of A=440.

The standard was set in 1955 in spite of over 20,000 musicians petitioning the International Standards Organisation. The fact the a few American sociological institutes had related the higher pitch to crowd control and that Goebbels recommended it’s use may or may not be relevant. What is interesting is that A=432 produces middle C at 256 and lower Cs at 128, 64, and 32. going down below conscious hearing we get 16, 8, 4and 2.

Apparently the human cell vibrates at 2hz. How amazing is that? Is it a coincidence that we human beings have a bicameral mind, two lungs and a heart that beats with systole and diastole? That we have two circulations of the blood, one going to the outer worldly edge of body, muscle and skin, the other to our inner experience of the world, the air in our lungs?

If 2 is so important, if 2 cycles per second is the cell’s pulse who designed the second? Who set time at 24 hours etc. to produce a twice per second vibration of cell life? Is it a coincidence that 24 hours produces 12 clock hours of night and of day, 2 cycles again?

How is it that we have two experiences of music as we perform, we hear the music as it flows through us towards our hands and or breath that express, through the instrument what we hear, then we hear it again through our ears.

How should A=432 not be a better tuning pitch if it is in tune with this fundamental aspect of our nature?


25 Mar 2011
Clement Jewitt

I'm in total agreement that A=less than 440 leads to an altogether more mellifluous standard of tuning, though for slightly different reasons. But first I must comment on bodily vibrations. Human vibrations step down with increasing mass from the atom to the cell via the organs to the whole body, and in simple harmonic relationships too! (see my conference paper 'Tuning, Resonance and Consciousness' at ). And muscles also vibrate at different rates: 2hz is the rate of the sphincter muscle, as I recall. Cells vibrate at c.1000hz.
But to the point. All over the world, ethnic instruments of many kinds are frequently constructed on a pitch which is slightly flat of standard concert pitch 'Dflat'. I have encountered more himalayan bowls with that pitch than any other. My didgeridoo approximates to that pitch. (of course one also finds them emitting the fifth, or other harmonic). While improvising modally with colleagues we often find we settle on 'D' without any prior intention to do so (somehow 'C' seems too flat, almost bathetic).
According to Hans Cousto in 'The Cosmic Octave' the earth tone (based on Kepler) is a slightly flat 'Dflat'. There we have it, seemingly. Of course exact math here becomes approximate: as far as ethnic instruments are concerned, we are talking about intuitive construction, pitching according to finely sensed data which can seem astonishing to modern outwardly oriented, sensorily overloaded consciousnesses.
There are of course floods of variant detail in this, related to local geographic, climatological and personal changes through time. Briefly, though, the Baroque tuning more nearly approximates to Cousto's earth tone . . .

11 Apr 2011
Tobias Kaye

Most interesting, thank you Clement. there is obviously far more up to date info available than that I learnt in the science museum, about 2Hz being the cycle rate of bodily vibrations, the rate at which a noise weapon would destroy cell structure.
I have also seen from other comments I have had that 432 is important because it divides down to a whole number. 440 goes down 4 octaves to 55 then breaks into fractions, 415 breaks up one octave down, 444 descends three octaves before breaking up, only 432 is built up on whole numbers.
Yet, as you say, these things are also based on very fine intutions in instrument makers and players and becoming to precise or number-centric is as likely to be deadening as any music based on A=440 could be.

03 May 2011
Karen Grace

Speaking about intuitive tuning I have noticed that as a singer, whenever I am singing something without having played my keyboard first... when I finally go to play along with it, my voice is definitely slightly flatter than 'concert picth'. EVERY TIME. I put this down to the A 432 tuning issue. One can't help but wonder if this is related to the fact that all the sound work, chanting etc I have done has tuned me into what is natural and right for my body. Sometimes I just detune the keyboard to A 432 to feel at home when writing.

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