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  • rbedwell3

The case for A = 432 Hz

I have come across posts that are written by people who seem to be unaware of the relevance of the frequency 432 Hz, even labelling those who advocate for it as nuts. Let's clear up this matter, shall we.

When a note is played, a series of harmonics are heard above the original note. So if C is played, the overtones are C, G, C, E, G, Bb, C, D, E, F#, G etc. Continuing the series, A falls as number 27. Octaves of 27 are 54, 108, 216, 432. There it is.

Now, the reason that some, including myself, prefer to tune to 432 is that it has meaning. By tuning to this frequency, there is a greater connection to the underlying mechanics of how sound works. When I tune to 432, I am reminded of the harmonic series and the unique way that it is constructed in nature. It is surprising that in less than a century of tuning to 440 Hz, the understanding of why 432 was used in the first place has been completely forgotten.

I realise that for some it will not have any relevance, and that is fine, but it is based upon the science of sound, not a mere number plucked out of thin air. Now what is the reason that 440 Hz is used? Does it have any scientific reasoning behind it, or is it an arbitrary number?

I have attached a photo of the Korg CA 30 tuner I use. With it, I can tune to 432 or 440 just as easily. I use 432 when playing solo or with others and 440 to play along with recordings made in 440. The number of recordings in 432 is constantly increasing, and perhaps an app will appear that allows players to drop a piece in 440 to 432 in the future.

For those who don't have a tuner that allows 432 Hz, I have attached a link to a youtube video that has the tone played.

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