440 / 432 HzTuning Frequency

Standard today is 440Hz for the 4th A in a standard instrument.
There has been a small underground rising of looking back to the time before 1930’s when the standard tuning was 432Hz there lacked a global standard for the 4th A in a standard instrument.

Edit: read below for more information.

I’ll expand more on this later when I have more time, but the basic breakdown is as follows using the twelfth root of two logarithm.

It compares the difference between the two frequencies.

I’ll circle back around with more about this later though…

I usually just tune all the strings together like eadgbe, but instead I make them loose enough to bend at least 2 steps. I have no idea what that means.

Alright, for those like ya smears, here’s the breakdown of the frequency maps as they apply to the Guitar in Fret and in Tuning.

The Tuning fret is Centered in each listing under the category FRET.
The far left colored EADGBE are your strings open.
(you can right click and choose to view the images in a separate window or tab instead of scrolling)

The “Tuning Fork” A (440, and 432) is highlighted in Yellow.

Here is 440kHz

Here is 432kHz

i was expecting you to explain why one was better than the other. as a musician myself, i took interest in this…but you didn’t explain anything :frowning: the only number that means anything to me is 1.059…because i recognize that as 2^(1/12), a number i discovered when trying to figure out how instruments are tuned, guitars fretted, etc. (i knew that an octave up is 2 times the frequency, wanted to know how many times one half-step up was)

Yeah…sorry, getting to that.
I’m comparing the concepts atm and I will be commenting on the comparison.

The allegations are that the frequencies of 432 are more volumous in resonation.
One pseudo test I can verify is that a guy played both on a guitar (amped, clean) and my crappy headphones rattled more when he played the 432 setup.
This is not a very good test, however, as I don’t know the control.
For all I know, he turned up the volume between the two setups.

I haven’t tuned my classical guitar in test against both, but I will be.
At the moment, I’m more comparing the frequency measures themselves.

you don’t need two set-ups. you can do a perfect test with an electronic keyboard. what you do is record it at one frequency and switch frequencies in some music editing program, so that you have two recordings, one at each frequency, that are both otherwise identical. that way the test is less prone to error than a dude playing guitar twice - who knows if the guitar is tuned accurately, or if he played it differently the second time. chances are it’s not tuned perfectly and he played it differently.

That is true, but I’m going to do it on a classical guitar because I’m curious about the response from the wood.
Part of the assertions state that the resonance is more powerful in acoustic instruments than 440.

I will also be doing computer generated tone testings as well, definitely.

mind explaining what that means specifically?

based on my wikipedia research (herpa derpa) i think different guitars have different resonance frequencies, and for some guitars, you may be correct, but for others 440 is superior. just depends on the guitar and guitar strings in question. probably different types of wood have different resonance frequencies.

I meant that it resonates more vibrantly.

And you are correct about the differing guitars.
I’m not very optimistic that it will do all of the magical things asserted to it…I’m thinking most of the grants for 432 are myth.

That said, it is interesting to me that half-step down from 440 is 415, and 432 sits between the two.
It’s so slight that when I first listened to the “demos” of the two back to back that I had to flip back and forth after the first time heard them back to back because I didn’t even catch the difference.
On second comparison, I did; clearly, but it was really easy to miss the first time through.

So far, I’ve looked at the frequencies from each map and there really isn’t anything truly unique about one over the other.
They are pretty much equal notable frequencies, just different.

I don’t think I’ll find anything interesting about the differences between them quantifiably.
I think it’s really going to just come down to what it sounds like and whether my ears like it more.

I’m guessing that I will actually like it more since I already half-step down.
My only problem with half-stepping is that it’s often too low to my ear…so shrug this might be a decent middle ground.

Additional dribble:
There’s a trick I use at home to make my guitar, “louder”.
I tune it to the electrical drone of the house.
There’s always an ambient electronic buzz or hum in our houses these days; you just may not notice (or it may drive you up the wall sometimes).
If you tune to it, then your acoustic guitar will sound amplified every time you strike octaves or 5ths of that tone.

I’ve often thought of getting a bathroom industrial fan setup just to create a droning hum and play off of that sound generated simply to create the bagpipe effect at a lower frequency.
It makes harmony rather interesting.

is that really why you want that fan? or is it really to take care of the odors coming form the bagpipe in your pants?


Alright…dug around some more.
Indeed, 432 is blanketed with a ton of bullshit myth.

What I found so far is that 432 is a mythical setting that is consequence of the actual setting alternative of middle C (3rd octave) at ~256, which would consequently make A4 ~430, but no one apparently tuned to the A in this mode; they tuned to the C.
The reason was mathematics.
Apparently this is more mathematically clean.
According to good ol wiki, in the “256” mode, all C’s are powers of 2.

And indeed, if I flip around to 256 pure to C3, then I see what they mean.
C1: 32.00
C2: 64.00
C3: 128.00
C4: 256.00
C5: 512.00
C6: 1024.00

For whatever reason…it never caught on.
But…this isn’t 432.
It’s 430.

432 gives us a non-math friendly line up of C’s:
C1: 32.11
C2: 64.22
C3: 128.43
C4: 256.87
C5: 513.74
C6: 1027.47

Clearly this is where the mythical 432 comes from, but it’s definitely FAR off and wrong.

That said, this experience wasn’t a complete waist.
I did find a nice list of frequencies that have been used over time, and created a fantastic spreadsheet that allows me to adjust my tuning map at the flick of a drop-down…so WEEEEE!

that’s good

if you base the frequencies on a single note with a whole-number frequency, all octaves of that note are always also going to be whole numbers. it’s arbitrary in reality, but useful for music makers and perhaps for people working and/or creating music hardware and software.

i believe, mr stumpy, that this is just one more instance of something that had to be arbitrarily chosen, but once chosen must be non-arbitrarily adhered to (ie it’s arbitrary that they decided to make A 440, but it’s not arbitrary that they adhere to that rule: uniformity has a purpose, what they’re uniform with respect to can be chosen basically at random. there are multiple instances of this principle, language being another one).

Well…wiki said that it was originally 439.xx related to tuning organs in the temperatures present in England, but that once that got around to studio/laboratory reproduction, it was a pain on equipment because 439 is a prime number (in the age before computers I would imagine that would be difficult), so they shifted it to 440.

So it seems the root of 440 is two-fold: it’s a pain in the ass to tune organs, and 439 is controllable at the temperature where such organs were for the concerts being held, and 439 was too much of a pain in the ass to do with technical equipment, so 440 was adopted.

You can read more:

That all said…I did find one rather low tuning that I might try.
It’s really guttural on the E2 (especially if you play an E2 5th, “power chord”), but the A sounds wonderful!
I ran a signal sweep from:
A2: 100.00 (A string open)
E3: 149.83 (D string 2nd fret)
A3: 200.00 (G string 2nd fret)

A2: 110.00 (A string open)
E3: 164.81 (D string 2nd fret)
A3: 220.00 (G string 2nd fret)

And the starting sound is so, SO much more powerful than the ending tone.
Now…basically; this is drop D tuning, but with also tuning the rest of the strings to match back in with your new E string (6th, the lowest).
Though purely by numbers, Drop D from 440 would be 73.42, and 400 runs E at 74.92…however…the ear would be fucking hard pressed to tell the difference between the two.

Now, I’ve done drop D, but I’ve never compared them in a sweep side-by-side.
The end result…I think I prefer dropping E to 440’s D and declaring it A4 400.

Now to fuck everyone up even more and run with my concocted 5/5 timing on top of it!, lol :smiley:

I wanna hear what you’re playin.

I’ll try to get around to hauling out the old recorder and see if I can get something on it…don’t know when though.

In the meantime…if you haven’t already, some more “finished” productions of mine are over in the thread, viewtopic.php?f=24&t=169302.