Why 432hz Tuning?

A while back I made a post about the 432-EVO streamer and it's ability to convert the signal to 432hz tuning. There was much discussion about why would you convert to 432hz from our current 440hz. This post is not about equipment but this conversion of tuning. I stumbled across this video that offers an excellent observation. This may be a bit deep for some of you and I get it but if you watch the whole thing I think a good argument can be made for 432hz tuning. Oh, and I really don't care if you agree or don't agree or whether you like it or don't like it, I'm merely providing information. Enjoy by removing the spaces.....

https: //www.you tube.   com/watch    ?v=_cHHRXJRIAE



I remember a concert somewhere in Europe...might have been Italy...when we went in for sound check the horns weren't able to get in tune. Yep...the piano was at 432. LOL They had to rush in a tuner to pull it up to 440.

There is no world standard for tuning. In the U.S, , 440hz A is the accepted standard. I recall buying a tuning fork for my guitar when I first started playing and it was a 440cps A (that's what it was called then). In Europe and in the "Way back" it was pot luck.

Even today, I have albums from the 60's and 70's that If I try to play along with, I have to retune in order to match.  In the old days, string instruments had to tune to the house piano for recording sessions and it may or may not have been in proper tune.

Several piano tuners have told me that my circa 1900 Mason Hamlin upright piano will never be able to be tuned at 440hz. It’s just the way it is. Embrace the inconsistencies of tuning. Be flexible when you tune your guitar, banjo, fiddle or electric bass. As long as everybody is playing at the same reference pitch it’ll sound just fine. Enjoy the differences in sound quality the different tunings convey.

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@cfarrow ,

"This post is not about equipment but this conversion of tuning."

Maybe should have read that before posting your eloquent response.

That’s a know frequency where many music compositions are made for its

band is positive ,many meditation music is around that frequency.

Just as an addition, I have a friend who is blessed/cursed with perfect pitch. There are two types, relative and absolute. People with an absolute perfect pitch are very much disturbed when music is not aligned with their inbuilt standard.

Google sent me to a scientific article with lots of interesting information about 440 vs 432: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1550830718302763#:~:text=4-,The%20current%20reference%20frequency%20for%20tuning%20musical%20instruments%20is%20440,central%20octave%20of%20the%20piano.&text=This%20frequency%20value%20was%20established,standard%20tuning%20for%20music%20worldwide.

The standard for tuning in western music has evolved over centuries. A440 is now regarded as the reference pitch. However, not all recordings will necessary conform to that, especially those from the analogue era when producers sometimes used varispeed on the mastering deck if they wanted to alter a recordings tempo.


Someone once told me the definition of “perfect pitch” is tossing an accordion into a dumpster and it lands on a banjo.

Results of the scientific study referenced in billzame’s above post. Interesting, to say the least.  See below:



432 Hz tuned music was associated with a slight decrease of mean (systolic and diastolic) blood pressure values (although not significant), a marked decrease in the mean of heart rate (−4.79 bpm, p = 0.05) and a slight decrease of the mean respiratory rate values (1 r.a., p = 0.06), compared to 440 Hz. The subjects were more focused about listening to music and more generally satisfied after the sessions in which they listened to 432 Hz tuned music.

Apparently, 432Hz, 528Hz and 7 others are naturally found in the earth's rhythms. They somehow correspond to our bodies as well. The former classics, Bach, Beethoven ect. made there music in 432 Hz. I do not remember the year that was given, but it was the French who started tuning their instruments in 440 Hz to make a difference to the Italians who shared a large advantage at the time. Somehow, the 440 Hz, although an unnatural band to us, seems to have won over and stuck. Whatever your opinion is, it does make for a real cool research project. There is a lot of science involved in tuning and at which frequency. I personally like to review the findings of how these different Hz cycles affect the psychic well-being or ill-being of ourselves as psychology is my field.

This is nothing but a silly wheeze. If the instruments had been tuned to 432hz, the resulting overtones would have been part of the recording. Simply electronically transposing the recording cannot reproduce something that isn’t there. The whole thing smacks of marketing superstition

As appealing as tuning into the frequency of the universe is, the '432 Hz is bollocks' argument is infinitely more persuasive.

If the instruments had been tuned to 432hz, the resulting overtones would have been part of the recording. Simply electronically transposing the recording cannot reproduce something that isn’t there.”
Thank you for this great point.  
You are correct in the inherent silliness of electronically changing the pitch of a recording after the fact.  
“Ooooo, now we can listen at 432, honey!”  

Seeking out recordings that were actually recorded in 432, okay.  
Now we have something here.

I suspect that convenience, not wanting to change from the norm, and a sense that the 432 argument is “just woo woo gibberish” has kept us from adopting 432 as the norm.  
Based on the evidence, I don’t see why we wouldn’t just make 432 the standard.  
It seems to be what we like more.

Are we sure that the algorithm used to adjust tuning to 432 Hz doesn’t also change the overtones? The study cited by the OP was double blind and used music that was recorded at 440 and adjusted to 432.

The study showed measurable physical differences for 432 tuning that we usually associate with relaxation as well as reported increased enjoyment of the music:

The subjects were more focused about listening to music and more generally satisfied after the sessions in which they listened to 432 Hz tuned music.

One study doesn’t prove anything but to say that 432 Hz tuning is nonsense when you don’t have any proof isn’t very convincing either. An open mind is a good thing.

Lots of Folk/Old Time fiddle music is played on a fiddle that is either "Cross-Tuned" (AEAE, GDGD etc.) or "Black Mountain-tuned", cross-tuned but with the high E string further tuned down so it is a Third above the A string. These alternate tunings certainly limit the instrument’s flexibility to play in different keys, but they convey a wonderfully folky/primitive flavor and easily allow for magical harmonies and unisons. In other words, a whole world of music opens up when you stop obsessing on perfectly 440 pitched music ensembles. Let a thousand flowers bloom.

I guess my whole point in posting this is the fact that 432hz connects us to the universe. It seems like the most natural tuning. I feel as a species we are losing our ability to be part of the whole. But you have to watch the video to understand that.

@edcyn , what does cross tuning have to do with reference pitch? I don’t think it does. Cross tuning “assigns” an open string pitch sequence other than what is standard. The reference tuning pitch that is used does not have to be different than A440. However, I do agree that being inflexible about the tuning pitch is not a good thing and flexibility does open up musical possibilities.

A couple of things to consider re the alleged superiority of A432:

First, with the possible exception of mallet instruments (and piano), there is no such thing as “perfect” A440 (or any other pitch) tuning. The reference (tuning) pitch can, and often does, vary during a performance, especially in large ensembles such as a symphony orchestra. It is more the rule, not the exception, that over the course of the performance of a symphony, for instance, the reference pitch in the ensemble rises. It is common for the reference pitch to start out at A440 (or…) as given by the oboe and as the instruments in the orchestra warm up, by the time the symphony has ended the ambient communal reference pitch has risen to A441, A442, or higher. Seems to me that for the alleged metaphysical effects of A432 to occur the pitch has to remain at exactly A432 without any deviation. Unlikely.

The reason that tests show a slight reduction in the listeners’ blood pressure with A432 tuning is, probably more than anything, the simple fact that lower reference pitch tends to make the overall sound of the music slightly warmer/darker. By contrast, higher reference pitch tends to make the music sound slightly more brilliant/aggressive. While A440 is the standard (mostly), some orchestras today deliberately tune to A441 or A442 partly for that reason. Lastly, even if the alleged effects of A432 tuning were in fact real one of the reasons that changing the accepted tuning pitch standard to A432 will never happen is that this change would render every non-string orchestral instrument in existence obsolete.



It's a simple matter of practicality. A lot of G and D fiddle strings simply cannot take the tension it takes to tune to the necessary A and E pitches.  I've had more than my share of G and D strings snap. It might happen immediately. Sometimes you'll open the fiddle case, the next morning, to find it happened some time during the night. Once or twice I'd put my fiddle away in AEAE (what is known as cross-tuning) and open up the case the next morning to find the neck had detached itself from the fiddle's body. I remember having my kindly old German luthier tell me "zeese sings happen" when I took the fiddle to him to have the neck glued on again.

The St Louis Symphony has tuned to 442 for many years. 

FWIW, ChatGPT reports that the move for standardized tuning gained ground in the 20th century. From the 1600s into the 1800s tunings varied widely according to region and different musicians. The AI says a standard tuning for Bach and his contemporaries was 415, Beethoven from 430 to 450. 

Given the time it took to travel and communicate, and the lack of recordings, it makes sense that there could be wide variations in “standard” pitch by region. The AI does say that it can give incorrect results, but I’d say there’s evidence for a mostly lower standard, but not just 432. 

it would be interesting to hear some music played at lower tuning standards. Know of any?  Does John Gardiner tune lower?  

@edcyn , I understand what you are saying. While this is really a separate issue, it further makes my point. It may not be practical, or may be impossible, to tune the fiddle to achieve the “magical” A432 tuning. In a way, it’s the same problem for winds. One can pull the mouthpiece out on the neck of a saxophone, or the lead pipe on a trumpet, in order essentially extend the length of the instrument and hence lower the pitch, but it is impractical since the instrument is not designed that way acoustically. Doing so will throw everything off and the instrument will not be in tune with itself. IOW, the pitch relationship between notes will be altered. One might be able to achieve A432 with one note, but the fifths and octaves (just two examples) will be way off with no practical relationship to A432.


Interesting reading. It should be noted that while it is true that tuning lower than A440 has been used through musical history, there is no indication that actual A432 was used; and certainly not as a “standard”.


@zgas-music, in answer to your question, note the reference to Gardiner’s recording in the “End Notes” of the article above.

A point of clarification:

The eagle-eyed who read the article that I posted above will notice that there is a reference in it about the way that the pitch of a tuning fork lowers as its temperature rises.  This may seem to contradict what I wrote about the way that pitch rises as instruments in an orchestra warm up.  Not a contradiction at all.  The reason that instruments go sharper as they warm up is that air becomes less dense as it warms up.  Being less dense causes the air inside the instrument to travel faster, so the pitch rises.

@frogman Thank you for finding this interesting article. I have a few Mozart piano concerti recorded with Gardiner as part of a Gardiner box set. I will say the older pianoforte sounds thin and odd to my modern Steinway ears. Will give them another listen. 

@frogman “…this change would render every non-string orchestral instrument in existence obsolete.”

If woodwind instruments can be tuned, why can’t they be tuned to 432 hz?

@tylermunns, it’s too great a change in pitch for the note to note relationship of a given instrument to remain accurate. When a wind instrument is tuned, say in preparation for a performance, the player (as I explained previously) can essentially alter the length of the tubing of the instrument by, in the case of a saxophone, pulling the mouthpiece out on the neck (lowers the pitch), or pushing it in further unto the neck (raises the pitch). The change in pitch that is required in any playing situation is normally on the order of only a couple of hertz at most. Often, it is a much finer change that is required, even less than one hertz. This could be because of a particularly cold or particularly warm room, or the fact that the reference pitch is not exactly A=440 (or, whatever), or the player is playing on a very soft reed (lowers the pitch), or……Tuning pitch flexibility is absolutely necessary, but there is only so much that is available or practical.

Say a player plays with an orchestra (or band) that tunes to A=440 one night and then has to play with an orchestra that tunes to A=442 the following day. In order to achieve this change in tuning the mouthpiece is pushed in unto the neck a few millimeters. Perfectly acceptable. In order to achieve a downward change of 8 hertz (A=432) the player would have to pull the mouthpiece out on the neck 4X that length. There would most likely not be enough length to the tubing on the neck to accomplish this. Even if there were, the mouthpiece would be barely grabbing the end of the neck. Even more importantly, mouthpieces are designed in such a way that they only respond correctly and tune correctly with a reasonable amount of the saxophone neck inside them. Otherwise, acoustic mayhem ensues and the resulting note to note relationship would be all over the place. A simple major scale would be almost unrecognizable. The same idea applies to all winds including brass. In the case of a clarinet, the player pulls out or pushes in the “barrel” (the piece of tubing between the mouthpiece and the main body of the instrument). If you pull this out too far this creates a space inside the bore of the instrument which throws the pitch of a certain register very flat and unworkable. Brass instruments do this by different means, but same principle. There is only so much flexibility possible with tuning. Instruments have to be designed for normal, high, or low pitch and are designated as such. Also keep in mind that existing mallet instruments are not tunable on the spot and would be completely useless in a A=432 situation.

Thank you for the detailed response.  
Unless I’m missing something here, manufacturers of woodwind instruments could make very simple, very practical, very small changes to the construction of the instruments wherein anywhere from 432 hz to 440 would be easily attainable on the spot.  
At that point, considering all the other instruments can be tuned to 432, an orchestra could play in 432.  
Am I missing something here?

@tylermunns, You’re welcome.

You under estimate what would be required to achieve this. Not at all very simple, nor small. The acoustical forces and subsequent design considerations that would come into play would be considerable. Even if possible, it would not be a simple matter of making the instrument’s tube longer. My previous example concerning the length of a saxophone’s neck doesn’t address nearly all the response characteristic and tuning issues that would result. There would also have to be complete analysis/rethinking of all aspects of the design in order to optimize the instrument’s performance. These include complete rethinking of the bore size and taper, the placement of the tone holes and complete redesign of the key work in order to account for the new tone hole placement; not to mention complete retooling of the machinery that does all this. I suspect that if it were simple to do, it would have been done already. I’m not an instrument maker to know with certainty, but I suspect that there simply is no practical way to design a woodwind with such wide tuning flexibility.

Lastly, at upwards of $70,000 for a Heckel bassoon, for instance and as only one example, there would be tremendous resistance world wide to the idea of all wind players having to buy new instruments. Not to mention the 10+ year waiting list.