Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – no matter if I have said it! – except it agree with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Siddhartha Gautama, a.k.a. the Buddha

Lets play with sounds

A440.   Probably means nothing to some, but to ANYONE that has spent even 5 minutes in the same room with ANY musikers, you’re probably familiar with it, in passing at least and by tone definitely.  

BUT, what if that isn’t what music was originally written in?   Hmm?   1939 was when A440 became the industry standard and there was a lot of kerfluflle over it then.    Before that 432 was the accepted tuning in most cases, but the London Philharmonic couldn’t get (accurate) tuning forks made to that, so they tuned to 440, and thats where the story began, or ended or something.

I have a tone generator that I play with on occasion.  Now, 432 sounds a little flat to me AT FIRST, but quickly gets normalized,  FYI Aflat is 420 and some change (no jokes from the left handed smokers crowd,,,) so yeah, 432 would sound a little flat to a tuned ear.   BUT, what if that frequency were more natural, more in tune with frequencies that actually take place in nature, like the resonance of the earth, or the buzz of honeybee wings???   

SOoooosssss, I played a little bit and hit something a might bit disturbing.   What I did was set up a pure sine wave of 432.   Then I set up a second sine wave of 440.    Running both channels at the same time, the warble was really REALLY irritating, and not just because it sounded cacophonous, more like sawtooth wave.  It GRATED on me, like taking a cheese grater and running it over your face irritating.   I toned it down some, then split the waves across the ears, 432 in left, and 440 in right.   better, but there was still a disturbing ‘ick’ to it.    Now, since my hearing is rather shot in my right ear, (everything sounds a bit distorted like its ran through an overdriven Marshal amp) I swapped.   MUCH better, but still a harmonic there between the ears that was NOT PLEASANT!!!

Just for giggles I dropped the one signal a full octave,,,   OMG so much worse,,,,UGH,

I am half tempted to contact some old friends and see if any of them have those ‘auto tuners’ on hand, and see if they can be manipulated to adjust to a different frequency, not just an established A440 scale.   I would be interested in hearing some of modern music played back in the 432 scaling.

I know you can find artists on Utoob that are playing stuff in 432 (this is a thing these days. ) People are starting to think the 440 vibe has been causing problems.  Personally, I am just interested in it because, well, SOUND,, DuH!!!  

But the fact that there is so  much POPULAR music written in A minor,,,  Makes me wonder if there may be something to this ‘causing problems’ thing.    A minor is NOT the same, but its closer, the only problem being that any scaling that generates such disharmony with another scaling is going to ‘rub you raw’ after a time.    It would be like sitting in a 55 gallon drum while I ran a grinder over the outside.  Maybe not at first, but the effect would build.   We have had 83 years for this effect to build up,,,,

Now, to be fair, there is also some headthinks about the Freq 528,,,,   I did the same thing there, but honestly, a pure sine wave of 528 sound “keening” to me.   I was able to handle a few seconds of it, but then I started feeling,,   I dunno, ‘off center’ is the best desciption I have.   It was just too ‘sharp’ for my poor abuseed ears or ,, something,,, Dunno, but it wasn’t comfortable   

NOW, for those that tell me that I am full of shit about this, audiometrics and psychology have long been friends,,,  I have even described here on this site, how NPR uses certain tools to generate ‘comfort and calm’ in their talking heads voices.   enhance the lower end, compress the overall signal to get even range of the high/lo amplitude, and soften the blow of the 1K clicks, lo-pass filter at 7k to strike the harsh syblance off. ,,,, And you thought that guy running that mess of knobs and faders was just a talented monkey,,,, LOL NOPES, we knew how to take what we were given by the bands and make it ‘pleasing for the ear’. Good bands made this easy as pie, rougher bands made us work for it,,, And you had to make sure that it could all be heard but not so much that your ears were bleeding from ‘noise’,,,

yes, I know what they all do , and YES it took awhile to learn.

and that noise I refer too,,,, That is what I got when I ran 432 and 440 together,,,, Yick,,,,

UPDATED: Before some of the more musicly talented start tossing off about how ‘retuning’ would throw off all the scales, Led Zep was reknown for ‘retuning’ and alternative tunings (thats why you struggled so hard to learn some of thier songs,,,) so No, Augmented fourths and suspended ninths are still going to get you in the guts, the minor keys are still going to pull on your heartstrings, and the majors are going to ‘fire you up’,,,, so long as all the instruments and strings are tuned alike. What this will do for established woodwinds and brass ??? I can’t recall how those are tuned or if the tuning can be manipulated,,,,


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  1. Pingback: more sound stufs | Dio's Workshop

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