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  #1  
Old 08-24-2019, 03:41 PM
Woolbury Woolbury is offline
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Default 432?!

Just sat in with a couple players the other night, and we all had to tune to 432. What?!! My first time running into this oddity. I was a bit intimidated getting onstage with these much better players to start with, then having to fiddle with 432 seemed like some cosmic joke. But apparently there is a 432 cult out there. Anybody else doing this or run into folks using this tuning standard?
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Old 08-24-2019, 03:49 PM
Gordon Currie Gordon Currie is offline
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There are a lot of cult-like aspects to the 432 movement, and as with many cults, their pseudo-scientific claims have all been debunked.

Did your playing magically become in tune with the cosmos?
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Old 08-24-2019, 04:15 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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I don't know if I'd go so far as to call it a "cult' - in fact, that description seems overly demeaning and pejorative for something as benign as tuning to A432 instead of A440. It's not as though people are being forced to live in ashrams, donate all their money, fed a low protein diet, denied sleep and encouraged to cut all ties with their families because of it.

No, so far as I can see it's just an example of an idea spread through the Internet that makes some sense to some people, even though its arguments tend to be circular and there's no scientific proof of its claims.

There's no harm in it. Tuning that little bit lower than what's now standard pitch in most Western countries places a little bit less tension on the instruments, so it's not going to physically damage anything.

The precise pitch of what's considered concert pitch has varied, historically speaking; the instruments that Johann Sebastian Bach and his contemporaries composed for were tuned lower than what's considered concert pitch now, and in Japan and China these days most musicians are tuning a bit higher than A440. They're tuned up higher to A444 or A445, or so I've been told.

So there's nothing sacred or carved in stone about any of it.

Attributing positive health benefits to using A432 instead of A440 is silly, but it doesn't really hurt anything.


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Old 08-24-2019, 11:09 PM
GoneTroppo GoneTroppo is offline
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I enjoy playing tuned to A=432 and it seems my guitars generally like it. But I am not fanatical, I often tune to A=440 and I also often tune a whole step down to D# rather than E.

Once a fiddler I play with did complain about tuning to 432 because it felt very strange for him being so used to 440, so generally when playing with others I just go to 440 to avoid confusion, detailed explanations or funny looks...
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Old 08-25-2019, 12:30 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Some folks have made a few outlandish claims as to the benefits of tuning to A332 rather than to A440, but since nobody is putting guns to people’s heads FORCING them to tune to A332 I can’t find too much to be alarmed about.

To me it’s no more sinister or threatening than believing all that “pyramid power” nonsense that was fashionable among the easily swayed back when I was a college student. I remember a few impassioned soliloquies on the subject of that and the Bermuda Triangle back when a few of us were sitting around and, uh, communing with each other. Those outbursts would be met by a brief, slightly awkward silence, then someone would say:

“Yeah, whatever, man. Let’s roll another one...”

Short version: I’m not going to lose any sleep over any of this. Not until armed vigilantes start going door to door and arresting people who tune to A440, anyway.


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Old 08-25-2019, 05:58 AM
musicman1951 musicman1951 is offline
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I suspect there are guitars that would sound better to your ear at 432 and others that would sound a little dull (no words really word) at the lower tuning.

There are videos on youtube that compare the two, but generally my ear tends to like whichever tuning I hear first.

To be out of tune with the world at large seems an inconvenience not currently justified by any improvement in tone - for my guitars and my ears.
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:48 AM
Oldguy64 Oldguy64 is offline
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IMHO, 432 has a mellower tone.
But I only play in 432 in my living room, by my onesie.

But it is essentially a sweetened tuning like James Taylor’s preferred tuning.
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Old 08-25-2019, 11:29 AM
jklotz jklotz is offline
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I played some guitar parts on a demo that was recorded at 432 a while back. Other than having to figure out what those little buttons do on the back of the tuner, it seems fairly inconsequential to me. The singer was a baritone, so maybe it helped him ever so slightly?

I certainly didn't feel any more connected to the cosmos.
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Old 08-25-2019, 11:50 AM
Misifus Misifus is offline
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When I was in college, back in the sixties, a friend and I took his parents to a folk music concert. After the show, he asked his mother how she liked the concert. She replied that it was alright, but the musicians were all out of tune. I hadn’t noticed anything dissonant in the performance and said so. She enlightened me as to the difference between being in relative tune and being properly tuned to A=440. It turns out she was a prefessional concert harpist and was blessed (or burdened) with perfect pitch. She wasn’t picking nits, but she heard the difference. 432 would make playing in tune a challenge for any musician with perfect pitch.
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Old 08-25-2019, 02:43 PM
Tico Tico is offline
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There is nothing out there in the universe, physics, or math that makes one reference frequency better than another.
References are simply agreements by music's big wigs of the day.
I'm sure every change was supported by impressive sounding "reasons".

The agreed-to reference that instruments are tuned to has been creeping up in frequency for centuries.

In Europe the widely agreed-to reference frequency has already risen above what is still widely agreed-to in America, 440 Hz.
For example the Austrian Bösendorfer Pianos (most priced over $100,000.00) are designed to sound their best when tuned near 443.

Eventually there will be a "cult" for the tiny minority that still clings to 440.

To each their own.

Last edited by Tico; 08-25-2019 at 05:52 PM.
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