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    cobearnicus got a reaction from tuculuxu in 432Hz/440Hz   
    i think the idea of different tuning systems having different effects on human consciousness is an interesting topic, but the a=432hz idea is off base as a way to pursue that goal.

    first let’s discuss what tuning actually means. every musical note contains not one, but a set of frequencies in a precisely defined mathematical relationship to one another - this is called the harmonic series. the differences in timbre between a different instruments playing the same note are due to the number and intensity of the different overtones.

    if the lowest frequency in the series (called the fundamental - this is what we recognize as the pitch of the note) is X hertz, then the overtones frequencies are 2X, 3X, 4X, etc. separated out, these frequencies form the basis of the harmonic intervals that make up music.

    2x or double the frequency = an octave above the fundamental
    3x = an octave + 5th
    4x = 2 octaves
    5x = 2 oct + major 3rd
    6x = 2oct + 5th
    7x = 2oct + b7
    8x = 3oct
    9x = 3oct + major second

    it goes on and on from there.

    notice that each successive overtone forms a smaller and smaller interval from the overtone before it.

    notice how overtones that are powers of 2 (1,2,4,8,…) are octaves of the fundamental.

    notice how overtones that are prime numbers add new harmonic flavors to the spectrum. 2 adds the octave. 3 adds the fifth. 4 isn’t prime, thus no new harmony, just another octave. 5 is prime however, and adds the major 3rd. now we have formed a major triad just from the overtones. the next prime overtone, 7 adds a very flat 7th.

    harmonic relationships can be described as frequency ratios: 2/1 is an octave. 3/2 is a perfect fifth. 5/4 is a major third. the system where notes are  tuned to pure mathematical ratios based on the harmonic series is called just intonation.

    this article breaks it down very well for those who want to dive deeper:


    all of this however is NOT how modern music is tuned. the reason is that if you tuned a piano this way, the key of C major (assuming c is the fundamental of the system) would sound wonderfully resonant, but the further away you modulate harmonically, the more and more out of tune the music would sound. various systems were implemented over the course of european music history, until finally, they settled on our current system - equal temperament. in this system, every key’s tuning is compromised by an equal amount - essentially it’s a trade off that facilitated the new harmonic modulations composers were exploring at the expense of the pure resonance of perfectly tuned intervals.

    so we come now to my point - simply moving an “imperfect†tuning system down a few hz does nothing to improve the quality of its resonance. we might subjectively like it better, but i don’t think objectively it makes any difference. and if the premise is that it is somehow more "in tune with the universe" i think it would be better to start by tuning the notes to the other notes in the music first. this must have a greater effect than tuning them to the speed of light, the orbits of the planets, or something not obviously musical.

    so if we want a more resonant harmonic effect, i would suggest exploring just intonation instead of a=432hz. there is a link above that describes how to achieve this with synthesizers.

    indian classical music is tuned in just intonation. i think this is a big part of what makes that music so special. there really is a difference in the aesthetic quality of intervals that are tuned perfectly as opposed to the compromised, tempered intervals in modern western music.

    this page gives a list of the differences in cents, which can be useful if you are creating a custom tuning file:


    and this page will help you create a .tun file:


    be careful with this one, though, i’ve noticed that i had to half the number of cents correction to get the tunings correct. but i’ve used these two pages to create just tunings for the omnisphere.

    also, check out this video, where leonard bernstein describes the harmonic series better than i ever could (amongst other things):

    i hope you guys find this helpful.
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