A=432Hz: Truth, Lies and Creative Story Telling ~
Goodhart, July 2015
of us in the Sound Healing community, as well as many in
the New Age, energy healer, esoteric spirituality communities
at large have likely heard about the mystical or sacred
tone and tuning of the reference note A to the frequency
of 432Hz. There is quite a bit of information spread all
over the internet on websites and videos about this phenomena,
including all sorts of historical references, health effects
of 432 vs. 440, and even mind control conspiracies involving
Joseph Goebbels and the Nazis and the shady workings of
a former United States military man named JC Deagan.
me get straight to the point: nearly all of this information
is blatantly false.
This may be unfortunate for those building careers as mystics
or healers using the esotericism and mystique of 432 as
one of their foundation blocks, however it is up to them
to allow in new awareness and let go of where they have
been misguided. For those who knowingly propagate these
lies in order to sell products and services, it is up to
us not to buy into them, as well as to speak the truth and
raise the collective awareness when opportunity to do so
Aware of the opportunity and risk of writing a very long
and detailed article here, I will instead attempt to keep
it reasonably brief and more simply cover some of the primary
claims and evidence.
where to begin......
First off, many in the 432 movement speak of
a return to the former tuning standard of A=432Hz,
turning back from the international conference in 1939 that
set A=440 as the standard (thus initiating all sorts of
modern ills, intentionally or not, through this unnatural
vibration, or so 432 proponents claim).
REALITY: There NEVER was a standard of 432Hz agreed
upon by countries, cultures or concert halls in known recorded
history. The only historical records we have of 432Hz as
a tuning standard are it being proposed in Brussels, Belgium
in 1876, and again in Milan, Italy in 1881. Further, A=440Hz
has been around as a reference pitch in a number of locations
in Europe since at least 1812 well before Goebbels,
Deagan or the Nazis were even born. The truth is, the "standard"
pitch for A has historically been all over the place, from
approximately 370Hz on up to at least 455Hz, but almost
never 432Hz. (In Germany, some early simple pipe organs
had an A as high as 567Hz!) Some concert halls in Europe
still use A=444Hz and throughout the 1800's it was anywhere
from about 422Hz up to 452Hz , though never officially 432Hz,
except possibly in Italy in the early 1880's.
The history of pitch standards is an extensive one and it
would take several pages to even briefly discuss it here.
Search the internet and see the links below if you are interested
to know more. I'll simply add that in 1859 a French government
commission made A=435 the law in France, and in 1896 Britain
made A=439 the standard in that country. There continued
to be no standard in North America well into the 20th century.
A primary basis for choosing A=440 was as a compromise between
opera singers who preferred a lower pitch standard to preserve
their vocal health and orchestras and instrument makers
who preferred a higher pitch standard as it made instruments
brighter, project further and fill increasingly larger concert
halls more effectively.
Mozart tuned his piano to A=432.
REALITY: Mozart used an A=421.6 fork as a tuning
standard. (Some note the tuning fork that was owned by Mozart
as measuring at A=421, other sources round it off to A=422.)
CLAIM: Stradivari made his violins to be tuned to
REALITY: There is no known documentation of this
intent. Again, there was no 432 pitch standard in his day
for musicians to be tuning their violins to. What we do
know is that with one carefully disassembled Strad, the
front plate had one of several tap tones at a C=512Hz, which
would relate to an A=426.66 in Just intonation, 432 in Pythagorean
5ths, and 430.5 in Equal Temperment. But do we even have
any idea that this is what Stradivari was aiming for with
that tap tone, and if so, why? (Classical string ensembles
are usually playing in just intonation for the aim of good
harmony and soloists and lead melody aim for both just intonation
and Pythagorean 5ths, as well as expressive intonation,
depending on what notes, harmony and emotion they are playing.)
Pitch standards were generally much lower than A440 during
Stradivari's golden years of instrument making
(1700-1720's), but they were also much lower than A432.
Known references from that period mostly fall into the 404Hz
415Hz range. The tuning fork was invented by British
musician John Shore in 1711 and one of his forks is still
in existence which measures at a pitch of A=423.5Hz, sitting
at the higher end of the common range of that period. Why
would we have justifiable reason to surmise that Stradivari
was making instruments designed to be tuned much
higher than the tuning practices of his day? Most importantly
however, it is not desirable to have the resonant tones
of a violin match the string pitch and reference tuning
as you then get annoyingly exaggerated notes called wolf
tones, which are a very real problem with violins.
Instead, you want the instrument resonances to be off scale,
or in between the scale tones, ideally around 20 to 40 cents
off. If there were any evidence of intent to be found in
that 512Hz tap tone it would more likely be that Stradivari
was expecting his violin to not be tuned to an A=432
Pythagoras and the ancient Greeks tuned to A=432Hz.
REALITY: Pythagoras mathematically figured out scales
and tuning using numbers as ratios but not as measured frequencies
in Hertz, i.e., cycles per second. Beginning with the number
1 and then doubling for octaves (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128,
256, 512 etc...), we get a note of 128. Beginning with C=128
and using Pythagorean 5ths (aka Twelve True Fifths) tuning
we do get an A=432. But again, Pythagoras was using convenient
and logical whole numbers as ratios, NOT measuring
frequencies nor tuning to those numbers as cycles per second
frequencies of sound waves.
There are two primary reasons for this:
1. Pythagoras did not have the technology to measure the
frequency of sound waves.
2. Pythagoras and the ancient Greeks did not measure time
with the unit of the second, as that unit of
time measurement had not been created yet!
(A review of tuning systems and practices is a whole other
very lengthy discussion, but it should also be noted that
Twelve True Fifths doesn't create a perfectly
tuned 12 note scale it actually results in one badly
out of tune interval as well as other intervals, particularly
3rds and 6ths that are not in good harmonic tuning with
each other. 'A' is the Major 6th of 'C'. To begin with a
C=128, we get a G=192, D=288 and A=432 in this system. The
octave of C128 is C256. The perfect Major 6th of C256, in
a naturally tuned ratio of 5/3, is actually an A=426.66.
The mystical 432 is way out of tune with this. Any master
string player or vocalist, or any master musician on an
instrument with movable pitch will be playing that A426,
not A432, in true and natural harmony with C256.)
CLAIM: Ancient Egyptians tuned their instruments
REALITY: False again. Not only no historical evidence
of this, but also no evidence they were measuring sound
vibrations in cycles per anything, let alone the unit of
time we call the second, which, like the ancient
Greeks, they didn't have.
CLAIM: "Even the Tibetan singing bowl is tuned
to 432Hz." (Actual quote from a 432 website).
REALITY: Again, entirely false. For one thing "the
Tibetan singing bowl"?? There are thousands of bowls,
hundreds of forms and styles of making them. Most bowls
have very complex harmonics and none have a pitch reference
"Shamans and even other religions use the 432Hz tone
in their songs, during the Ayahuasca healing ceremony."
(Actual quote from a 432 website).
REALITY: More complete untruth. The ayahuascaros
and other shamans are working with the tones of their voices
as they exist for them in that moment. They are not working
with a universal "perfect pitch" sense that magically
tunes them into a 432Hz reference. There is no common standard
of pitch or tuning in their ceremonies and singing.
" ...the sounds, birds, frogs, running water etc...
These sounds consist of vibrational frequency, which is
measured in Hertz (Hz). All of these natural harmonics vibrate
at 432 Hz, and its the natural frequency of the universe."
(Actual quote from a 432 website).
REALITY: Complete nonsense that the sounds of birds,
frogs, running water etc "vibrate at 432Hz". The
sound of running water is a dense complexity of frequencies
that is essentially "white noise", without any
clear measurable tone, and there are infinite versions of
the sound of running water. Birds have no perfect pitch
or pitch standard reference exhibited at all. Additionally,
the natural frequency of the universe is an
absurdly nonsensical statement with absolutely no grounding
in anything observable. We have not found nor measured any
fundamental or natural frequency of the universe.
The universe is comprised of all possible frequencies. Will
we someday discover a primal vibration at the root of all
of creation? Will we someday find the original Om
vibrating somewhere in space and be able to measure it?
Maybe. How cool would that be! Will it be a 432Hz tone?
Some info regarding measurement of time and measurement
of sound wave frequency in cycles per second (or Hertz,
abbreviated as Hz):
The unit of time that we call the second was
introduced conceptually by the Persian Muslim scholar and
mathematician al-Biruni around 1000AD. The second
means the second division of the hour by 60.
The earliest clocks to display seconds didn't appear until
the last half of the 16th century, though they were not
accurate. Pendulum clocks created in 1644 by the French
philosopher, mathematician and music theorist Marin Mersenne
provided the first known accurate measurement of the second.
Mersenne also was able to make rough measurements of low
tone frequencies, and Joseph Sauveur improved on the accuracy
in the early 1700's, however such measurements did not become
scientifically accurate until the 1830's, beginning with
the work of German physicist Johann Scheibler. Prior to
this time, the actual frequencies of tuning forks owned
or used by Mozart, Handel and others were generally not
known to their users. DaVinci developed the idea of sound
waves around 1500 and Galileo demonstrated this idea around
1600. Any reference to sound waves being accurately measured,
or instruments tuned to any vibrations per second numerical
standard before this time in recorded history are not true.
It also needs to be noted that frequency measurements are
not "real" in that they are not actually indicating
a phenomenon that contains anything numbered. The notes
that we call 432 or 440 or 528 etc do NOT have those numbers
associated with them in the actual manifestation of the
phenomena. There are no 432 of anything happening in a 432Hz
tone. It is ONLY a measurement of rate or speed made against
the artificial time grid of the unit or space of time we
call a "second" that gives us a numerical identity.
Only if we are listening to a sound for precisely one second
will we be experiencing 432 vibrations from a 432Hz tone.
Virtually never do we experience music in such a manner.
Sound and music are vibration happening in various and complex
ratios, but NOT in numbered quantity, thus rendering any
imagined or possible mystical or sacred quality associated
with the number 432 meaningless in relation to listening
to or otherwise receiving sound and music vibrations. A
particular leaf having five points, or a cluster of seven
pine needles on a certain species of pine tree are actual
real numbered phenomena.... not so with sound
other piece of cosmic evidence that is often
presented in support of 432 that I'd like to address here:
Precession of the Equinoxes
CLAIM: 432 x 60 = 25,920 which in Earth years is
the time length of Precession. This has also been presented
with the support of Saturn's year of 30 Earth years (432
x 30 x 2 = 25,920.)
REALITY: Precession of the Equinoxes actually takes
25,772 years. Additionally, Saturn's year is equal to 29.46
Earth years, not 30. So the numbers need to be adjusted
to make it appear as a cosmically perfect (the natural
frequency of the universe??) alignment with 432.
Ironically, (or maybe it's the cosmic joker at play) If
we do the math using the correct precession number of 25,772
and a Saturn year of 29.46 we get 437.41 a lot closer
to 440 than 432. If we use the incorrect precession count
of 25,920, which is needed to make 432 neatly work, and
use the accurate Saturn year of 29.46, we get a result of
439.92 which for practical purposes is 440!!
and in my experience as well as that of my most respected
teachers and colleagues, there is no sacred
note or special tuning magic pill to be found. The reality
of music and sound and their effects on life, health and
healing are far more complex than any particular note or
reference pitch standard. One's state of consciousness ultimately
comes from within and it comes from finding balance and
flow in relation to the countless phenomenon existing all
around us and moving through us. The consciousness, attunement,
awareness, intent and skill of an artist determines the
energy transmitted, not reference pitch. The conscious,
cultivated and intentional (and even occasionally accidental!)
use of sound can be a very potent, sometimes even seemingly
miraculous, healing tool. The best sound healers I've ever
known or experienced spent decades cultivating their art,
often with the assistance of deep and profound life initiations.
Their art and skill was never about simple fixes or magic
pills, nor adherence to any sort of external, imposed
structure or contrived dogma. That there may be cultural
programming and societal mind control perpetrated though
modern music as some 432 proponents claim is not what I
am arguing against. But it's existence is in the lyrics,
rhythms and other design factors of the music, NOT in the
reference pitch - AND it only works if you unthinkingly
subject yourself to it, like is also possible with TV commercials,
"reality TV shows, corporate news, etc, etc,
etc. Lowering the pitch reference by 8Hz - to a new
standard, not an old one - isn't going to change any of
~ Copyright 2015, Rich Goodhart ~
In regard to the various 432 claims, I have no interest
or need to call out anyone by name. Between websites, YouTube
videos and various blog and forum postings, there are probably
hundreds of opportunities to read or hear the same or similar
claims a large amount of which are simply copying
and pasting the same material without applying any original
or critical thought. These pages are easy to find, and if
you are reading this article then you may well be already
informed of the cosmic attunement of the mystical
432Hz. Regardless of their proliferation, repeating falsehoods
countless times does not make them true.
I will note the name of Leonard Horowitz who makes some
rather grand claims regarding A=440, however he proposes
A=444 and C=528 as the natural frequencies,
not 432. Yes, there's a 528 movement too. The
writings of Mr. Horowitz is a discussion in itself and not
for the scope of this brief article. You can easily find
plenty about his ideas on the internet.
It may be noted that Greek mathematician Ptolemy actually
described the second as 1/60th of a minute around 150 AD.
However he was measuring space, i.e., one degree of angle
divided into 60 minutes, divided into 60 seconds. He was
not applying it to the measurement of time.
Italian opera composer Verdi did propose A=432 in the late
19th century as a slight lowering of the French 435 standard,
for vocal reasons. There is no evidence that he did so for
philosophical, spiritual or cosmic reasons.
As mentioned, using Pythagorean 5th's as a static tuning
system does not create in tune harmony throughout. In Just
or Perfect Intonation, C=256 yields an A=426.66. In equal
temperment, which is an imperfectly harmonized system of
compromises designed so that pianos, organs and other fixed
pitch instruments can be played equally in all keys, C=256
yields an A=430.5. In regard to Mr. Horowitz's numbers,
A=444 and C=528 coexist in equal temperment. Ironically,
in Perfect Intonation, it is A=440 that aligns with the
mystical C=528. If we are going to explore the
potential health or consciousness affecting properties of
music, we might want to consider actual naturally
occurring harmonic relationships rather than being
caught up in anyone's obsession with abstract numbers.
One further note:
You may prefer your music detuned to an A=432Hz reference,
even if the effect is simply the novelty of a new sound
to your ears or the result of a placebo effect. That's fine
and who am I to argue with that? Tuning anything down from
whatever you are used to is going to give it a softer tone.
However, using digital software on your computer to lower
the pitch of recorded music (a practice the 432'ers use
to provide evidence) does not give you
something real in terms of it being what you
would have gotten if the musicians had tuned their instruments
to A=432 in the first place. Changing the tuning on the
actual instruments played changes the string tension, which
also changes the tension being applied to the sound boards
on guitars, violins etc which together changes the harmonic
overtone structures of the sounds generated by those instruments.
The same applies to vocal cord tension. Saxophones, flutes
and many other instruments would also experience subtle
changes in their tone. In a world with an international
A=432 standard, instrument makers would be building their
instruments and strings for optimal performance at that
pitch reference which would also result in a different sound
than an A=440 instrument lowered to 432. When you lower
the pitch of already recorded music with digital software,
all of the string and vocal tension and associated harmonics
or sound profile etc of the original higher pitch remain
intact. You are not getting a true sonic representation
of what the music in question would have sounded like if
originally performed with an A=432 reference tuning. And
what if we lower the tuning to 431 or 433? You will not
perceive a difference between those options and 432. Sorry,
but there is nothing special, nothing natural, nothing mystical
about an abstract number within an abstract measuring system.
(This article, while containing an extensive
listing of historical pitch standards, does contain one
glaring error: the statement that Pythagoras used a pitch
of 256Hz on his monochord. Again, Pythagoras calculated
ratios, not pitch. He did not have the time unit of a 'second'
nor did he measure the vibration of sound in cycles per
Chart based on: Ellis, Alexander J. "On the History
of Musical Pitch," Journal of the Society of Arts,(March
(In this chart we see mention that 432 was
proposed as a pitch standard in Brussels, Belgium in 1876.
We also see the later claim that 432 was used in Milan,
Italy in 1881, at a musical congress in Milan as
part of the Musical Exposition held in June 1881, it was
decided to stabilise pitch in Italy at a'=432.
This supporting information is not from Ellis, it was quoted
from a post made in a Yahoo forum discussion 127 years later
on March 16, 2007. The full post reads:
I am not entirely sure about the period 1890 to 1910, but
in June1881, at a musical congress in
Milan as part of the MusicalExposition held that year, it
was decided to stabilise pitch in Italy at 432.
Immediately prior to that date, several Italian institutions,
including the Istituto Musicale di Firenze
(Florence) and the Teatro San Carlo in Naples had adopted
French pitch of 435 (fixed by the French
government in accordance with a law passed on 16 February1859),
while the Accademia di Santa
Cecilia in Rome had adopted as its own pitch 450.
I am not sure when/if pitch in Italy was actually
fixed at 432 and, if so, when it was raised to 440.
The answer to the first of these questions can
probably be found in Giulio Ricordi's 'La Gazzetta Musicale
(Note: I have not been able to verify when or if pitch was
actually fixed at 432 in Italy, however, four years later
in 1885 the first international standard was adopted in
Vienna at A=435, of which Italy participated in and agreed
to. - R.G.)
Doug. Violin maker at Violinisto Studio, Seattle, WA, www.violinisto.com
Pollens, Stewart. Stradivari, Cambridge University Press,
Count Constantin. Artistocrat, Composer, Violinist &
(Note: There's a fair bit of rounded off
approximate data as well as incorrect data posted on the
web regarding the planets. One page rounded the Saturn year
off to 29.5 and others to 29.4, which will give slightly
different day counts. Universe Today has a posting
from the year before the one listed above that erroneously
says Saturn's year is 10,832 days, or 29.7 years. Even doing
the math with 29.7 does not give us 432. I'd like to think
that if anyone knows what they are talking about in regard
to basic astronomical measurements that NASA must, and they
say Saturn's year is 29.46 Earth years. Other sources extend
the accuracy to 29.4571, equal to 10,759.22 Earth days.)
websites accessed during or before July 2015.)
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