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Our tuning is all wroong
a discussion and references into proper harmonic tuning for our environment
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cdennyb
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February 13, 2017 - 4:07 pm
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"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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Elwin
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February 15, 2017 - 6:14 pm
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Definitely an interesting topic. A=432 was the Baroque tuning for instruments BTW, but yeah.

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al-f
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February 16, 2017 - 9:57 am
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i wonder if this is why banjo players like the pre-war sound better, maybe they only need to retune to A432 instead of a440

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BillyG
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February 16, 2017 - 12:14 pm
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I read the link on Dennis' post earlier today - about 12 hrs ago....   I dismissed it as being...., well, let's just say I let it ride....  However, during the day I thought about the math and sums used....  but I'll refrain from detailed comment on that here - not the place....

Oh - heck - I didn't mean that to sound like posting the link was wrong or shouldn't have been posted - absolutely no way @cdennyb - I didn't mean that at all - we all need to see how other people think about these things, and it is therefore a very valuable post !  So Thank You @cdennyb for bringing this to our attention !

I do the same at times, and post things which may have a "contentious", or "here's something worth thinking about - whether it is right or wrong" feel to it - just to make folks THINK ABOUT THINGS...

Awesome.... but still a bit disturbed by the (as it seems to me) psycho-babble and somewhat (to my mind) vacuous and specious connections to math and physics suggested in the post.....    I'll keep watching !   There is ALWAYS payback to be had by taking the time to understand how other people view the world...    The only chakra I know of is the name of a cat belonging to my neighbor....  That's just me, in my currently un-enlightened life-passage..

LOL Denny - I'm half serious and half kidding here - thanks for the post !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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coolpinkone
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February 16, 2017 - 4:28 pm
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Very very interesting article... Fantastic actually.

It won't have any bearing on how I play.  

I loved the below comment. 

The Vibration of Sound

According to preliminary research, analysis, and professional discussions by Walton, Koehler, Reid, et al., on the web, A=440Hz frequency music conflicts with human energy centers (i.e., chakras) from the heart to the base of the spine [the lower four]. Alternatively, chakras above the heart are stimulated. Theoretically, the vibration stimulates ego and left-brain function, suppressing the “heart-mind,” intuition and creative inspiration....

Great share.  and Very very interesting, even if just for the historic information/dates.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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cdennyb
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February 16, 2017 - 7:49 pm
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Since I posted that link above, and after reading everyone's comments (except BillyG's of course, nobody pays any mind to him) I retuned my violin to the A=432Hz and attempted to play it... It sounded terrible to me... but I went along with it and re-tuned my pedal steel to the A=432Hz and it didn't seem to make a whole lot of difference from what I had been used to hearing BUT... it's a slide guitar format and I think my hand/ear coordination was making small adjustments to the bar position over a fret marker to compensate. Now my electric 5 string violin has frets so maybe that's why I found the sound so dis-tasteful.

As to the physics and math of the frequency I find a lot of that stuff to be dead on target with things I've ran across in the past 40 yrs of educating myself to more that the 3 R's... (readin', ritin' and 'rithmatik) and found some very substantiating data to back up much of the content of that article.

Very interesting about the baroque violin Elwin... good info to learn.

I have no clue how a banjo is tuned but it sounds different for sure... al-f

 Toni... I knew you'd find that very enlightening.

 

thank you all who actually took a few minutes to read the article... I don't post crap as most of you senior members know so thank you for your time.

hats_off

 

J/K BillyG, you know I luv ya man... dancing

DB

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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Elwin
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February 16, 2017 - 7:57 pm
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Let me add to my reply.

The typical Baroque tuning was A=432. Baroque violins are built quite differently than modern violins. Refer to this video for more information. This guy compares the modern violin to the baroque violin. 

As for the Tuning, not every city was A=432. 432 is the frequency of A-flat in today's standards, so back then, the pitch was a half-step lower. In some cities, A=466, some cities (around France) had A=392 (a modern G). No neighboring city had the same tuning, some were sharp, some were flat. A=432 was the most common. As for string players, it was easy to compensate for different tunings since you could tune the strings to higher or lower pitches, while wind players didn't have that same advantage.

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BillyG
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February 17, 2017 - 4:17 am
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 Hahaha @cdennyb -

thank you all who actually took a few minutes to read the article... I don't post crap as most of you senior members know so thank you for your time.

 LOL - of course you don't !  Nah - to make it clear I was NOT arguing about the A440, A432 etc tuning itself - absolutely no way - I understand the history behind this and have experimented with it on several occasions.  

 I was just amazed at some of the other claims being made or suggested about the number 432 itself and how it could be some kind of "fundamental" value, like  'pi',  'e', 'gamma' and other mathematical constants......   that's the bit I just could not come to terms with !    I mean we can make almost anything exhibit some of these characteristics - take my name - in ASCII codes "Bill Gunn" - add up the ASCII values - it comes to 594.  Add the digits of the result to reduce to a single number - 5 + 9 + 4 = 18, and 1 + 8 = 9.    That would be the same "9" the author of the article comes up with, in the same way, by adding the individual digits of 432 - 4+3+2 = 9.  Strangely enough, "cdennyb"adds up ( in ASCII values ) to 693.  And 6 + 9 + 3 = 18 and 1 + 8 = 9 so, that proves that both "Bill Gunn" and "cdennyb" are truly in harmony with the chakra of the universe - and more to the point - are just awesome guys and the world would be a poorer place without us !!!!

J/K BillyG, you know I luv ya man... dancing

DB

  roflol I know, brother, and back at yah Dennis ! thumbs-up  Never stop posting things that make us think and question....exactly

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Elwin
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February 18, 2017 - 10:50 pm
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Silly me, I got it mixed up. A=415 was the Baroque Tuning, not A=432. Now, I get how it makes sense that A=432 is supposedly the "healing" tuning. A=432 does feel a little bit more natural, however, if you're in a concert hall, A=432 might not project as much, and sound not as good. A=440 carries more in a concert hall. In fact, for projection reasons, even today, some orchestras tune to A=442. When I tuned one of the violins in my house (a cheap one) to A=442, it had more of a ring. I can distinguish between A=432, and A=440, a little bit, not as good as what I can with perfect pitch since it is microtone territory. 

To me, A=440 sort of "rings" in my head a little bit while A=432 "rings" not in my head. A=442 "rings" around my head. A=432 was the more comfortable one to listen to, though A=440 and A=442 aren't exactly uncomfortable to listen to.

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Uzi
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Sorry, but I don't buy a word of this.  First, until quite recently, musicians had no way to accurately measure frequency.  Orchestral tuning is now and always has been affected by the temperature of the venue and/or the construction of a particular pipe organ. Woodwinds, such as the oboe for example, are not normally tuned except during construction. This is why orchestras tune to the oboe. The frequency of the A note on an oboe at any point in time is, as noted earlier, dependent on temperature of the room it is in.

There was no baroque frequency.  There was no classical frequency and there was no "standard" frequency until the 1930's.  There is nothing magic about A=432.  Nor is there anything special about A=440.  That particular frequency ended up being used simply because it made the math easier. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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cdennyb
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I started researching this a little more since your post and found this info on tuning(s). It really enlightened me as to the historical portion of adopting the standard.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

In the early 6th century, when Boethius lists all the note names by letter, he starts (unsurprisingly!) with A as the lowest pitch. This presumably set a precedent for using A as a reference pitch.

In 1711, British trumpeter John Shore invented the tuning fork which allowed accurate tuning to a reference pitch. He even gave one to Handel, with a pitch of C=512Hz, corresponding to your scientific pitch.

In 1834, Johann Heinrich Scheibler, a silk manufacturer and acoustics researcher, invented a "tonometer" for accurately measuring pitches, based on an array of fifty-two tuning forks, spanning a range of pitches fro A3 to A4. Why did he choose A? I don't know! But this device allowed him to study a range of tunings in use at the time. He describes his tonometer in detail in Der Physikalische Und Musikalische Tonmesser, which is apparently available on amazon, if you fancy original sources and can read German.

Based on his studies, he recommended A4=440 to the Congress of Physicists in Stuttgart in 1834, which they accepted. The Streicher piano company also adopted this standard, manufacturing pianos with "440" stamped on the label. This wasn't the first attempt at standardized pitch, but due to Scheibler's tonometer, it was likely the most accurately measured standard up to that point. Nor would it be the last word in tuning; the French government passed a law on Feb. 16, 1859 requiring A=435, or "Diapason Normal" which would become widely adopted internationally.

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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Fiddlerman
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February 28, 2017 - 11:13 am
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I naturally tune to 443. I guess playing in a European orchestra so many years did this to me. I don't use a tuner either.
Interesting thread guys. Thanks for all your inputs.....

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Dan-Hur
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March 2, 2017 - 12:35 pm
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Uzi said
Sorry, but I don't buy a word of this.  First, until quite recently, musicians had no way to accurately measure frequency.  Orchestral tuning is now and always has been affected by the temperature of the venue and/or the construction of a particular pipe organ. Woodwinds, such as the oboe for example, are not normally tuned except during construction. This is why orchestras tune to the oboe. The frequency of the A note on an oboe at any point in time is, as noted earlier, dependent on temperature of the room it is in.

There was no baroque frequency.  There was no classical frequency and there was no "standard" frequency until the 1930's.  There is nothing magic about A=432.  Nor is there anything special about A=440.  That particular frequency ended up being used simply because it made the math easier.   

Yeeeaaah that's kind of what I was thinking. A lot of it sounds like numerology to me. This has always been sticking point for me when reading about baroque music and tuning. I'm sure the standard baroque tuning is based on estimates, examination of instruments from the period, and other historical reference points, but how would a musician from that time know to tune to a particular frequency except by ear? Given that, it would have to be relative to whatever reference point they were using at the time, such as the oboe or organ you mentioned. So how could we have a "standard" baroque tuning? It's interesting stuff, I'll have to read more about it.

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coolpinkone
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Just reading along...over my head... exactly

But I keep trying. 😉

Cheers.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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damfino
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@coolpinkone Over my head, too. I'll just sit here and pretend I understand by nodding thoughtfully, haha. tongue

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Fiddlerman
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March 3, 2017 - 8:30 am
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Intonation to the ears is mostly tonal. Its about relationships more than pitch. If the intervals are correct or very close, it translates to enjoyable intonation.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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cdennyb
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Yes, yes Pierre, that's it... you can be 'off' on intonation but if you're 'off' on all of the notes, it tends to sound acceptable... until someone else plays along that is in a different tune state of mind huh.

LoL

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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coolpinkone
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@Fiddlerman that makes perfect sense.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Fiddlerman
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March 8, 2017 - 12:16 pm
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🙂

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Elwin
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Fiddlerman said
Intonation to the ears is mostly tonal. Its about relationships more than pitch. If the intervals are correct or very close, it translates to enjoyable intonation.  

Yeah, you're right. Back when I played the Clarinet, there were several unpredictable notes on it that were either flat or sharp. They remained rather undetectable unless a chord were to be played in the band that had that note in it. 

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