Thursday, December 08, 2005

Philosophical Pitch Redux: Verdi's "A"

After a couple of months of tuning to A=432 Hz for all of my practicing and gigging, I'm a total convert. Today, after almost a two month wait, my A=423 Hz "Sun Tone" tuning forks arrived from France (The only place I was able to find them was at Mercurius USA, and they are actually a wholesale outlet, but I convinced them to sell me four on a one-time only deal: If I could only charm pretty redheads like that). When I was talking to Daphne at Mercurius (Beautiful name with a rich history in literature and legend), I got the distinct impression that the forks were manufactured in France, but they are clearly stamped "GERMANY", and have a corporate logo that I can't decipher, even with my 2X reading glasses. Obviously the distributor for Mercurius is in France, but the source is actually German.

I also picked up a second Korg CA-30 chromatic tuner, which allows for calibration down to A=432: Now I have a tuning fork for every guitar case, and a tuner for each gig bag. I'm set.

Sticklers may note that absolute philosophical pitch equates to A=430.5 Hz in equal temperament, but A=432 was (And is still called) "Verdi's A"; and so it was Haydn's A, Mozart's A, and Beethoven's A. I was mortified to learn that A at 440 Hz was first formally proposed by Hitler's henchman Joseph Goebbels and - while I'm not the kind of person to be inclined toward activism in politics or music (No, really!) - I think it would be a good idea if we all went back to the old standard. Of course, this is easy for a guitarist to say (and do), but all of you "kazoo" players out there are probably not too keen on the idea. Oh yeah: And there seems to be a derth of A=430.5 Hz tuning forks for some reason.

Anyway, I have my "arsenal" all lined up now:

There will be a brief interruption in my blogging while I go to San Antonio to visit my mommy this weekend: We were not able to get together for Thanksgiving due to my gigging, we are not going to be able to get together for Christmas for the same reason, and her birthday is New Years Day, so we are going to take advantage of my only free weekend during this time to wrap all three holidays into one little shindig. Also, Beethoven and I share our birthday on the 15th (Conflicting info, but I heard Beethoven may have been born on December 15th, and baptised on the 17th).

See you next week!


Blogger massimo said...

Here's your german tuning fork:

You can find medical ones too..

9:34 AM  
Blogger Hucbald said...

Thanks Massimo,

Since I made this post - over two years ago - I have also found that the Behringer BTR2000 Racktuner will also calibrate down to 432 Hz, so I put one of those in each of my three performance rigs.



12:00 PM  
Blogger Kairologic said...

Hello! I thought you might like to add another resource regarding the philosophical ("scientific") pitch. I have just published a free article based on prior publications I have made in the last couple of years; it details how C256 is the way to go, but moreso when utilizing Five Limit Tuning instead of Pythagorean Tuning or Equal Temperament. Justifications are given. The article is linked below. Thanks!

11:50 PM  

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