I’m going to go out on a limb here. (Why not? That’s where all the fruit is!)
There is so much talk these days about 432hz as the frequency that is in harmony with the universe and will free our minds, open our hearts, heal the world and free us from the Nazi mind control frequency of A 440hz.
Or something like that.
It may piss off some of my friends, but I need to address this.
First, let’s examine what 432hz actually means. Next we’ll look at a few of the claims circulating out there, and separate fact from fiction.
Then I will weigh in with my perspective.
Hz stands for hertz, which is the measure of sound waves per second, commonly referred to as cycles per second. 432hz or 440hz refers to the tuning of the note A4 (the A note above middle C on a piano.)
432 is an interesting number:
- ● It is the sum of four consecutive primes: 103 + 107 + 109 + 113.
- ● It is exactly three gross—a “gross” was a traditional unit of measurement of 144, or 12 squared.
- ● An equilateral triangle whose area and perimeter are equal has a square root of 432.
I am not one to debate mathematics, geometry or numeric formulas. My eyes glaze over...It’s not my jam. Knowledgeable proponents of 432 hz make some compelling points.
But I’m always on the alert for red flags when big claims are being made.
Claim: Pythagorus’ A was 432 hz
Really? Pythagorus was born over 1500 years before the second as a measurement of “time” was even invented. So how did he measure cycles per second when seconds didn’t even exist yet?
Pythagoras’ tuning system is ratio based. It is not based on an absolute pitch, it is based on the relationship, or the space between pitches.
While there is a mathematical symmetry to Pythagorean tuning, it was based on cycling perfect fifths. But this leads to a problem. It’s called harmony. Or what actually sounds good to the human ear.
You see, cycling fifths will never get you to complete a circle—unless some of the notes are lowered, or diminished in frequency. So he Pyathagorean scale has to be “tempered” or toned down a bit for harmony to exist, which is the reason it was abandoned so long ago.
Claim: Mozart tuned to 432hz
Sorry, but the only solid evidence of what frequency Mozart’s music might have been performed in is a tuning fork made in 1780 that belonged to the Viennese piano builder Johann Andreas Stein, who happened to be the premier piano maker in Vienna at the time. Stein’s pianos were most likely the ones used by Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. What frequency was this ancient tuning fork? A 421.6hz. Meanwhile over in England, George Frideric Handel - you know, the guy who wrote the “Hallelujah” chorus? (No, not the Leonard Cohen song!) Handel’s personal tuning fork measured at A=422.5Hz... Pretty close to Mozart...but both are further away from 432 hz than 440 hz!
Claim: Ancient flutes, bells, Tibetan bowls etc measure at 432 hz as the base frequency.
First, remember we are talking about measuring frequency in cycles per second. So how did these ancient musicians and craftsmen tune to specific cycles per second thousands of years before the “second” was invented and then accurately measured?
Claim: Verdi used 432 hz for his music.
Giuseppe Verdi lived in a time when musicians and orchestras were tuning to a wide array of frequencies, anywhere from 400 - 460hz. At the time there was a trend to tune to higher frequencies to make the orchestral instruments sound more bright.
This created pushback from the singers who were being forced to sing in ever higher ranges.
Verdi initially petitioned for a standard tuning of A 430hz, but then expressed a personal preference for A 432hz for mathematical simplicity.
Nowhere did he mention the laws of the universe, frequency of the heart, earth, or healing sounds as a reason for standardized tuning.
Claim: A 440 tuning was invented and imposed by the Nazis to control the masses.
Yes, it is documented that Josef Goebells attended the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) conference where A440 hz was agreed upon as the standard tuning worldwide. But the USA and UK already using A440 or A439 and had been for decades.
I’m going to jump in with my opinion here. Even if there was a successful Nazi plot to control the world by keeping us in fear through the use of the “evil” A440 tuning, it didn’t work very well, did it?
I mean, as far as I know the Beatles and all their contemporaries were tuning to A440...and they changed the world. That era saw the birth and growth of the civil rights movement for racial justice, the environmental movement, women’s rights, and anti-war movements.
People were rising up, speaking out and marching in the streets to demand positive changes in the world.
And music was a huge part of the revolution. Now that’s what I call sound healing!
As a musician, I know it is challenging to keep stringed instruments in tune. Using my digital tuner, I can watch the pitch of a guitar string shift based on how hard I pluck the string. It also changes in the seconds after the string is plucked.
Even minor changes in factors like heat and humidity affect the tuning.
Tuning an instrument is messy, imprecise, fluctuating.
Especially with stringed instruments.
But if you want others to listen and enjoy your music you better get it tuned as precisely as possible!
In India, where my harmonium and shruti were made, it is common for the artisans to tune the instruments by ear.
The last time I checked, my harmonium “A” registered around 442- 443hz.
But I only checked the tuning of this instrument out of curiosity, not to assure myself that the instrument I’ve been using for years was in fact in tune with the universe.
Because in my experience, it is the feelings and intention of the performer that truly governs the effect of the music... (Ok, and the quality of the performance) Not what one single note is calibrated to.
I’ve been making and sharing music for meditation and healing for well over 2 decades without being tuned to A 432 hz and have witnessed what many would call miraculous responses to the music, more times than I could possibly count.
As far as I’m concerned, my heart is entraining the sound of my voice and instruments with a deep love and compassion that is FAR beyond anything my mind or ego could possibly express.
Or as Jonathan Goldman says, Sound + Intention = Healing.
And don’t even get me started about singing bowls for specific chakras. That’s going to have to be another article.
Personally, I have never been concerned with finding the “magic frequency” that is going to heal the world.
My mission is to attain the state of being that allows the universe to sing through me.