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RE: A-440 vs 432 Hz??   You are logged in as Guest
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kitarist

Posts: 1004
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: A-440 vs 432 Hz?? (in reply to Bulerias2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: Bulerias2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

WHo cares? so long as you play IN TUNE.

Actually, you'd be surprised just how much it matters to people beyond simply aesthetic reasons. My brother has perfect pitch and 440 Hz tuning makes him cringe and is profoundly disturbing because he grew up hearing music that was tuned to 432 Hz.



Right, but absolute pitch ("perfect pitch" was the specific name of a program to supposedly develop it and you can guess how well that worked) is more akin to having a fixed memory (recall) for pitch, at whatever frequencies one got exposed to early in life; and at some point got locked into them.

However, it does not mean recognizing a specific frequency; there is nothing magical about 440 or 432 or any other. What's more, orchestras in a long performance can start at reference 440 and by the end the string instruments could creep up by several cents just because the strings and instruments got significantly warmer.

There have been individuals with absolute pitch throughout history. However, for all but the last 100 years or so, the reference pitch has been varying wildly both geographically within the same time period, and at the same place across time.

As a quick summary, A varied from 374 to 567 Hz (!!) over the 14th to 17th century. Then the range got narrower but still significant, 377-423, in the 18th century.

Then, "During the nineteenth century the range was from about 424 to 494, a progressive rise being evident up to about 1887, reflecting no doubt, as always, a striving for increased brilliancy." And pitch generally got brought down occasionally because singers would complain that they cannot hit the notes anymore.

In the late 19th century and early 20th century the reference pitch range narrowed again, to about 435-443 Hz. Finally the 1939 conference adopted 440 internationally as shown above.

There are some papers from the 1880s that I am quoting from which contain long tables documenting tuning forks' actual pitches by year and location (which is where the numbers in the summary above are from) and a detailed discussion of factors that went into creating such a variability.

I can only conclude that whoever had absolute pitch back then was simply attuned to the prevailing frequencies (of time and/or geographic locality) that got imprinted into their brain - rather than to any special frequency.

In other words, absolute/perfect pitch is neither absolute nor perfect with respect to frequency - it is more like fixed pitch - stable recall of a random reference pitch that came about by happenstance (at least before 1940s).

One last point. Some years ago I was interested in relative vs. absolute pitch and read some journal papers. The sense from the then-latest research was that

(1) Likely everyone is born with absolute pitch;
(2) Early on, relative pitch abilities begin to develop as they are much more important, and the absolute pitch ability is usually lost by the age of 4;
(3) Absolute pitch can possibly be taught - more like preserved - if one is willing to subject their child to specific exercises in the window of 2-to-4 years of age; outside that window, very likely not possible to learn it, "perfect pitch" program notwithstanding.

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Konstantin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 27 2020 7:16:05
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12208
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: A-440 vs 432 Hz?? (in reply to kitarist

I still associate certain notes with “colors” and I recently saw a show that explained this occasionally occurs to people because the physical locations the brain is using for both pitch and color recognition. I know that in the adds for David Berges perfect pitch course he was associating similar colors to pitches and it was funny to me because they were the WRONG colors . I realized later that he must have assumed all humans have the same thing going on but it’s not really the case.

I would point out that in MY case, the “colors” are more associated with the guitar strings tone than absolute pitches. In other words if the guitar is in tune my brain can guess pretty accurately what note and what string it’s played on by the “color” I am seeing in my mind. But if the guitar is detuned, like a vast majority of my rock and metal guitar heroes were doing since Hendrix days, then my entire color “palette” gets shifted down a half step. So I know this thing is a “relative” association however, if I hear a vocal tone or a piano tone, it also jumps to a “color” that would be the equivalent of an A440 tuned guitar. When I sing, I am almost always associating the pitch I sing with a fretted guitar note. When ever I test myself after singing along to a song or whatever, I am usually with in one fret accurate. But it’s funny how once I KNOW the correct pitch, if I was one fret off say, then the entire song has to shift colors in my brain.

I would not be surprised if some similar association is used by supposed “perfect pitch” kids and such. They can also probably fail the correct tricky test somehow. But this 432 hz thing is silly IMO. Perhaps the brother of Volovets never had this “issue” until he made the abstract intellectual connection to the concept of 432 vs 440, and ever since he can’t “unhear” the relationship and it is reinforced by some association like my personal color association to guitar strings tone. But in the end I am dubious about it anyway. One thing for sure, the variety of tunings off of A440 is so vast regarding my favorite recordings, I know that if I had some “problem” with slightly off tunings I would have committed suicide by now. For anyone that cares, my CD Madera Sonora should be A440, but my CD with Jesus is flat because I didn’t have a tuner back stage before the show...maybe it’s 432?

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 27 2020 17:31:49
 
kitarist

Posts: 1004
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: A-440 vs 432 Hz?? (in reply to Ricardo

It is interesting that we all have actual absolute electromagnetic "pitch" - in the visible light range. Meaning that it is not only fixed and instant recall of colours, but it is actually tethered to absolute EM frequencies of 4-8 × 10^14 Hz, corresponding to wavelengths of 740-380 nm so it is generally the same for everyone.

So when we unconditionally need a magic ability to survive, the brain delivers, no problem

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Konstantin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 28 2020 18:02:17
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12208
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: A-440 vs 432 Hz?? (in reply to kitarist

Yes that whole visible light situation is surprising easy physics LOL. I saw a physics lecture about the rainbow, so my kids think I am a genius with a garden hose now. You just find or face your own shadow in sunlight, so you and your shadow make a 90degree angle, and then you aim the hose at 45 degrees and the whole thing appears like magic. (Actually it’s 42 degrees and arcs in a circle as you are seeing down a “cone”). Then you aim up another 10 degrees to reveal the inverted rainbow. Fun stuff!

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 29 2020 16:52:56
 
JasonM

Posts: 1435
Joined: Dec. 8 2005
From: Baltimore

RE: A-440 vs 432 Hz?? (in reply to kitarist

A lot of those math sevants , like the ones who can rattle off PI to 100 digits, say they see numbers as colors and or 3D shapes. So maybe your a genius Ricardo.

quote:

It is interesting that we all have actual absolute electromagnetic "pitch" - in the visible light range.


Wow that’s a good point! Maybe in terms of human evolution, it was more important to know not to eat the poisonous red berries versus naming the pitch of the mammoth’s roar.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 30 2020 3:43:05
 
kitarist

Posts: 1004
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: A-440 vs 432 Hz?? (in reply to JasonM

quote:

Maybe in terms of human evolution, it was more important to know not to eat the poisonous red berries versus naming the pitch of the mammoth’s roar.


Probably

Great way to illustrate the point!

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Konstantin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 30 2020 6:28:21
 
AndresK

Posts: 72
Joined: Jan. 4 2019
 

RE: A-440 vs 432 Hz?? (in reply to kitarist

Hello. On the perfect pitch thing.

A very close friend of mine, violinist from Kazakhstan has perfect pitch. The one you seat on the piano and he tells you what your ass is playing in cluster chords.

And now, for some reason, my 6 year old son has this perfect pitch thing that I discovered when he was 3 and a half while he was using a vase for drum in the kitchen. He insisted it was a C. So I checked the electric piano I have and it was a perfectly tuned C. Now, when he is around I ask him to give me an A to tune my guitar and it is always on 440 hz.

Now that he is older I asked him if other A tunings bother him and he says no. The way he remembers the exact notes at any given time in his head is like how he remembers if a cartoon character has big or small nose. He remembers sounds in general. As walking sounds of video games characters with no identifiable pitch. Then a train passes and he says the note of the horn is the first note of the superman theme, I checked on a mobile app with a piano and it is a G alright. And endless other examples.

In conclusion, I start to see perfect pitch as musical kind of memory and not a pitch locked on the brain.

To give more in the musical memory thing. The other day we listened a piano playing some theme. He said the first few notes reminded him of a video clip he saw with a guy singing and diving in the sea in the end. It was the you are beautiful song by James Blant that he saw a year ago! The guitar played exactly the same notes as the piano piece we heard!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 15 2020 11:09:21
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12208
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: A-440 vs 432 Hz?? (in reply to AndresK

quote:

He insisted it was a C. So I checked the electric piano I have and it was a perfectly tuned C.


The key info here is electric piano. Imagine you had a piano that was unknowingly 1/2 step flat. The kid has made the abstract association via your piano...so the vase would be C# in his minds eye. And forevermore more he would hear the A 440 everybody says and plays and tunes instruments to and his minds eye knows it is Bb. Perhaps he would learn to, over time, reassign all music pitches to ones needed? But to me it would the equivalent of learning a guitar with a capo first fret as a beginner (with dots and all that means), then always have to transpose everything you play ever after.

Same deal with the 432 thing...if you can’t say a note is G# or A cuz it’s in the middle, what does your brain do? Seems like too much work. Or rather, if you can dump all the frustration easily then it’s just very good relative pitch and some test could be done to trick the kid to get a wrong answer.

You can check out the cante accompaniment Thread and see what happens there, many people put capo wrong or don’t tune the guitar to the singer. There is lots of room to play around.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 15 2020 14:51:39
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