Every few years musical conspiracy theorists push forth a new iteration of how our A = 440Hz tuning standard was actually meant to be 432Hz instead. I’ve written about this in the past, but every so often a new video comparison shows up that makes it worth at least looking at and listening to.
Just to recap, prior to 1940 there were a variety of standards, although A=432Hz (also known as “Verdi’s A”) was the one most frequently used. It wasn’t until 1940 that the US adopted A=440 as the standard, with the rest of the world following in 1953.
But why did the world change in the first place? For one thing, A=432 is supposed to be a more “natural” vibration based on the fact that it’s divisible by 3, unlike A=440 which is only divisible by 2.
A=432 is said to just feel right, and when tuning without any pitch reference, trained musicians are said to automatically tune their instruments there, and the ancient Egyptians and Greeks have also been found to have tuned their instruments at 432. The science of Cymatics, which is the study of visible sound and vibration, is apparently on the side of A=432 as well, as you can see from the graphic on the left. The theory goes that 432Hz is also more connected with the 8Hz “heartbeat of the planet” (also known as the Schuman Resonances), as well as being the “frequency of the universe” and our DNA.
The physical nature of the two frequencies are pointed out by Dr. Leonard Horowitz in his paper Musical Cult Control, but he goes even deeper into what he thinks are the reasons why we went from A=432 to A=440.
Horowitz claims that there was a conspiracy between the Rockefeller Foundation and Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels in changing the standard because”herding the populations into greater aggression, psycho social agitation and emotional distress” was necessary to create a war mentality. Supposedly the Rockefeller Foundation had strong financial interests in weapons of war at the time, and of course the Nazi’s had strong interests in, well, war.
But the ultimate test is listening, so here’s a video with some pretty in-depth explanations, as well as a number of pieces to compare side by side – both tuned to A=440 and again at A=432. See which one you prefer.
Personally, I like the 432Hz myself, but then again I believe the guitar should be an Eb instrument.