Monthly Archives: September 2013

Nazis!!!!!! — The Interesting History of A440hz, Nazi Germany and the British Standard Institution

This article briefly details the history of A440hz and its status as the internationally excepted frequency of tuning.  A440hz was never a legally-agreed upon, institutionalized tuning, rather, the frequency  has permeated society through wide reaching sources such as the radio industry, the military industry and through the instrument building process (the most effective method.)

As late as 1940 but especially in the 17-1800’s, the frequencies of  A430hz, C256hz (A444hz) and A432hz were consciously agreed upon as the optimum universal tuning for our music.

All music lovers and human beings should, at the very least, be concerned with the history and origins of A440hz.  Any cultural implementation birthing from Berlin propaganda outlets circa 1939 can be safely considered suspect.

The sad truth is reversing this ship will be a slow process due to the overwhelming number of musical instruments designed to be calibrated to A440hz.  Very few instruments are still built with the frequency of A432hz in mind.  They would include Tibetan monk bowls, Native American flutes and drums, the Didgeridoo, Chinese Bamboo and other tribal instruments.  

All western instruments, especially those making up marching bands and symphony orchestras are constructed to be tuned to a higher, more damaging frequency.  

Lets not even get started with Autotune… 

More posts will come out about the history of “concert pitch” (A440hz).  The truth will be revealed so that true change can occur.  Information, to this day, remains the most effective tool we have as humans beings to instill positive revolutionary change.  Progression forward is all that matters.  Take nothing for granted and question everything for even seemingly mundane topics, like pitch frequency, can rekindle themselves into blazing new fires of rejuvenated truth.   


  A Brief History of Musical Tuning

Joeseph Goebbels

The first explicit reference to the tuning of middle C at 256 oscillations per second was probably made by a contemporary of J.S. Bach. It was at that time that precise technical methods developed making it possible to determine the exact pitch of a given note in cycles per second. The first person said to have accomplished this wasJoseph Sauveur (1653-1716), called the father of musical acoustics measured the pitches of organ pipes and vibrating strings, and defined the musical scale at 256 cycles per second.

In fact, A=440 has never been the international standard pitch, and the first international conference to impose A=440, which failed, was organized by Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels in 1939. Throughout the seventeeth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, and in fact into the 1940s, all standard U.S. and European text books on physics, sound, and music took as a given the “physical pitch” or “scientific pitch” of C=256, including Helmholtz’s own texts themselves. Figures 13 and 14 show pages from two standard modern American textbooks, a 1931 standard phonetics text, and the official 1944 physics manual of the U.S. War Department, which begin with the standard definition of musical pitch as C=256.[1]J.S.

Bach, as is well known, was an expert in organ construction and master of acoustics, and was in constant contact with instrument builders, scientists, and musicians all over Europe. So we can safely assume that he was familiar with Sauveur’s work. In Beethoven’s time, the leading acoustician was Ernst Chladni (1756-1827), whose textbook on the theory of music explicitly defined C=256 as the scientific tuning.Up through the middle of the present century, C=256 was widely recognized as the standard “scientific” or “physical” pitch (see Figures 13 and 14).

Ludwig Van Beethoven

Regarding composers, all “early music” scholars agree that Mozart tuned at precisely at C=256, as his A was in the range of A=427-430. Christopher Hogwood, Roger Norrington, and dozens of other directors of orginal-instrument orchestras’ established the practice during the 1980’s of recording all Mozart works at precisely A=430, as well as most of Beethoven’s symphonies and piano concertos. Hogwood, Norrington, and others have stated in dozens of interviews and record jackets, the pragmatic reason: German instruments of the period 1780-1827, and even replicas of those instruments, can only be tuned at A=430.

The demand by Czar Alexander, at the 1815 Congress of Vienna, for a “brighter” sound, began the demand for a higher pitch from all the crowned heads of Europe. While Classical musicians resisted, the Romantic school, led by Friedrich Liszt and his son-in law Richard Wagner, championed the higher pitch during the 1830’s and 1840’s. Wagner even had the bassoon and many other instruments redesigned so as to be able to play only at A=440 and above. By 1850, chaos reigned, with major European theatres at pitches varying from A=420 to A=460, and even higher at Venice.

In the late 1850’s, the French government, under the influence of a committee of composers led by bel canto proponent Giacomo Rossini, called for the first standardization of the pitch in modern times. France consequently passed a law in 1859 establishing A at 435, the lowest of the ranges of pitches (from A=434 to A=456) then in common use in France, and the highest possible pitch at which the soprano register shifts may be maintained close to their disposition at C=256. It was this French A to which Verdi later referred, in objecting to higher tunings then prevalent in Italy, under which circumstance “we call A in Rome, what is B-flat in Paris.”

Following Verdi’s 1884 efforts to insitutitionalize A=432 in Italy, a British-dominated conference in Vienna in 1885 ruled that no such pitch could be standardized. The French, the New York Metropolitan Opera, and many theatres in Europe and the U.S., continued to maintain their A at 432-435, until World War II.

The first effort to institutionalize A=440 in fact was a conference organized by Joseph Goebbels in 1939, who had standardized A=440 as the official German pitch. Professor Robert Dussaut of the National Conservatory of Paris told the French press that: “By September 1938, the Accoustic Committee of Radio Berlin requested the British Standard Association to organize a congress in London to adopt internationally the German Radio tuning of 440 periods. This congress did in fact occur in London, a very short time before the war, in May-June 1939. No French composer was invited. The decision to raise the pitch was thus taken without consulting French musicians, and against their will.’‘ The Anglo-Nazi agreement, given the outbreak of war, did not last, so that still A=440 did not stick as a standard pitch.

London International Standardizing Organization (BSI)

A second congress in London of the International Standardizing Organization met in October 1953, to again attempt to impose A=440 internationally. This conference passed such a resolution; again no Continental musicians who opposed the rise in pitch were invited, and the resolution was widelyInternational Standardizing Organizationignored. Professor Dussaut of the Paris Conservatory wrote that British instrument makers catering to the U.S. jazz trade, which played at A=440 and above, had demanded the higher pitch, “and it is shocking to me that our orchestra members and singers should thus be dependent upon jazz players.” A referendum by Professor Dussaut of 23,000 French musicians voted overwhelmingly for A=432.

As recently as 1971, the European Community passed a recommendation calling for the still non-existent international pitch standard. The action was reported in “The Pitch Game,” Time magazine, Aug. 9, 1971. The article states that A=440, “this supposedly international standard, is widely ignored.” Lower tuning is common, including in Moscow, Time reported, “where orchestras revel in a plushy, warm tone achieved by a larynx-relaxing A=435 cycles,” and at a performance in London “a few years ago,” British church organs were still tuned a half-tone lower, about A=425, than the visiting Vienna Philharmonic, at A=450.

Digital Drugs – New Technology Uses the Power of Sound to Perform Drug-Like Effects on Mind

Uses binaural beats to create opiate-like effect in your brain.

Tried this for the full 30 minutes, it definitely had an effect on me.  I started to get really heavy after about the 8 minute mark.  Your mind becomes very fixed on the subtle discrepancies in vibration. 

At the 15 minute mark I began to have really heavy eyes and by 22 minutes I started going in and out of dream like states, completely awake but nodding in and out.

By the end my eyelids were very heavy and my arms were like jelly.  I had a slight but very noticeable nausea.  Afterwards I listened to my Moonlight Sonata recording in A432hz just to give my ears a comfortable adjustment.

Certainly an interesting notion.  Using sound-waves and frequencies to alter brain patterns and consciousness.  I would be very curious to see what this binaural effect would have on the mind utilized in a more musical way, with melody and rhythm.


An Open Letter to Venues That Exploit Their Musicians

***Great article highlighting the extremely difficult  battle new musicians face to gain exposure.  New approaches will be needed to promote live music and stimulate the creative flow once again.


The below post has earned quite alot of attention over the last seven weeks.  Full-time saxophonist, Dave Goldberg, wrote an honest letter to venue owners addressing their disregard and exploitation of the working musicians.  The post is powerful and I asked David if I could republish this article on Grassrootsy. I’m hoping that you’ll read this and think about what part you play. Venues can take advantage of you, but only if you let them. [original post]


As Ive been looking for gigs lately, I’ve never seen so many free and low paying gigs. Well the economy is bad, so I can understand that a little bit. However, it is no longer good enough for the musician to be willing to perform for little compensation. Now we are expected to also be the venue promoter? The expectations are that the band will not only provide great music, but also bring lots of people to their venue. It is now the band’sresponsibility to make this happen, not the club owner.

Just the other day I was told by someone who owned a wine bar that they really liked our music and would love for us to play at their place. She then told me the gig paid $75 for a trio. Now $75 used to be bad money per person, let alone $75 for the whole band. It had to be a joke, right? No, she was serious. But it didn’t end there. She then informed us we had to bring 25 people minimum. Didn’t even offer us extra money if we brought 25 people. I would have laughed other than it’s not the first time I’ve gotten this proposal from club owners. But are there musicians really doing this? Yes. They are so desperate to play, they will do anything. But let’s think about this for a second and turn this around a little bit…

Read the rest of the article here…

Waves Inside Waves

Vibrations encompass the world you live in and with them, their waveforms.  The entire universe constructed out of soundwaves, bending and gliding about the cosmos, undetected but kinetically experienced.  The waves are real and we churn about them, lost in a sea of consciousness.

The waters of human consciousness are currently choppy but we have the ability to change that.

Observe the waves of epiphany.

Observe the waves of history.

Experience the vibrations of the earth; the crack of thunder, the pattering of rain, the dull rumbling earthquake.

Experience the vibrations.

We live on a planet constructed by frequency and all frequency interacts.  This cacophony of sound vibrates into the human ear and rumbles its way to the seashell-shaped, Fibonacci spiral that is the Cochlea.  The cochlea then remixes these vibrations to become the surround sound audio you hear inside your head.

This is vitally important information because the sounds that vibrate inside our head dictate our entire state of being, vibration and mood level at that very moment.

Our personal display of vibration is constantly connecting, reconnecting and adjusting as it dances about the beautiful symphony of life.

As history flows in waves, human consciousness flows in waves; Always discovering; The endless ocean of vibrating consciousness, that connects all life together as one.

Our waters are beginning to calm.  As a mass we are growing, learning from our mistakes, making new ones, falling down and getting back up because this is what we do.  This is our waveform.

Every story has a waveform.  Every life has a waveform, and as our lives intersect, we seamlessly connected to all other waveforms in the universe to formulate a harmony.  This is what we experience as the state of the world.  This state of the universe.

The state currently is not good.  But it is in our power to change that.

We are all virtuosos of our own instrument.  We must come together and end this dress rehearsal.

Take note of the waves around you. The waves inside waves, inside waves; perceiving your surroundings and tuning in to your own state of frequency.  Treat others the way you would want to be treated.  Raise your vibration and help raise the vibration of others.

That is how great harmony works.  Feeding and flowing; Communicating, acknowledging, respecting; Through the vibration of love.

All you need is love.

Remember that as we continue to construct the completely beautiful soundwave that is the story of our lives.  The greatest story of all time.  The story of human consciousness.