Differing reference note values

What’s the reason for tuning to a “non-standard” reference note? For example, I’ve seen a tuning that was listed like “EADG (A=445Hz)”. I believe “standard” A is 440Hz. Why would someone change their reference A value for their tuning?

Is it a way to “tweak” a tuning by less than a semi-tone? If that’s the case, does it really need to be that specific?

Thanks for any info…


It depends, my reason to do so as it gives can me a different sound: more open sounding to my ears. The other reason I do it because I’m playing with other instruments. Like with a bagpipe or some indian instruments. Which makes it easier to blend.


So, this might not exactly answer your question, @skydvr, but there is a ton of related information in this video here, about tuning, but more so about the effect of temperament (the ratios of different frequencies, as used in scales):

Once you start going down this particular rabbit hole, stuff like this also becomes very interesting (apart from the fact that the guy has a guitar where he can push the frets individually back and forth on the fingerboard):


Neely’s video is great. Basically, there’s a vocal cult that thinks A should be 432Hz.


To get an idea about the difference: check my link to Paul Davids comparison and some conspiracy :slight_smile:.

I wish someone could do this on bass…


I’ve heard different arguments here, but mostly in the classical world.
Some traditional Baroque orchestras play tuned to a lower A with the argument that old non-metal-reinforced instruments with gut strings would have tuned to a lower “A” for the sake of string tension and to fit their technology.

I’ve had a conductor ask that we tune to a different A because he liked it more… I think it was 442? It seemed arbitrary, and the decision was not challenged or defended that I recall.

Why someone would do it? If it’s not in an effort for historical accuracy it would just be… because.


Some creators of meditation music will tune to 432 because it is said to be at a sympathetic frequency of the body that has therapeutic effects.

Search for 432Hz meditation music and there’s a ton of it.

There’s even conspiracy theory!

Another alternate tuning related to purported healing is Solfeggio:

I’ve heard it argued that tuning has been slowly raised over the years from 432 to 440 by those trying to make a piece more exciting, similar to continuing to turn up the volume. I haven’t tried to find debunk evidence on that one so don’t take my word for it.


As Paul points out, the 432Hz theories only make sense if the only note you play is A.


Just for fun, I could argue that one. The center frequencies of all the harmonics and all the other notes are shifted also to be more aligned to the magic.

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My experience has been that the notes/frequencies/tunings that shake out what’s loose vary for each person. I’d guess the person that started with 432 did so because it spoke to them. I’d guess that a natural tendency to search for medicine may even help to determine what music people are drawn to. I’m fairly certain music heals the soul and a lot is related to that.