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…

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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.

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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):

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

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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…

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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