Monday, June 15, 2015

Is flatter better?

Ted Gioia, writing for The Daily Beast, examines the movement to retune the now-standard pitch, based on 440 Hertz for A on the treble stave, down to 432 Hz. Advocates of the flatter pitch point out that A=440 was imposed on German musicians by Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda chief, “as part of a heinous plan to warp the consciousness of the masses,” although, as Gioia notes, U.S. musicians adopted the sharper pitch years before the Nazis came to power:

Gioia’s article comes with a video offering pitch comparison. Its electronic-keyboard sound samples and weirdly worded captions (A=432 “is logic, pure and rich of arguments”) do not help make its case.