Sign up ×
Skeptics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for scientific skepticism. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have been reading about tuning musical instruments to A=432 frequency instead of recently (meaning in the last century) arbitrarily defined standard of tuning to A=440Hz.

Supposedly the 432Hz frequency and its derivative tones have been "naturally" developed standard of tones throughout the past. These tones are supposed to be common in some dislocated primitive tribes or communities like shaman's chanting, native Indian flutes, Tibetan "chakra bowls", etc.

Some claim that instruments tuned to A=432Hz "just sound better".

It is claimed that old classical music was originally composed and played in these frequencies.

Also when the 440Hz standard was set in previous century, many musicians protested against it.

The temperament that is suggested to be most "natural" is Pythagorean.

Is there any truth to the claims that 432Hz is superior to 440Hz?


PS: in my opinion there is a lot of disinformation, false claims, sellers of "healing divine sounds" which makes investigation into subject somewhat difficult for me. At first glance I would easily dismiss any such debate as a new age hoax, on the other hand one may quickly fall into spiritual faith thing.

share|improve this question
Tuning and temperament are not related. Temperament is the spacing of notes relative to each other, while the tuning you are asking about would move all notes by the same amount. – endolith May 11 '12 at 19:38
The title is intriguing, but I don't see that claim that 432Hz is "beneficial to the body" cited anywhere. Without that, or some other concrete claim, this is just asking for opinions. – Flimzy May 11 '12 at 20:37
OP is correct that this claim is in the air in various paranormal / woo communities: cf , ,… . – Evan Harper Aug 26 '12 at 22:50
We don't have the scientific capacity to really test this except for significant, short term, effects that fall within a certain domain. All that we do know is that small differences in frequencies can elicit observable different responses in matter within the right scenarios (Cymatics). So talking about the benefits of different frequencies isn't conjecture, but it is still just speculation at this point. – James Christopher Oct 20 '13 at 10:35
The second link is broken/dead. First link makes no claim about whether A=432 standard sounds better or has any other benefits, and only mentions it along with other proposed or sometimes-used standards. – iamnotmaynard Jul 17 at 19:19

1 Answer 1

Per Dr. Diana Deutsch, perceptual and cognitive psychologist at University of California - San Diego, peer reviewed research is yet to be performed. "All of this can be put to experiment, rather than a matter of opinion. People could judge blind pieces in A440 versus A432."

Per concluding remarks of Emmanuel Comte's Is 'A' 432 Hz a myth?, "432 Hz is a frequency as another, which does not necessarily have the miraculous properties attributed to it. Its use in the history of music is very minor and its alleged generalization is not, to date, musically or historically demonstrated". The author sees no striking superiority over the use of the reference to 440 Hz established at 1/6th of tone higher. "Replacing it by the 432 Hz would simply be an attempt to replace a convention by another".

share|improve this answer
The answer is probably right, but not really supported. It should include an explanation of how the author came to this conclusion. – Mark Aug 10 at 10:02

protected by Oddthinking Oct 20 '13 at 10:02

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.