Question about 432hz

August 25, 2016 at 09:38 AM · I have read up on tuning the Violin to 432 and want to give it a try. But I have a question.


A (440) -> 432,

then what does

E -> ???

D -> ???

G -> ???

go to?

I would assume they don't stay the same. So what do they go to?

Replies (28)

August 25, 2016 at 10:35 AM · Why are you looking at A=432? And why do you feel the need to know the frequencies of the other notes?

If you tune A=432, then you can get the other strings in tune with it in the normal way. You can also calculate values for E, D and G in the normal way if you really need to.

However, if you are aiming for a Baroque period performance then you should read up on the tuning methods - I think Judy Tarling's book has a useful way of doing it.

August 25, 2016 at 11:46 AM · The frequency ratio of a perfect fifth is 3:2

So if A=432 Hz:

E=648 Hz

D=288 Hz

G=192 Hz

Why do you want to tune to 432 Hz

August 25, 2016 at 02:31 PM · Why not? It is called the Verdi pitch. He allegedly preferred it over others because of his opera singers. The only challenge is to find other players willing to tune down.

August 25, 2016 at 03:48 PM · For A440, middle C on the piano is 262Hz.

For A432, that middle C is 256Hz (an integral power of 2).

My piano, a Rippen made in Holland in the 1960s, is tuned to C256 (A432).

A432, the "Verdi pitch", may not be all that uncommon in continental Europe if a piano manufacturer in Holland uses it.

Tuning a violin down to A432 shouldn't be a problem if the pegs or other tuning devices work efficiently. The instrument will be less stressed at that lower pitch and, if anything, may sound a little more resonant.

August 25, 2016 at 03:53 PM · “It is called the Verdi pitch.”

Yes. Singer Renata Tebaldi had it written into her contract that the A-tuning was not to go above 440. It would be a challenge, though, these days to find players willing to tune lower than that -- e.g., 432. See:

Search on the page for 440 -- it’s in the paragraph that begins with “What worries me more and more ….”

August 25, 2016 at 06:43 PM · The "Verdi pitch" is a bit of a can of worms-- Stefan Zucker has argued that rather than anointing 432, Verdi was more interested in standardizing something, anything, across Italy so he could get down to writing without worrying about his singers. And at least one of today's more obvious advocates for 432 has some odd political biases built into the argument.

Pitch varies a lot across Europe these days. The Vienna Phil will go a quarter-tone, maybe even a semi-tone above 440. I heard the Marriage of Figaro sound fairly normal at the State Opera, but they might have been deliberately tuning down to show respect for Mozart. (I don't have perfect pitch, luckily.)

August 25, 2016 at 08:47 PM · Bo gave you your answer, but even if you choose something other than 440, I would still tune by ear for perfect 5ths. Maybe certain ensembles types tune narrower or differently.

Anyway, not to condescend, because I don't know your level of knowledge, but you should be able to tune your other strings by ear to your A. If you want to know the hz because you are tuning to a tuner, then you are missing the point, and should be developing your ear in order to hear a perfect 5th.

August 25, 2016 at 08:50 PM · Following on from the hint in Stephen's post, I've searched on the Web for "432Hz", being unaware that there was a bit more to the subject than as a choice for Middle C on the piano. Looking at the links arising from the search there are evidently some strange ideas floating around that are well off the beaten track, one being that 432Hz is a fundamental frequency of the Universe - whatever that may mean.

An antidote to some of this nonsense is in this one of the links:

August 26, 2016 at 08:59 AM · I thought the argument made in the article was very flawed. Much of it was based upon the idea that the term "Hertz" is a recent one - the authors argue e.g. that ancient Tibetan bowls could not be deliberately tuned to this frequency because they were made before the scientific notation for it was defined.

This doesn't make any sense - the makers of these bowls could have tuned to this frequency by ear, even without having any scientific apparatus to measure it.

That's not to say that I believe any of the mystical statements around A=432Hz though.

August 26, 2016 at 10:56 AM · If anyone wants a laugh, have a read of this wonderful explanation of why 432Hz is harmonious with the natural patterns of the universe. A=432 also corresponds with the chakra system, apparently. And by playing at a=432 I can accomplish a more serene, inward-looking sound which doesn't suffer from linear sound propagation.

In any case, I recommend tuning perfect 5ths by ear.

August 26, 2016 at 03:44 PM · Even if one note, C 256 is in tune with the universe, that still leaves 11 notes that are not tuned to the universe.

August 26, 2016 at 03:59 PM · Your not factoring in parallel universes, Lyndon. What's up with that?

August 26, 2016 at 08:54 PM · A = 432 hz blends too well with the world around us, but as musicians we have to push forth, to be active and MOVE the matter around us.

The reveberation we create in the world is the slight tension that "speaks," if you would. If you just barely match the frequency of objects in your space, it'll be absorbed by the environment and won't be near as brilliant.

Plus, it doesn't work as well with inorganic compounds. listen to some brassy bell tones at 432; its weak.

Metal is slightly higher frequency. And Bbs and Ebs really don't match many overtones in nature.

Playing in a tuning that doesn't slightly speed up the world around you is moot.

August 26, 2016 at 09:02 PM · We seem to have opened up a parallel universe in the comments section!!

August 26, 2016 at 09:09 PM · I put on some new strings today, and can confirm that the Pirastro Passione D has a natural tendency to slip flat, presumably because it's pulled towards C=256 by a proclivity to resonate with the universe for the first few hours of playing. Well done Pirastro.

I also found that the G opened my Purple Heart chakra.

August 27, 2016 at 12:49 AM · E=mc^2

So, if C=256 then E=m65,536, relatively speaking of course...

August 27, 2016 at 12:12 PM · "Your not factoring in parallel universes, Lyndon. What's up with that? "

Parallel universes are allowed--but only in 3rds and 6ths. No 5ths.

However, I've heard that much of the theoretical stuff outlined above originated on a different planet: Uranus...

August 27, 2016 at 12:25 PM · Badda-bang!

Scott Cole nails it from downtown....ouch!



August 27, 2016 at 09:55 PM · What Christian said.

August 28, 2016 at 01:50 AM · In practical violin keyboard terms the difference between 432Hz and 440Hz is 1/3 of a semitone.

One of the first major composers of microtonal music, Alois Haba, composed a few 1/6 tone pieces in addition to his more numerous quarter tone works. The score and parts of one of Haba's earlier quarter-tone quartets, Quartet Nr 2 Op 7, is available from IMSLP. In the preface Haba explains the notation he uses, and usefully indicates preferred fingerings in the instrumental parts.

August 28, 2016 at 04:20 AM · "Tuning a violin down to A432 shouldn't be a problem if the pegs or other tuning devices work efficiently. The instrument will be less stressed at that lower pitch and, if anything, may sound a little more resonant".

If you want a different adventure try tuning to 415 hz, like the old baroque instruments. You may also change to gut strings. I recommend italian Aquila strings. It's a completely new and pleasant sound.

August 28, 2016 at 06:01 PM · 415 was not a standard pitch for baroque times, just one of many different pitches used. Its become a modern standard, but was hardly universal historically.

August 28, 2016 at 06:59 PM · I suspect 415 was chosen because it is a semitone below 440; which can be useful for pianists who are prepared to transpose when playing continuo.

August 28, 2016 at 07:20 PM · Lyndon is correct... and I find the whole history of standardization perplexing.

The HIP movement started as anti-establishment only to become its own nemesis. They picked 415Hz and simply by (blindly) sticking to it, it became contemporary Baroque "standard", which is misnomer.

During early music fares one can buy tuning fork for 415Hz and 430Hz but 432Hz is impossible to find.

It is entirely due to miracle of violin design that many more old violins did not succumb to higher tension already.

Personally, I find 432Hz very well suited for my instruments.

August 28, 2016 at 07:58 PM · If only we could persuade piano, harpsichord and organ makers to un-standardise their instruments, then we'd be able to fully reflect the diversity of Baroque tonality. ;)

August 28, 2016 at 08:35 PM · Lyndon/Trevor/Rocky - I recall reading that the use of A-415 by many during the Baroque period reflected the fact that it was a particularly good tuning for the harpsichord. Whether or not this is true, obviously, it was not universally adopted at that time.

August 28, 2016 at 10:39 PM · its only a particularly good tuning for some harpsichords, others are closer to A392, or A440 or almost anywhere in between, even above A 440, same is true for clavichords. Many harpsichords are supplied today transposing three pitches, A392, A415, and A 440. Of course the in betweens is another story involving a complete retuning of all the strings, and transposing only works ideally with equal temperament.

The recommended tuning of a keyboard has to do with the scale of c2 whether brass or iron wire was used, If 415 was standard one would expect all iron strung harpsichords to have the same scale, nothing could be further from the case.

August 29, 2016 at 06:15 AM ·

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