It is said that the classic A=440 Hz tuning is a great conspiracy to destroy the human kind. And that there are reptilians ruling the Earth. And the pyramids were build by aliens! Well, actually I think that the pyramids were indeed build in a myserious way, but I prefer Graham Hancock over Erich von Daniken, if you know what I mean. As for the conspiracy and reptilians, I really don’t know neither do I believe in these theories ;). So let’s put the fun stuff behind us, and let’s keep our feet on the ground.
The entire concept of 440 Hz versus 432 Hz tuning is an interesting one. Generally a lot of people believe that 432 Hz is the more natural and healthy frequency to which instruments should be tuned. Is it true? Are there any research to confirm it? Is 432 Hz really a healing frequency? And what Native American flutes have to do with it?
Basically, it’s all about tuning the instrument to a different frequency of sounds that create “notes”. Some people don’t care about this, but others may prefer their flutes to be tuned to 432 Hz. For those of you who prefer this way, I’ve wrote this article.
432 Hz VS 440 Hz
It is said that frequency of sounds pay great role in the way our minds and bodies operate. The frequencies influence us, they can cause benefits or harm. In case of sounds, this role of frequency is often supported by the science of Cymatics or so called “water memory”, popularized by Dr. Masaru Emoto. These research show how the sound influence the water particles, and since our bodies are to be 70% water, it’s reasonable assumption that sound affect our bodies, too.
The A=440 Hz tuning is a frequency of music considered to be an international standard by the ISO since 1953. Those who study or popularize the idea of 432 Hz tuning says that 440 Hz is disharmonious with the natural resonance of nature, thus it may cause negative effects on our bodies and minds, like causing illnesses or negative emotions.
So, it is said that 432 Hz, also known as “Verdi Tuning”, vibrates with the Univers’s golden mean and generally, it is the natural, harmonious vibration of the Universe.
Musicians says that 432 Hz tuning is more harmonious and pleasant to the ear – something I personally agree with, without digging too deeply into the “Universe’s frequency”. It seems, and others agree, that 432 Hz tuning is directed towards inside, while 440 Hz is directed towards outside. Thus, it seems and it feels like 432 Hz music is more personal, more mystical and more spiritual, than the general ISO-positive music. Other words to describe this are: 432 Hz music sounds warmer and clearer, while 440 Hz music is more aggressive and stronger.
In the end, the 432 Hz is more “organic”, while 440 Hz is more “industrial”.
Further reading on the 432 Hz tuning:
The 432 Hz Tuning on Native American Flute
Most flute makers tune their flutes to the standard concert pitch, that is A=440 Hz. What does it mean? Each sound of the Native American Flute has its own frequency. The A=440 Hz means that the base frequency for the sound “A” is 440 Hz, and all other sounds are tuned in respect with this base frequency. When we change the base frequency of A to A=432 Hz, all other sounds are tuned in harmonious respect to that new base frequency. That’s it :).
But more and more people tune their flutes to 432 Hz – some people do so because they believe in 432 Hz to be a healing frequency of music. Others do so because, for the ear, it means that the Native American flute tuned to 432 Hz will sound “deeper” and softer and these people can actually hear the difference and prefer this “healing” tuning over the ISO standard.
Personally, I tune most of my flutes to A=432 Hz – these are the flutes that I play on and the flutes I sell on Etsy. But I do not do this because I believe in 432 Hz to be some healing frequency – I simple believe that 432 Hz tuned Native flutes sound better, they are more pleasant to the ear.
If you wish to buy a Native American style flute in 432 Hz tuning, you either have to find one – most flute makers write down the info on tuning. Others make such flutes as custom orders. These days, it’s very easy to find a 432 Hz Native American style flute.
If you need some more listening experiences, YouTube is full of videos presenting flutes in both 440 and 432 tuning. You should check them out to hear the difference for yourself: Native American Flute 432 Hz – or you can listen to my own 432 Hz tuned branch flute in the key of A:
In the end, it’s all up to the flute player to decide which tuning works for him or her better.
How to Tune the Native American Flute to 432 Hz
When we want to tune the flute to a pentatonic scale, first we set the fundamental note by making the bore (sound chamber) shorter. Then, we take the tuning table and we look what notes are associated to this particular fundamental note, and then we just tune the finger holes. We usually tune with the help of a tuner – a small device or a computer program. Within most of these tuners, we can set the base frequency of the tuning – normally, A equals 440 Hz – A=440.
If we want to tune our Native American style flute to 432 Hz as we make the flute, we need to set our tuner to A=432 Hz – there should be the proper buttons on the device, or controls in our software. That’s how you change the base frequency for the A sound – everything else is simple. Once the A is set to 432 Hz, we can tune the flute like we tune all other flutes, by shortening the bore, or enlarging the finger holes and so on…
I would not recommend re-tuning a flute that is already finished, or a flute bought somewhere else. You may not be able to re-tune it if you do not have enough experience.
You may notice that the flute tuned to 432 Hz is slightly longer than 440 Hz flute – it means it takes a longer bore on 432 Hz flute to achieve the note that requires shorter bore on the 440 Hz flute.
What are your experiences with the 432 Hz tuning? Do you hear or feel the difference? Which tuning do you prefer? Please share your thoughts through the comments below.