BIT Studio

September 6, 2016

Hertz Too Much

Filed under: MUSIC — webmaster @ 3:10 pm

┬áThe sweet spot of intra-brain communication is 40 Hz (Gamma waves) and studies have shown that people with certain forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, have decreased brain activity in the 40 Hz area. Recent research by Lee Bartel et al has shown that exposure to 40 Hz vibrations in as little as six sessions of 30 minutes each can have a significant impact on mental stability, specifically an average gain of 12 per cent on the total Alzheimer’s test (Young, 2016).

The standardization of A at 440 Hz was established in the 1930s so that recording studios in New York could sync harmonically with recording studios in Los Angeles. Before then, there was no worldwide standard on pitch. A432 was commonly used because it was based on a C256, which has binary implications (that is, two to the eighth power is 256). But every country, even every city or concert house, had their own opinion regarding pitch.

When the note A is tuned to 440 Hz, low E on the piano is at 41.2 Hz and low Eb is at 38.9 Hz. So, 40 Hz is located about halfway between E and Eb. What are the implications of a low E being close to 40 Hz? Many stringed instruments have an E as the lowest and/or most important string, such as the lute, guitar, sitar, double bass, and electric bass guitar. And what about chanting and meditation? What pitch was the original OM? Is a low E at 40 Hz where our forefathers intended our E to be?

Ancient medical practices were not developed without reason; acupuncture is effective and some herbal medicines, typically created over time through trial and error, inexplicably work. So what about sound? Did early civilizations naturally gravitate to a 40 Hz fundamental in pursuit of inner peace and harmony? Did our society lose sight of the holy grail of pitches to accommodate the needs of the recording industry?

A427 is where A would be if a low E is set to 40Hz. Setting A to 427 Hz is not a major deviation from the norm: In the early 1700s, Joseph Sauveur was the first to propose a standardized pitch, and he recommended A427; The Paris Opera House in 1811 used A427 for their orchestral tuning. Given that the sweet spot of intra-brain communication is 40 Hz, is an A set at 440 Hz too high? If 40 Hz is the optimal frequency for brain connectivity, perhaps we should move to an A427 standard so that our brains are given the best environment for success.

As an interesting exercise in brain-massaging pleasure, I recommend listening to Mozart’s Adagio for Violin and Orchestra K261, written in the key of E, then remixed through the magic of 21st century technology (that is, use an iTunes app to lower the pitch by one half of a semitone) to be…wait for it…Mozart’s Adagio K261, written in the key of E and performed in the key of Eb and a half.

As mentioned earlier, the Paris Opera House in 1811 tuned to A427. It would not be a stretch to imagine that the premiere of Mozart’s Adagio in E for Violin and Orchestra, composed in 1776, was performed using an orchestral tuning of A427 featuring a low E at an enlightening and brain-friendly frequency. Enjoy your 40 Hz fix!

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