Having grown up with music since age three, I'm sensitive to tonality and pitch, especially when it deviates from the norm. Of course, norms are built by adaptation and I was thus pre-conditioned to A440. It's what I resonate the most with and gives me an unfair preferential advantage toward that frequency. Nevertheless, change is possible and tone is relative to time, volume, and medium structures; the human body being no exception. Size does matter and thus everyone will react differently. But for the sake of this discussion, we shall look at the difference between A432 and A440, its true history, and possibly answer the great controversy around this subject. Is a 1.8% offset of A440 an ideal natural resonant frequency? Did the Nazis establish A440 to degenerate the population?

To start, the Nazis DID NOT establish the A440 standard, or set it as as an evil degenerative tone, as shown below. It was actually "Verdi" and others recently who established the tone to help singers hit high notes. Also, A432 cymatic videos on the internet do not take volume size into account, thus giving a false sense of natural resonance. Let's take a look at some evidence.

  • Prior to the standardization on 440 Hz (Stuttgart pitch), many countries and organizations followed the French standard since the 1860s of 435 Hz
  • 1740: Handel's tuning forks set to 422.5 Hz
  • 1780: tuning forks set to 409 Hz
  • 1815: Dresden opera house tuning fork gives A = 423.2 Hz
  • 1826: fork from the same opera house gives A = 435 Hz
  • Milan: La Scala, A rose as high as 451 Hz
  • 1834: Johann Heinrich Scheibler recommended A440 as a standard after inventing the "tonometer" to measure pitch
  • 1834: German Natural History Society approves it
  • 1859, February 16: French government law sets A at 435 Hz
  • 1874: Verdi writes his Requiem in A435, but then recommends A432
  • 1885: Austrian government recommends A435
  • 1896: British recommend new philharmonic pitch at 439 Hz
  • 1926: American music industry reached an informal standard of 440 Hz and some began using it in instrument manufacturing
  • 1936: American Standards Association recommended that the A above middle C be tuned to 440 Hz
  • 1939: international conference recommends A440
  • 1955: standard adopted by the International Organization for Standardization, reaffirmed in 1975 as ISO 16
  • 1988: Schiller Institute recommends Verdi's La at 432 Hz

In the period instrument movement, a consensus has arisen around a modern baroque pitch of 415 Hz (with 440 Hz corresponding to A♯), baroque for some special church music (Chorton pitch) at 466 Hz (with 440 Hz corresponding to A♭), and classical pitch at 430 Hz.

Pitch is affected by temperature, pressure, humidity, and other auditory factors. Note that vibrations travel over mediums at specific speeds and thus containment sizes may respond differently. This means that, say, a 100 cm water tank may resonate best to A440 while a 101.85 cm tank will resonate best to A432. When these experiments are set up, size will determine results, not necessarily frequency. Size does matter.

So, is 432 Hz the God frequency? Was it purposely changed by the Nazis? Apparently not. Still, people due to their size and make up, will resonate differently to a given frequency, so your mileage will vary.