Blog Post

The 432 vs. 440 Hz Music Conspiracy

14040011 - dj at work, shot in clubWe recently had a question from a reader asking if there was anything New Age about music that had been deliberately recorded at 432 Hz. At first, I thought this question was a little odd, until I looked into it and made a few surprising discoveries.

For those who are not familiar with music and tuning, the note A in the middle of the treble staff is supposed to be tuned to 440 Hz. In fact, as this article relates, the International Standards Organization actually issued guidelines to this effect back in the 1950s.

However, there are some who say that 432 Hz is mathematically consistent with the universe and all music based on 432 Hz transmits beneficial healing energy. Music tuned to 432 Hz is said to be easier on the ears and more conducive to meditative states.

“432 Hz seems to work at the heart chakra, ‘the feeling,’ and therefore could have a good influence on the spiritual development of the listener,” this article opines.

Yes, this all sounds very New Age, but wait! It gets weirder.

Apparently, some believe that our music was deliberately tampered with by the Nazis who moved it from the 432 Hz supposedly used by the great masters such as Mozart and Verdi, and upped it to 440 Hz because this is out of tune with the universe. And, as a result, it causes all kinds of anti-social behavior in humans. In fact, this diabolical plot to ruin the consciousness of the world was allegedly dreamed up by the infamous Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels himself.

Thus far, I have seen no hard evidence to prove that Goebbels was associated with any such experimentation.

As for claims that 432 Hz music is more harmonious and healing than 440 Hz, I did manage to find a blog by Professor Trevor Cox, who teaches acoustics and audio engineering at the University of Salford, who put these assertions to the test.

Professor Cox constructed a web experiment consisting of 10 pieces of music which were pitch shifted to produce seven different tuning frequencies: 416, 424, 432, 440, 448, 456 and 465Hz. Several hundred people participated in the experiment which produced less than spectacular results.

“[F]or people who took part in my experiment . . . 432 Hz and 440Hz were rated with equal preference,” he concluded.

When I played and then compared the two pieces of music, I had to concur. There was hardly a discernable difference between 432 Hz and 440 Hz.

But that’s not stopping people from recording music at the 432 Hz. I even found Gregorian Chant which had been re-tuned to the lower Hz.

One side of the controversy says the higher frequency is the frequency of Satan while the other side claims the lower frequency can do everything from heal cancer cells to make the world a more harmonious place to live.

I was unable to find any credible research indicating the healing power of 432 Hz any more than I could find evidence of diabolical oppression in higher frequencies.

Once again, it seems that the only basis for these New Age claims is someone’s overactive imagination.