The Danish Royal Library is really a gold mine for classical guitar players.
You will find on this site more than 1200 works by composers of the 19th century, known and less known.
Recently I have discussed with some friends about the tunings, and emerged a theory concerning the possibility of tune instruments using the A to 432 Hz instead of 440 Hz.
An interesting theory, halfway between science and New Age.
A Brief History of Tunings
Most of the world uses 440 Hz as the standard pitch tuning.
However, this has been a relatively recent standard, and 432 Hz is making a comeback.
Greek philosopher and mathematician, Pythagoras (570–495 BC), is often credited with identifying musical harmonic ratios related to scientific pitch and the birth of 432 Hz tuning with his instrument called the monochord.
In the early 20th century, there was a need to make a universal pitch standard used by all for sake of instrument makers, composers and orchestras everywhere.
Even though 432 Hz was fully supported by the French and Italian composers through most of the classical music periods, 440 Hz eventually became the universal pitch standard, the concert pitch:
Concert pitch refers to the pitch reference to which a group of musical instruments are tuned for a performance. Concert pitch may vary from ensemble to ensemble, and has varied widely over musical history. In the literature this is also called international standard pitch. The most common modern tuning standard uses 440 Hz for A above middle C as a reference note, with other notes being set relative to it.
The term “concert pitch” is also used to distinguish between the “written” (or “nominal”), and “sounding” (or “real”) notes of a transposing instrument — concert pitch here refers to the pitch on a non-transposing instrument. Music for transposing instruments is transposed into different keys from that of non-transposing instruments — for example, playing a written C on a B♭ clarinet or trumpet produces a non-transposing instrument’s B♭. This pitch is referred to as “concert B♭”.
The A above middle C is often set at 440 Hz although other frequencies are also used, such as 442 Hz and 443 Hz. Historically, this A has been tuned to a variety of higher and lower pitches.
The A432 debate
From The Mind Unleashed:
According to preliminary research, A=440Hz frequency music conflicts with human energy centers (i.e., chakras) from the heart to the base of the spine [the lower four].
Alternatively, chakras above the heart are stimulated.
Theoretically, the vibration stimulates ego and left-brain function, suppressing the “heart-mind,” intuition and creative inspiration.
Interestingly, the difference between 440 and 741 Hz is known in musicology as the Devil’s Interval.
A=432 is bio-neutral at worst, and is widely considered bioenergetically enhancing or healing if employed intentionally.
Meditation music at 432 Hz is certainly relaxing and soothing, though I don’t consider there to be anything “transformative” about it, and transformative measures are what we so desperately need to intercede in our collective path at this time.
With so much of the musical world (acoustic and electronic) operating at 440 Hz standard tuning today, it’s hard to imagine the shift to 432 Hz happening on a large scale quickly.
But there is a growing movement underway fueled by the sound healing community, select ensembles, researchers and scientists that will keep bringing this issue to light and allow music makers and listeners to consider the power of this tuning and how it affects the mind, body and spirit.
And now a short video with different tuning on piano:
In the previous article we report the opinions of Rob MacKillop about the use of the right hand without nail, using only the touch of flesh.
Today we face a traditional point of view: the famous book Pumping Nylon by Scott Tennant.
The right hand
The right hand produces sound: the quality of the tone is determined by both hands, but the quality of the tone and the volume are controlled by right hand.
The lenght and shape of the fingernail affects how you will able to carry out all the various parts of the finger approch on the string
If a fingernail is too long, the speed and easy with wich fingertip and fingernail attack the string is diminished, because the resistance is increased.
A bad fingernail shape can also create resistance between string and nail and cause unsavory sounds.
To gauge the length of your fingernail, hold your finger out horizontally and then place a surface against the fingertip at the right angle.
If the fingernail and flesh touch the surface at the same time, the length is good.
But, as always, a video is worth more than a thousand words:
Never ask a group of classical guitarists if you can play even without the nails of the right hand!
You risk being insulted brutally….and absolutely do not mention Tárrega!
Seriously, I came across this video where Rob MacKillop explains his technique developed without using the nails of his right hand, inspired by Fernando Sor technique.
Often, when you play other instruments besides the guitar (such as piano, bass, lute or ukulele) the right hand nails can be an obstacle or more susceptible to breakage, and it must be found a compromise solution.
It could be an interesting inspiration for a discussion on this topic, like this interesting article by Adam Rafferty:
- You are producing a FAT sound that originates from a deeper place than just the surface of the string.
- The front of your note should be like a “plump grapefruit” — not a cat claw!
- You “pop” the string into motion and love the sound you make playing a single note on your high E string.
- If you don’t like your sound, seek to fix it at the finger and string origin point — not the amplifier or eq knob.
- Don’t worry about speed. That’s a lower priority than tone.
- Listen to all great musicians on other instruments and go for a strength and center in your tone like theirs.
- Commit to your choice whatever it is and practice. It can take years to develop technique, so be patient.
- Listen attentively to the sound you are making, all the time.