Perfect Pitch

Ruth E. Rosenberg
2021 Journal of Popular Music Studies  
432 Hz music is a relatively recent internet-based phenomenon that has attracted listeners and musicians from all parts of the world. Increasingly connected via social media, listeners in this subculture do not necessarily share the same musical tastes or backgrounds. Rather, they have in common a belief that music tuned to the standard pitch of A-440 Hz is in some sense "out of tune" with nature or humanity. Alternatively, they prefer (and in some cases promote and advocate for) music that is
more » ... uned to a slightly lower, A-432 Hz standard. This preference is, for many, connected to beliefs that the A-432 Hz tuning reference can be physically, psychologically, and even spiritually beneficial. This article examines the promise of—and skepticism towards—the concept of "frequency" that is at the center of the 432 Hz phenomenon. It draws from research into some of the common historical, scientific, and conspiratorial claims made by 432 Hz advocates, as well as from qualitative data collected from dedicated 432 Hz listeners. After exploring the listening practices and media engagement of 432 Hz proponents, the article asks how the rise of 432 Hz music might relate to other recent and emerging forms of music consumption, the affective marketing of sound, and the management of personal sonic space.
doi:10.1525/jpms.2021.33.1.137 fatcat:a4dnujdidjbjbe4feorzdi5lzm