442 Hz [Archive] - Sax on the Web Forum

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magical pig
10-01-2006, 11:04 PM
Is tuning to 442Hz rather than 440Hz a stupid thing to do or is it valid if I tend to hear things right at 442? I had the same problems when tuning the upright bass. I often tuned to 443 Hz on the bass with no one ever noticing. I even got compliments a few times on my playing the nights I tuned this high. Is it that I felt more comfortable with the tuning and as a consequence played better or that the inherent characteristics to the 443 tuning made my bass playing easier to hear or drastic changes in the listening experience?

I'm asking because I thought it might be a bass player's thing but now that I play saxophone I still feel the need to tune to 442/443. Could there be a relationship between the fact that the bass & the saxophone don't have keys like the piano does or frets like guitars? I'm also aware that a piano is not tuned at the same pitch on all the keys and that throughout history this tuning thing has changed. Could I be part of a "new breed"?;) :D

PS : I admit I did not check if it's been discussed already. If it had I'm sorry in advance.

10-01-2006, 11:41 PM
magic, yes this topic has been discussed here at length.

Baically 442 is "orchestral tuning", only suited for string instruments that play with 442 wind instruments ( a very small minority of modern horns are 442 and pretty much exclusively used in orchestras.)
If you are playing with non 442 instruments, then you should tune/play at 440, which is the WORLD standard for instrument production (excluding the previously mentioned 442 instruments).

Yes I imagine you do like 443 better..the basic reaason that 442 became used in orchestras was to make the orchestra that tuned to 442 sound brighter (and consequently more bright or attractive) than the competing orchestra that tuned to 440.

We need standards....without them we have chaos. That is why we have the overwhelming majority of instruments produced to play optimally at 440 now.

Also 442 is widely promoted in France and Japan. The reason it was promoted in Japan is because, some years ago, Yamaha hatched a plot to produce 442 instruments for school band programs and had hoped to monopolize the Japanese domestic market on school instruments.
The plot fell through and the instruments were not produced, however it did not fall through soon enough before Yamaha salesmen and representatives had convinced enough piano tuners and music "gatekeepers" that you should tune to 442 because the "French do it" and "it sounds better".

442 for anything other than orchestras or all string groups is nonsense, really. Even then, I think it is dumb.

Carl H.
10-02-2006, 01:21 AM
442 for anything other than orchestras or all string groups is nonsense, really. Even then, I think it is dumb.

Well said (My "day" job is playing violin).