Are you in tune?

Something I’ve been mulling over for quite some time is the idea of our body being “in tune.” In my mind, being “in tune” is likened to classical musicians working together. The first thing every group does following a warm-up, is tune to one another. The better the musician, the better in tune he/she plays. This requires a very sophisticated amount of listening across an ensemble and truly paying attention to what notes tend to be more out of tune than others. Tuning throughout a piece of music is constantly changing so listening to everyone’s part at all times is imperative.

Tuning ForksWhen I began to research how concert pitches (A=440, A=432, A=444, etc.) can affect the human body, the first thing going through my mind was all about tuning. Basically, bad tuning equals nasty internal feelings. What if there really is a concert pitch that’s more in tune with the earth itself? I had to find out… You see, even if I don’t physically hear a pitch, my body does. What if the music I’m playing is not in sync with frequencies that are natural to the earth? Those out-of-tune notes are going to make my body feel like it’s listening to a group of beginning violin players… all day long. The thought of that makes me cringe. Not that I don’t enjoy hearing beginning musicians but the thought of my body “hearing” that sound 24 hours a day, seven days a week, would probably make me ill.

As a professional musician, my biggest pet peeve is being in an ensemble with people who don’t play in tune. If you’re not a musician and have never had the luxury of tuning to another instrument, take a little mind journey with me. For a moment, imagine you’ve gone to attend a beginning orchestra concert. These kids have only played a couple of months. Parents sit in the bleachers eager to hear the first notes, and, as their teacher raises the baton, everyone is at attention, even the audience. Strains of something that sounds like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” begin to float around the gym. This is where parents smile and say “Nice job!” through the pain at times. We don’t want to discourage beginners so we happily listen to the screeching out-of-tune sounds.

In Tune or Not in TuneTo give you an idea of what I’m talking about when it comes to tuning, watch this VIDEO that I made comparing two notes that are similar but out of tune. As the video progresses, I gradually bring the two notes in tune. You should be able to hear the “beating” between the two frequencies when they’re out of tune. My goal is for you to hear what being out of tune sounds like. Now, to cleanse your palette, here’s a rendition the main theme to “Star Wars” performed by the Boston Pops with John Williams conducting. Ahhh…. so well done and in tune!

A point that I make at the very end of the video is really the main theme for this blog post… Notes above and below the keyboard can be “heard” and felt in the body whether our ear hears them or not. So, when frequencies and numerical patterns around us tend to line up with pitches found in the A=432 tuning system (concert pitch), why should we not consider this as a viable concert pitch? What seems to be happening around us is the music we listen to is mostly in the A=440 concert pitch but what’s in the earth and the earth’s natural atmospheric frequencies tend to be closer to the A=432 concert pitch. In a sense, our bodies are “hearing” and sensing that out-of-tune beating pattern 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I wonder if this might have anything to do with some of the “dis-eases” we have that surround us today?

Thoughts and comments? Feel free to leave your two-bits below.

© 2016 by Del Hungerford




  • Charis says:

    Love it. I have a good relative sense of pitch but not a highly acute mathematical pitch memory. I came to realize this was a blessing as a singer because of all the wonky pianos I’ve had to adjust to. Some of my colleagues suffered agony in this regard and a couple insisted on being the only soldier in step. Most of them remembered A as 440 (or even 444). It doesn’t bother me to read music accompanied by an electronic instrument that can transpose the keys up or down, while it drives them nuts. A432 is very comfortable for me. I don’t know what I tune to when I’m in the shower.

    I experienced a bit of what highly sensitive pitch people go through when I was singing with an amateur orchestra and the concert master was late for rehearsal. Because of the lack of space a piano (filling in for harpsichord) was on far edge in the pit. The violins tuned to the piano and the other instruments tuned to their neighbour. We began the aria and as I walked across the stage the pitch rose higher the farther I moved away from the piano (with that wonderful bleating sound in the middle.) The concert master rushed in and fixed it (some “perfect pitch” people had difficulty compromising with a piano stored in a cold room) but it was very disorienting for a while.

    Later I ran across a quote from A.W. Tozer to the effect that a hundred pianos tuned to the same tuning fork would be more in tune than a hundred pianos tuned to each other. It made think about being in tune with God and finding our common center – our unity in the Spirit) in Him rather than looking to other people.

    Recently I also listened to a duet sung by young dueling sopranos whose vibratos were out of sync and banged against each other like pots and pans in the kitchen. Eventually they heard each other and the final chorus was lovely, although I don’t think they were consciously aware of making changes. It was a body-in-tune sympathetic vibration thing. Another analogy of unity.

    I love reading your explorations into healing sound. Thanks for this.

    • HealingFrequenciesMusic says:

      Thank you, Charis, for your story! I have a few of my own, which I do tell every once in a while throughout the various blog posts. Unity in tuning is really important! Such good points you make about this, especially about the two soprano voices. In one choir that I sang in, we weren’t allowed to use vibrato because too many of them didn’t match and it made the overall group not sound as good. But, when people really listen to one another, it’s an amazing sound.

  • Lana Frayer says:

    You explained this SO well that even I who am not very musical can understand this! I truly believe you could very well be right about this 432 hz bringing healing and restoring to our bodies so that they are in tune with the world God made and our hearing to be in harmony with this. This is very interesting!