Before we move on to anything else, let us relate the three distinct frequencies of sound that are known to science. Firstly, there’s infrasonic frequency whose range falls below the bandwidth of 20Hz, followed by the sonic frequency that lies within the window of 20Hz and 20,000Hz and ultrasonic frequency that goes even higher than the 20,000Hz mark. It is only the sonic frequency that our bodies are meant to perceive and react to thus, implying that the former plays a crucial role in altering our senses. Our balance (equilibrioception), joint motion and acceleration (kinaesthesia), direction (magnetoception), pain, time and temperature differences are all influenced by sound frequencies.
How frequency affects our body?
The effect of sound in our brain usually makes way for a common theme of resonance which is related to the concept of brainwave entertainment. The term brainwave entertainment, in turn, denotes the application of certain frequencies to activate the bands of electrical wave resonance within our brain to further incite different neurological states within our body. For instance, too much beta activity can persuade you to have thoughts of fear towards things that you usually go easy with. Similarly, even though there are a lot of good things that might accompany beta waves yet, there’s a fair chance for it to stress you out and knock you out from your shell of comfort within seconds.
Taking all these facts into account, it wouldn’t be completely wrong to state that sound, especially the one emitted by music, is known to stimulate both the auditory and vestibular systems. Additionally, it also activates those parts of the brain that are linked with emotional processing and higher cognitive processes to trigger the lateral pre-motor and supplementary motor areas. This is more or less the reason why music therapy is being prioritized to treat patients with physical and mental disabilities.
The difference between sound frequencies
The obsession with 400Hz in music existed forever; in 1885, the Music Commission of the Italian Government declared that all musical instruments and orchestras should be tuning their pieces with a vibration that is exactly 440Hz and is different from the 432Hz and 435Hz used in France. This assertion was further accentuated by 1917 and 1940s where the American Federation of Musicians affirmed this optimal frequency decided upon by the French musicians. It was exactly in 1953 when a worldwide agreement claiming that the middle A of piano, under all circumstances, be tuned at 440Hz was signed. Thereafter, this frequency was regarded as the standard ISO-16 reference to be followed for tuning all musical instruments that were specifically based on the legendary chromatic scale. Nonetheless, in the case of all the other notes too that were not constricted by any specifics as such started inclining towards the standard mathematical ratios that led to and were sourced from 440Hz. But, the catch is, there is not enough evidence that will prove why or how was this frequency delegated to be the standard. In fact, there are a lot of people who completely despise this frequency and are of the opinion that the middle A of the piano is a revulsion against the natural frequency of sounds. It is actually the 432Hz that resonates with the 8Hz, also called the Schumann Resonance- the documented principal electromagnetic beat of the Earth.
As opposed to this, there is this group of people that supports the frequency 528Hz and calls it the digital bio-holographic precipitation crystallization and the miraculous manifestation of diving frequency vibrations. There’s hardly any way in which we can comprehend the underlying meaning of such a tough term but, one thing that we can confirm for sure is that it creates the ground for innumerable conspiracies to thrive on.
Myths surrounding the 440Hz frequency
You will be intrigued to know how people believe that the 440Hz frequency brings along some sort of evil and sinister forces with it. It is said that the Rockefeller Foundation was keen to ensure that the United States adopted the 440Hz standard in 1935 to incite the “war in consciousness” that would eventually open doors to “musical cult control”. Quite clearly, the USA, back in 1935 wanted to mold the frequency of music and affect the psychology of the people they were targeting to colonize through the war; meaning, music at 440Hz was consciously turned into a military weapon.
If you are still looking for a few more instances where the 440Hz frequency music was used to modify the conscience of people, we cannot help but, recall the one that was employed by the propaganda minister of the Nazis, Joseph Goebbels. He insisted on tuning the 440Hz in Germany because as per his beliefs, this frequency made people think and feel in a specific way that would benefit their clan and make them the “prisoner of a certain consciousness”.
But, let’s attend these conjectures for once and all. People are often swayed by the preconceived notion that 432Hz frequency is better than is 440Hz counterpart and suitable for fabricating songs and music that are aimed at soothing the heart. There is indeed a specific frequency value that is used as the core for tuning systems such as 440Hz, 432Hz or 444Hz but, that doesn’t have to be always blindly followed. Furthermore, there’s also the question of intervals and intonation that are formulated from the very reference point of frequency. As far as equal treatment is concerned, there are some intervals between the notes that are deliberately pulled out of the track and are particularly useful while making an instrument. This infers that, if required, you can easily use temperament based on 440Hz because it is not the starting frequency that matters but, the other notes that are generated by this initial frequency that rings in the difference.
The bottom line
Different frequencies of music are intentionally injected with an aim to typify the melody, dynamics, tempo, and mood and then thrust them in equal degrees in the minds of the listeners. Regardless of all the truths stated above, we are presently tuning the main sound that is played at 440Hz for the songs recorded at the studio.