“What people are doing is tuning old violins to new musical fashion. A more passionate view might be that musical treasures are being dangerously souped up to keep pace with unreasonable demands [for a stronger, more brilliant orchestral sound].
“The problem begins at A. In fact, that’s pretty much the whole problem. When the first Cremonese masters were making their violins, violas and cellos, everybody agreed that the pitch of A above middle C was around 420 cycles per second, or 420 hertz. Since A is the tuning note on which other notes–up and down– are based, first A is tuned in, then all strings are tightened accordingly. With A at 420 hertz, these instruments, which many say are unequaled for their tone quality, sounded warm and rich among the few other strings in a small chamber orchestra.
“But as orchestras and concert halls got bigger, musicians started to tune their instruments sharper, raising the pitch of A and thus all the other notes. The more brilliant, more piercing sound could be heard above other players and delight listeners even at the top of the third balcony.
“The more that violinists tightened their strings, the more pressure they put on their violin bodies. Singers had to reach for higher notes, putting more pressure on their bodies, too. By the time Giuseppe Verdi was writing his operas in the mid-19th century, A had sharpened to 435 hertz. That, Verdi thought, was enough for both man and machine. He got an international meeting in Vienna in 1885 to fix A at that level.
“It didn’t last. In 1939 another international meeting set A at 440 hertz…”
“Excerpt from “Violin Makers Fret As Musicians Fiddle With Their A-Strings,” by Philip Revzin, The Wall Street Journal, July 1988 from http://www.csus.edu/indiv/v/vonmeierk/1-10nois.html .
The “international meeting” mentioned above was apparently the Rockefeller Foundation meeting referenced below.
Here’s a conspiracy theory about it:
“Imagine that he [an incredibly powerful, wealthy person who secretly prospers from conflict, disease and war] bases the entire scale of musical artistic creation upon a frequency which would skew vibrations towards discord.
“It sounds like science fiction. Yet this is exactly what transpired in September 1939 when Rockefeller (Illuminati) financial interests dictated that the standard tuning for the note of “A” above middle C would henceforth be said to vibrate at precisely 440 cycles per second.
“This unnatural standard tuning frequency, removed from the symmetry of sacred vibrations and overtones, has declared war on the subconscious mind of Western Man.”
Excerpt from http://humansarefree.com/2011/03/does-conspiracy-extend-to-musical-scale.html .
Here is more:
“The arguments can get pretty technical with proponents of 432 claiming that it resonates with the Heart Chakra, repairs DNA and restores both spiritual and mental health. There is even the suggestion that 432 tuned music stimulates the right brain, responsible for our most desirable human traits.”
“The research conducted with grants from the Rockefeller Foundation (referenced earlier) determined that 440 Hz music was good at making people work harder and fostered personality traits more in tune with Startrek’s Vulcan character, Spock. These are pure left brain traits which stifle creative thought and null the emotions. It is clear why these traits were desirable in the Third Reich. It also might explain why modern music, which changed to the 440 Hz standard in 1939, has had such a negative effect on today’s culture.”
Excerpt from http://www.viewzone.com/432hertz222.html .
1939 image of Albert Einstein playing the violin from https://www.longislandpress.com/2013/02/01/einstein-on-the-beach/einstein-plays-violin-in-southold-1939/ .