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Can I Still listen To Music In Standard Tuning?

February 11, 2018

 

I get this question quite a bit, and the answer is; yes, of course! I mean, good luck avoiding it!

 

If it was dangerous to listen to music tuned to 440 hz and equal temperament, we would all be in big trouble since this is the case with the vast majority of music we hear every single day. 

 

Is it bad for us in any way?

 

The answer must be yes, but it is highly unlikely that one song will make us drop dead or anything like that.

 

For overall wellbeing the human body needs to be in a state of harmony. Anything that is dissonant will cause some sort of problem, but the human body is an amazing piece of technology!

 

For example there are people who eat nothing but junk food their entire lives and still they can make it to 50-60 years of age. They dont look good, and im sure they dont feel good, but they are alive. The body is still functioning. At a bare minimum, at least.

 

You have to decide your own degree of wellbeing, so to speak.

 

We are surrounded by dissonant sounds all the time. We cant avoid it, unless we live up on a mountain somewhere or something like that and we never have anything to do with human civilization. You get the point…

 

What is important is, first of all, that we are aware of how our surroundings affect us, that we are aware that music and sound affect us to a very high degree, and that we consciously and actively create balance and harmony in our surroundings.

 

Like I have talked about before; find quiet! Also, really listen to music! Feel the music! How does it affect you? And if there is any music that makes you feel a bit off, then simply stop listening to it. Just like you stop eating food that makes you feel a bit off when you become conscious of your health.

 

And it is not like there is either 432 hz healing music or 440 harmful music out there in the world. There are many variations in standard pitch.

 

Most of the music from the past 60-70 years is probably 440 hz equal temperament. We can bet that 99,9% of all music created on a computer is this, for sure.

 

Other than that there are many variations. I like to listen to a lot of pre 1950s blues and country for example. These people didnt have tuners and their frequencies are all over the place! They tuned by ear, and as long as they were in tune realtive to eachother it didnt matter much. We can be sure that this is the case for many artists and bands in the 50`s, 60s and even the 70s too. I havent analysed it, but if you feel like doing it, let me know what you find;)

 

By the 80s, digital tuners, synthesizers and computers were becoming very common and as a result, the harmonic quality suffered.

 

I also listen to quite a bit of classical music and here we can find great variation in standard pitch and temperament. Also classical composers are absolute experts on harmony, so even if it is 440 it will often be pretty harmonious.

 

Another thing I really like to listen to is traditional Indian music. Preferably recordings that are at least 30 years old. The indians have a completely different musical system than the west and a lot of the music is absolutely sublime and has amazing healing properties!

 

It is also important to remember that singers will never be perfectly tuned, so a lot of singers both modern and older have wonderful healing voices even if the music they sing over might be less harmoniuos. As long as the voice isnt autotuned or digitalized in any other way, it will in most cases be perfectly “safe” and quite healing to listen to. You can make almost any instrument fir into a standard, except for the human voice.

 

It is perhaps interesting to note that when 440 hz was introduced as standard concert tuning around 1950 a lot of singers protested, saying that it was too sharp and it strained their voices too much!

 

So in conclusion; Listen to whatever you want, of course. It is very unlikely that it will kill you, but practice listening and really feeling the music and become aware of the effect that different music has on you! And if anything feels uncomfortable or “off” in any way, then, yes, I would recommend that you stop listening to it. There is lots of music that I used to love that I have stopped listening to because I have become very sensitive to harmony. In the beginning it felt like a loss. Like parting forever with dear, old friends. And that is what it really was, in a way, but one of the cornerstones of my spiritual practice is detachment. It is only a song, after all. And all this new awareness has in many ways been like discovering music all over again, and it has been, and continues to be, immensely rewarding.

 

Allright, lets end it there!

 

Thank you very much for reading, and I will be back with more soon.

 

Jonas

 

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