440 vs 432 MH tuning

Has Hohner ever made a harmonica tuned down to A432? or, how about another manufacturer tuning at the lower MH?

Asking for a friend. :wink:

If Hohner ever tuned to A432, it will have been a very long time ago. I can’t really imagine any manufacturer doing this today, as the harmonica would then be out of tune with all other instruments. But I’m sure that someone will have tried retuning to a lower pitch and I believe there are orchestras performing baroque music on historic instruments which are tuned to this pitch. Why do you ask?

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Thank you very much.

I ask because I’m curious. I question authority more and more. Sometimes I’m ignored or written off as a nut. Maybe I am. Maybe it’s not me who is nutty. (I’m not a flat earther.)

My curiosity was stimulated by Howard Levy’s recent YouTube video on 12th position which included a discussion of tuning. I recommend it, although he’s probably not sharing anything you don’t already know.

You’ve helped me to better understand tuning options and the complexities. I’m grateful for your generosity.

So, if a harmonica is tuned to A=432, then stringed instruments (not pianos) can easily be tuned accordingly. My Peterson tuners have it built in as a setting.

Backing tracks and industry recordings are a different story. The momentum seems impossible to change.

My experience playing guitars at A=432 was interesting. It’s subtle, but I prefer it. The subconscious mind is overlooked by the medical and scientific industries. Music is magical. Maybe music can be more helpful.

You are an authority I trust. Industry standards are worthy of questioning.

Thanks again Steve!

You don’t sound nutty at all to me. I suspect that the present day definition of A=440 is a measure of convenience. Not everyone accepts this anyway, orchestras in Europe usually tune to A=443, and in the Far East I believe some tune as high as A=445, whereas in the USA they generally use A=440.

Could it be that A=432 more reflects the resonant frequencies found in nature? I have a set of tuning forks claimed to be tuned to the “frequencies of the planets”, which are specifically defined and don’t appear to correspond to the A=440 system. After all, harmony is a natural phenomenon, not a human invention. Harmonic relationships exist independently of our perception of them.

It seems that note values have risen in pitch over time, Wikipedia says A=440 was generally introduced in 1939 and previous pitch definitions were lower. As you say, stringed instruments can be retuned fairly easily, and the physical and emotional effects of playing music at a slightly lower pitch will presumably be different. Music resonates within us.

Thank you for your kind words, do keep on questioning :thinking:

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Thank you very much.

I wonder what it would cost to have a harmonica custom tuned to A=432. Any ideas?

1939 was an interesting time in history. Music was becoming industrialized. I can appreciate the benefits of a standard, but wonder who was involved and how A=432 was chosen. I’m gonna research it.

Thanks again.

There are plenty of harp techs who will be able to do that for you, though prices may vary considerably. You’d need to specify the fine tuning. You could try enquiring on Harp-L or contact one of the Hohner Affiliated customizers:


Hi Steve,

Now you have opened a discussion that philosophers will love, and similar to the question they often give in class for students to discuss: “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to witness it, does it make any noise?” :innocent:

– Slim.Fatz

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