# Topic: 440 Hz perfect A question

1. ## 440 Hz perfect A question

If 440 Hz is a perfect A, could someone please tell me was Hz a perfect A# would be? I'm guessing around 470 Hz, but I really need an exact number.

Thanks!

2. ## Re: 440 Hz perfect A question

466

466.163761518089916
to be exact

3. ## Re: 440 Hz perfect A question

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_pitch_notation

Handy chart in case you need other notes

4. ## Re: 440 Hz perfect A question

Interesting question.

Do you know that real players never tune together in this mathematic way?

That is the big reasen because good real string players sound so much better than a sampleorchestra... .

5. ## Re: 440 Hz perfect A question

The mathematics is as follows:
When using equal temperament, that is equal spaces between notes, each note is the twelth root of two times higher. When using natural temperament the pitch of the notes is based on ratios 1:2, 2:3, 3:4 etc. C3:C4 is 1:2 C3:G3 is 2:3 C3:F3 is 3:4
Unfortunately these do not give exactly the same results when you play in different keys. Before the use of equal termperament, only some of the keys could be used; in others the notes were so far out that they were noticeable.

This was changed around the time of Bach, I think, that was the purpose of the "Well Tempered Clavier", 24 pieces in each of the twelve possible keys. Only works in equal temperament, the further you go on the table of fifths the worse it gets, or at least thats what I have been led to believe.

(You might need to check the history - the maths are right)

6. ## Re: 440 Hz perfect A question

Thank you all. I recently recorded bagpipes and they ended up being around 450 for their A note. I just wanted a mathematical way to be able to closely match them via the cents I was going to have to tune up the my VSTi's to match them. Last night before bed I actually found out that Melodyne gave me a way to figure that also.

Thank again!

7. ## Re: 440 Hz perfect A question

Originally Posted by germancomponist
Interesting question.

Do you know that real players never tune together in this mathematic way?

That is the big reasen because good real string players sound so much better than a sampleorchestra... .

You are correct. BTW, my LA string performers were virtually dead-on in tune. Incredible.

8. ## Re: 440 Hz perfect A question

The mathematics is as follows:
When using equal temperament, that is equal spaces between notes, each note is the twelth root of two times higher. When using natural temperament the pitch of the notes is based on ratios 1:2, 2:3, 3:4 etc. C3:C4 is 1:2 C3:G3 is 2:3 C3:F3 is 3:4
Actually there never was an agreed system of tuning prior to equal temperament. That was a large part of the problem. There simply is no way to do it. Say you start on a C, and develop a chromatic scale by repeatedly using the 3:2 ratio for a 5th, the C you will eventually arrive on is not actually in a perfect octave ratio to the one you started on. The difference is Pythagoras' Comma. You get a slightly different 'comma' if you arrive at the chromatic scale using repeated 4th intervals (4:3).

In reality there never was a 'just intonation system,' which we glibly say was the situation before Bach. There were many tuning systems, each trying to doctor the perfect intervals in the most acceptable way. Some started with the interval of the 5th, but then shifted some notes to try and preserve the octave relationships in particular keys, as well as occasionally moving the major third in the home key of the instrument. The result was that many, many intervals were not in fact Pythagorean intervals at all, and yet you still couldn't modulate to distant keys. In most ways equal temperament is a not only more useful, but is actually no more of a compromise.

9. ## Re: 440 Hz perfect A question

equal temperament is what we are all used to hearing,
it gets my vote.

'A' above middle C on a piano = 440 hz.
I still don't like how fifths sound though,
but it is something we get used to.

me

10. ## Re: 440 Hz perfect A question

if you have a Mac, there's a cool widget called "Audio Unit Converter"

http://www.henrybourne.co.uk/widgetSite/

(I'm sure there are 1000s of tools like that on PC too)

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