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  • 440Hz or 442Hz?

  • Margaret Durack

    Member
    6 May, 2021 at 5:20 am

    Hi Everyone,

    Not sure if anyone else is in this situation. When tuning a harp, does it matter if your electric tuner is set to 440Hz or 442Hz? Can this be changed from harp to harp without damaging it?

    As you may have noticed I’m new to the harp. I purchased a Salvi Titan. It wasn’t until its arrival I found information stating it was tuned to 442Hz. My understanding is harps made in the USA use 440Hz. Can I use that setting when I tune my harp or will it damage it? Is there really a difference? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Cheers😀,

    Margaret

  • Venessa Hart

    Member
    6 May, 2021 at 5:34 am

    Margaret, that is interesting! I have to find out why they tune to442 Hz. There are many articles about music being played at different Hz can be more peaceful and relaxing. I myself played dulcimer at 444 Hz. for years because it was recommended to me to try it. So I did.

    Happy Harping,

    Nessa

  • Candace C.

    Member
    7 May, 2021 at 5:20 am

    I heard the Boston Symphony Orchestra tunes at 444hz. Can this put too much tension on the harps?

    • Claire Lécuyer

      Member
      9 May, 2021 at 6:55 pm

      I think it can be fine, because 2 hz is a very small difference (less than a quarter tone I think), but I personally don’t see the interest, unless you want to play with them 😎

  • Margaret Durack

    Member
    7 May, 2021 at 6:27 am

    I was wondering if I could decrease to 440Hz so I would be tuned the same as other harps.(ex. Christy-Lyn) So much to learn about harps 😄

    Margaret

    • Claire Lécuyer

      Member
      9 May, 2021 at 6:52 pm

      Hi Margaret, you can retune your harp to 440hz without any problem, it won’t hurt your harp 🙂 It may be easier to play with other instruments, but I think that depends where you are located. As far as I know, 442 is more an american norm, since 440 is the european (or international!) standard (please US people tell me if I’m wrong…). Some US orchestras even play in 444, that comes from classical pianists who tends to like a brighter (higher) sound. There is also a big question about 432hz which would be, for some people, more ‘natural’, with some of mystic vibration (I didn’t try yet)

  • Margaret Durack

    Member
    20 May, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    Sorry for the late response. Thanks to everyone who replied. I recently saw a you tube segment about this too. It seems to be undecided as to which is best. If I learn something more, I’ll add the info here.

  • JS Moir

    Member
    3 June, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    Margaret- As a singer, the desire to raise the pitch on acoustic (and historical) instruments, is a mania with people who want ‘brighter, louder, more ‘in your face’ sounds- which is (as far as I can tell) as a result of electric amplification. (thanks, but no). Historic tuning at a given pitch has a long history of contrasting opinions. By raising pitch on Bach’s music, for example, his solo vocal pieces become almost un-performable… because, while instruments can be tuned ‘up’, voices… can’t! In addition, beautiful older instruments (like Stradivarius violins) have been seriously damaged by the increased downward pressure on the plate, from strings tuned to higher tensions. So, yes. Europe’s ‘serious’ (read, classical) musicians have arbitrarily determined that 442Hz is ‘where it’s at.’ And American Classical Musicians follow along, except for a few…One harpist who understands that higher frequencies create more tension (aurally as well as physically, is the lovely harpist, Tracie Lin. She tunes (as do I) her harp to 432Hz- a LOT lower than is ‘common.’ And ALL her music is performed at that pitch standard- what is affectionately called the “Verdi tuning” (after the great Opera Composer). And, as a basso singer/teacher, I’d much rather tune my instrument (a-hem!) to the way God made it, and save either strings (harp) or vocal cords (voice) from ‘breaking.’ I could say much much more, but. Well…. hope that helps. (but yes, tuning to 440 for your harp will NOT damage it!)

  • Margaret Durack

    Member
    17 June, 2021 at 11:09 am

    Wonderful! So much great info. When I played piano this never came to mind. Whatever the piano tuner did was fine with me. I get what you’re saying regarding singers. Higher and higher would be awful. Thanks again. Happy harping😁

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