Pitch has been used to socialize. Modern music’s impression differs from sound’s capacity to heal. We are bruised by the difference, the dissonance. To have changed nature (music in 432 Hz tuning) to something out of balance with nature (music 440 Hz tuning) enabled sound control where sound ceremony may have been sound’s actual cosmic design.
Standing in front of the orchestra, preparing to play this or that concerto, she cued the clarinet to play an “A.” This was not unlike any other day; the “A” would roll out of the end of the erect, black instrument. She felt a flutter in her eyes: a flutter that flashed and then left a small gap. The orchestras, for which she had been concert master, had never concerned themselves with the vibrational distance between 440 Hz and 432 Hz. Although she could definitely tell a difference between either case-of-“A,” there was not much she could do about changing that plight. Enforcement of the 440 Hz had been doing its damage for as far back as she could remember: long before she was born. When her parents played music to her in the womb, thinking they were doing her a service, they probably unknowingly drenched her in a damaging vibration.
What do you expect of her? Is she to throw a fit, tear at her hair, disassemble her violin on the spot, there in front of all of the players whose thoughts are on what they are going to have for dinner or how sore their back is, totally unaware of the damage of the dis, while she is being brutalized by the vibrational difference? It’s a distance she feels, really. Is she to lash out at the design-flaw in the conductor’s hand as he nods his head negatively, implying that the clarinet’s “A” is out of tune with the 440 tuner in his hand?
No. In order to be able to play with the group, she has to align herself with both versions of the “A”.
As a person with perfect pitch, she hears the differences in the frequencies by feeling and if she is to not go crazy due to that difference, she has to find ways to work with it. Those ways of working would later cause her to develop a relationship with the cyborg as a form for working with hybrids, mixes. This would make her realize that instead of feeling perpetually disturbed by dis, and having to live with a small gap, she could raise the dynamic of dissonance in all of the music of her life: do this by her own will. She could turn this inheritance into a thorough crack in her psyche.
The visions that she got from cracking the 440 wide open were versions that were worth something to her now, as she began to try and find. Having eventually left the orchestra, she is now invested in the other side of the other side and whether or not that place is capable of returning her to nature in a form that differs from a circle.
An eight vibration difference per second has a dramatic effect on human consciousness. In 440, overtones leak or shred, lose their pull on the third eye. Vibrations which do not align with nature cause the release of stress hormones, the flight reaction in herd behavior. When you hear classical music (tuned to 440), do you unexplainably feel like running out the door as retort? When you feel the ground begin to shake while the orchestra is tuning, do you want to pull your own eyelashes out? Do you weep at a high point in the composition, for what seems like no reason, and in that, wonder if you are being controlled by someone hiding behind the curtain like the Wizard of Oz? Perhaps all of these are your body’s natural reaction to pitch having been unnaturally altered. If you feel compelled to escape from a scene that you are in perhaps you need to re-tune the “A” of the context you are in. It is your right to do so.
She is continually retuning now. It is possible to progress by sympathetic congruence, for coherences of energy to support and engender a most natural spin. As she grows by way of works within this subliminal devotion she remembers that, as a child, she heard the 440 Hz tuning more often than she even heard her mother say “I love you.”
She decides that being human, now, is more complicated than it was for the first humans on earth. She is a cyborg becoming a human woman. It is for this reason, that in process, she commits to giving herself a lot of breathing room and access to some grace.
Piece originally published at Berfrois.
j/j hastain is a collaborator, writer and maker of things. j/j performs ceremonial gore. Chasing and courting the animate and potentially enlivening decay that exists between seer and singer, j/j, simply, hopes to make the god/dess of stone moan and nod deeply through the waxing and waning seasons of the moon.