Musical Skepticism Opus 1

In addition to my interest in science and futurism, I am a skeptic. This article is intended to be educational and based on science. It might seem out of the usual purview for this show, given my discussion of fiction and speculation about the future, but being a skeptic means, to me, having a honed ability to think critically and rationally, which in turn is essential for scientific progress.

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Musical skepticism No. 1

Perhaps it’s because a musician, but the woo surrounding sound and frequencies bother me more than most bs beliefs. I just found a new one, the frequency of 528 is love, repairs DNA, cures disease, and does all sorts of fabulous tricks. Setting aside that physics doesn’t work this way and there is no actual, repeatable, testable evidence this works, I don’t have the physics training to debunk that side, I’m calling bullshit on the audio aspct alone.

On the website I found promoting all this nonsense, they claim that 528hz is the MI in the solfeggio system. This is wrong in several ways. For one, solfege is not tied to any exact notes. It’s a way of vocalizing scales, and whether you start on a C or on a G changes which note is MI. Even if you use a fixed DO solfege system, MI is not 528hz. In fact, no notes are exactly 528hz. In standard A440 tuning (where A=440hz), middle C is 523.25hz. Even if you adjust your tuning to A444 tuning, which is what these people suggest, Middle C is 528.01hz. I guess that’s close enough for your vibrational whatevers. And back to solfege, the note C is always DO in a fixed system, and it varies in a non-fixed system. The only time C is MI is in the key of A flat major. So does this mean all good music can only be in A flat? What about minor keys? Can we only use the note C?

I’ve listened to music online recorded in standard, then shifted to supposedly align it’s tuning with this magic vibration. You know what I heared? A song played in two different keys. I didn’t feel universal love, didn’t get clear skin, didn’t see God. The A440 version didn’t make me into a rage monster. Just songs in different keys. On other sites I’ve seen spurious claims the Nazis changed standard tuning and out current A440 is harmful. Those claims are for another article, but for this one it is worth mentioning that ‘standard’ tuning has ranged greatly over history, largely because of the physical capabilities of the instruments being used. Standard tuning has been as low as A416. Today orchestras commonly tuning over a range of A432 to A446, and I don’t recall any stories of concert goers all getting cancer because they orchestra didn’t tune right.

The site also claims the John Lennon was killed because his use of 528 to spread peace and love was a threat to the ‘military/industrial complex’. Dubious medical claims combined with conspiracy theory should always be a red flag. And by the way, Imagine by Lennon, referenced by the page, is not in A flat major.

Another skeptic’s red flag is that the website I’ve referenced above is slathered in ads to buy this or that thing ‘attuned’ to 528. Book, water, toothpaste… always beware of someone selling ‘this one thing’ that can go ‘in all these things you can buy from me’ and will ‘fix all these ills’. Another flag is the fact that 528 isn’t the only frequency people make these claims about, sometimes saying it's one, not the other, sometimes it’s both, or even 3 or 4 frequencies. There are probably as many claims about various frequencies as there are frequencies. Don’t worry if your favorite songs are in standard tuning, just enjoy the music.

http://www.phy.mtu.edu/~suits/notefreqs.html
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