Song/ Track is 432Hz or 440Hz or other frequency?

I want to use Audacity to convert songs to 432Hz frequency. How do I find out if a song/ track is 432Hz or 440Hz or other frequency using Audacity? If Audacity can do this, what are the steps?

Cheers!
E Rawlins

Over 90% of music is tuned to A=440Hz.

It’s easy to manipulate a recording but some instruments can’t be re-tuned and it takes a lot of time to re-tune a piano. So most musicians just use standard tuning. If there is a piano, guitarists often tune to match the piano. It’s easy to re-tune a guitar so if there are only guitars or other easily-tuned instruments it’s easy to tune-to 440Hz.

I read a book about The Beatles and they sped-up or slowed-down quite a few of their recordings (analog tape) and that will change the pitch to something non-standard. I think they were just doing it to change the tempo and in the analog days you couldn’t change speed without also changing the pitch. But most of their songs are standard-tuned.

It’s not easy to tell unless you are a musician, or if you know a musician… And it probably doesn’t make any difference if you can’t tell, or unless you are a musician.

If you can play in-in tune with a standard-tuned instrument the song has standard 440Hz tuning.

Otherwise it’s not easy to “analyze” because of course all music (and all natural sounds) contains more than one note at any one point in time and most music doesn’t contain every note on the scale so a song tuned to A=440 may not actually have any A=440Hz notes.

You try with Audacity’s Plot Spectrum effect. Expand the window to full-size and as you move the cursor across the spectrum it will display the cursor frequency below the graph. If you have a peak at 440Hz (or 432Hz) that’s a good clue. But not all 440H-tuned music actually has an A=440Hz note, or it may have 440Hz notes that don’t stand-out. Or if you find any frequencies on the [u]Standard Western Musical Scale[/u] that’s also a good clue.

Janet Jackson did that and it crashed hard-drives … https://youtu.be/-y3RGeaxksY?t=564

Yes. I once new a retired musician who was explaining that as you get older your voice drops and you find that note you were able to sing when your were in your 20s is now out of range. Rather than sing flat, his buddies tuned their guitars down 1/2 step (which corresponds to A4 = 415), so the guitars would match their voices.

Actually, you can do this with Audacity’s Plot Spectrum effect:

So what you could do is locate the last note of the song which tends to be held out the longest, preferably a few seconds or longer. Select the entire length of that audio, then listen to it. If you hear any pitch changes within it, make a different selection.

Then run Analyze, Plot Spectrum, Spectrum, Gaussian (a=3.5) window, Size = 2048, Log frequency. Look for the largest peak closest to the left. Move your cursor over this peak so that the red vertical line goes down its center. Then read the value for Peak as well as the specified note, e.g. B3. Take the peak number and divide it by the corresponding frequency from DVDdoug’s Standard Western Musical Scale chart, above, then multiply by 440.

For example, I recorded the last few seconds of Lennon’s Imagine from Youtube. I swiped over the longest, cleanest section I could find which was 1.3 seconds. I ran Plot Spectrum as above which gave me 263 (C4). From the chart, C4 is 261.63, so 263 / 261.63 * 440 yields 442.3. Note that any other major peak should give the same results.

To check my work, I reran the Spectrum with a window size of 8192, which did not change my peak. I then selected the peakat 197 (G3) which gave 442.2 but the peak at 460 (A#4) gave 434.18, which could indicate one of the instruments was flat, or could be a reflection of the small sample size, or ?

Yes. I once new a retired musician who was explaining that as you get older your voice drops and you find that note you were able to sing when your were in your 20s is now out of range. Rather than sing flat, his buddies tuned their guitars down 1/2 step (which corresponds to A4 = 415), so the guitars would match their voices.

I’ve heard that too but they don’t re-define the notes. 415Hz is A-flat or G-sharp so they simply transpose the music to a different key. Nobody has to re-tune their instruments, but a guitar player MIGHT find it easier to re-tune and play the same-old way.

For those who don’t know… A “half-step” is one full-note. And even more screwy & confusing… The sharps & flats are also one full-note, but there in no note named B-sharp or C-flat so B-to-C is also one-full note (or one half-step). One note (one half-step) is a difference of about 6% in frequency. There are 12 notes on the scale, all about 6% apart in frequency. The notes that don’t have sharps & flats are still about 6% apart…

A is 440 (there is another A one octave down at 220 and another A one octave-up at 880, etc.). A-sharp (same as B-flat) is about 6% higher at 466.16Hz. Up about 6% more is B. Since there is no B-sharp (or C-flat) another 6% up is named C.

…Two adjacent notes played together create a dissonant sound. But if you skip a note (going up one full step) and play two notes together they will sound harmonious.

Actually, there is but it’s rarely used, and it is enharmonically equivalent (sounds the same as) “C natural”.
(It’s the 7th note in the scale of C# Major)

Actually, there is > > but it’s rarely used, and it is enharmonically equivalent (sounds the same as) “C natural”.
(It’s the 7th note in the scale of C# Major)

Wow! Even more confusion for us non-musicians!

And I was also unfamiliar with the word “enharmonic”.