A440-444 Hz and playing with others???

losthoboslosthobos New
edited April 2012 in Accordion Posts: 5
I'm relatively new to the accordion however i do have the pleasure of being the weak link in a little Gypsy Jazz Quintet...
As i search the web for more knowledge i've found myself with this question..
Some accordions are manufactured/tuned to 443/444Hz so that they shine out a little over the other instruments...this is causing the violin player in the quintet to get the hump a little...
My question is...Do you guys get the rest of your bands to tune to A440Hz and let the accordion sing that fraction higher for effect or is it common practice for the other instruments (guitars/bass/violin) to tune up to the 444Hz of the accordion..
The other possibliltie could be the violinist is a tad fanatical as none of the other players have noticed the issue..
many thanks for any ideas posted back..


  • brandoneonbrandoneon Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France✭✭✭
    Posts: 171
    Hi losthobos,
    I saw your other post about the reed tunings and I haven't been able to bend my mind around it yet! :lol:
    This question looks easier to answer. In general, you should be safe if the accordion is within 2 Hz of the other instruments, assuming they're all at the same frequency. Many modern accordions are now released from the factory at 442 Hz and thus shouldn't clash with a group tuned to 440; it should make the accordion sound 'bright' and stand out a little though (but pleasantly). Beyond this difference, frequencies start to clash and it's unpleasant. I once tried to play an accordion tuned to 445 with a piano which I think was 442, and the result was horrible.
    I did play with a violinst once and whenever I used a register with light 'Italian' musette tuning it did throw him into hysterics, so it could be something about players that need to find their intonation like on a violin.
    Glad to hear you're enjoying the accordion! :D
  • jscook777jscook777 ✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 106
    Here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry for concert pitch:

    Despite such confusion, A = 440 Hz is the only official standard and is widely used around the world. Many orchestras in the United Kingdom adhere to this standard as concert pitch.[7] In the United States some orchestras use A = 440 Hz, while others, such as New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, use A = 442 Hz.[8] Nearly all modern symphony orchestras in Germany and Austria and many in other countries in continental Europe (such as Russia, Sweden and Spain) play with tune to A = 443 Hz. A = 442 Hz is also often used as tuning frequency in Europe,[2] especially in Denmark, France, Hungary, Italy, Norway and Switzerland.[9] ... tern_music

    I'm a guitarist and I frequently tune up to match the pitch of Django's recordings and other European artists. Ask the guys to tune up with you. I don't think it's that big of a deal, and they may end up liking it.
  • PiedViperPiedViper New
    Posts: 10
    Oh yes, I had a Sonola SS4. It only had a middle and low reed and both were tuned to 443Hz (so this wasn't an issue in which I was playing a single musette-tuned reed). I asked around and was told that this was the more common tuning in Europe (at least during the time that instrument was manufactured). I could definitely hear the difference when playing along with an instrument like a digital piano. I guess I'm really sensitive to tuning issues so it drove me a little nuts. However, when playing with guitars I usually didn't hear it. I think the guitars already have a lot of uneven tuning within them so it's not so noticeable and the gypsy rhythm can be quite harmonically dead sounding since the rhythm is meant to be as much drum as guitar. Also, the bass is also rather imprecise in its tuning so that was never a problem. I could see it being an issue for other lead instrument though like clarinet, violin, and trumpet.

    If you feel it's causing you grief, you can always get your reeds tuned down to 440Hz or you can have your guitarists tune up to 443Hz. The guys in my band all have those cool little digital tuners that allow them to anchor their tuning to frequencies other than 440Hz.
  • I believe that the difference between 440 & 442 is about 10cents which is definitely noticeable 443 would be closer to 15 cents :shock: :shock: definitely drive me crazy without retuning

    Don't forget the old joke .... how long does it take to tune a guitar. .... No one knows as it has never been successfully done yet. .... Some basis in truth to that

    I have a 15 page thesis from a physicist on nut and saddle offsets to account for the different stretch pitch changes between fretting near the nut vs fretting around 12tg fret.

    Complete with formulae to determine the nut offsets and the saddle offsets for fanatical guitar players and luthiers
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • fozboxfozbox Salt Lake CityNew
    Posts: 12
    I ended up buying a 2nd accordion that's tuned A440. Sad, because my A444 Excelsior is by far more versatile. (4 reeds vs 3. 120 bass vs 80). But it gives me more flexibility with whom I can play.

    Getting it tuned down would have been an $600 or $900 proposition. And I'm not sure there are any good technicians in the US anymore. At least not within 500 miles.
  • Posts: 11
    $660 -900 sounds about what I'd pay on the east coast. I had an Excelsior that was probably A444. Never had a problem in the band since the guitars and strings and horns were able to tune up slightly. It wasn't until I went into a studio for tv commercials that the recording engineers were slightly annoyed that I was "out-of-tune."

    Of course, you can never have too many accordions, right?
  • rjazzarrjazzar New
    Posts: 1
    Hey everyone, Thank you for this interesting discussion. I came here trying to find musicians who tune to 444. It is worthwhile to explore the immense value of tuning to A=444. This frequency is part of a set of healing frequencies in the ancient Solfeggio scale- that which used to be standard tuning. When you start to understand quantum physics you begin to learn the true implications of music and why older instruments are tuned the way they are. You might end up wanting to tune up. Please feel free to contact me via rjazzar @gmail .com to discuss this, as I am forming a discussion group regarding Solfeggio tuning.
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