Composing : 442 Hz by Joel Irwin

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Joel Irwin

442 Hz

Here is a great question I saw this morning on a professional film composer FB group. It is from someone else - not me. Since I have not yet had the honor of working with a live orchestra for any of my films, the issue has not yet come up for me. This question had about 25 responses last time I looked. There seemed to be a consensus but I will not mention that any further so people here can discuss the issue and think about it without 'pre-disposition'. For those of us who a fortunate enough to score a film for a live orchestra and plan on adding pitched electronic sounds, tuning could be an 'issue'. From what I have heard so far from professional composers and classical musicians, 442 tuning is common in Europe whereas in the US it is mostly 440:

"Seeking advice on orchestral recording: I'm about to record a film's soundtrack with a classical ensemble that tune their instruments in 442 hz. However, my sampled mock-up tracks are in 440 hz, and I'm intending to use them to reinforce the sound (along with other VSTs and synths)

Should I re-tune my samples to 442 hz or ask the orchestra to play at 440 hz, even when that would mean that they wont be completely comfortable with it?

Thank you!"

Jonathan Price

Me, I'd re-tune. It's easy enough for me to do, and then I have live players who are playing in their comfort zone. I've only worked with live orchestras from LA and London with pre-records at 440, but if I were working with a group used to playing at 442, of course I'd re-tune.

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