Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Le LaLaLa

The A-note to which most musicians tune their instruments oscillates at 440 hertz. As this note has varied by nearly six semitones over time and in different places, the French in 1859 enacted a law to set the pitch at 435 hz. Well, that'll do it. Not right, but it will do it. I mention this not because of any musical ability or knowledge, but simply because today is the anniversary of the promulgation of the French law.

An international treaty in 1939 made A-440 the standard.


Anonymous said...

Reminds me of how the Indiana legislature once tried to pass a law setting pi at 3.2.

As for me, my public school education did not extend so far as to teach me to read music, so the only way I can tell an A from an F is if they're both on a report card.

vanilla said...

I knew about that legislative attempt to "round" pi to 3.2. Makes the French effort look quite sensible. (Oh, imagine how much simpler life would be if pi could be rounded to "3". And how the world wouldn't work.)

I'm guessing you didn't get to see an "F" on any of your report cards, Jim.