That rather sums it up…
If you’re the kind of person that likes your music rather more symphonic, than not.
An “A” has been the note by which orchestras calibrate themselves forever and ever.
If you’re not this type of person, the definition still holds.
It’s just the roadies and guitar techs who do the tuning, before the music begins.
There must be a common reference point, before we can play in tune.
“A 440”, to coin a phrase, has been the standard embarkation platform for some time now.
There are those who claim that A 440 is ruining the natural sound of music.
I make no claims to promote this camp over any other; yet I note that the mathematical frequency of the standard pitch by which orchestras adjust themselves has risen over the generations.
Some composers from centuries past might not even recognize their own creations, I fear.
And so I repeat myself – there must be a common reference point, for music to exist. Even alternate or speculative tunings are merely departures from a norm, which everyone knows and has agreed upon. Otherwise, the string section might be pounding the diatonic of E-Major, while the winds might be kicking-it in a rather sub-dominant minor key of Q-Flarp.
And that’s assuming you can get the violins to agree on a starting point – a contention I’m not at all convinced is even possible.
And what does this idea – the concept of everyone agreeing to, and adjusting for, a baseline standard, from which everything will then progress – what does this idea hold for our interactions with each other?
What manner of glorious society could we create, as a species, if only we could agree on a common place from which to begin?
Image found here.