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Old 5th December 2008
Lives for gear
i think Mozart's tuning fork is A430. i know the Philadelphia Orchestra(with Eugene Ormandy as director) tuned to A438 and was known for their 'lush' sound. i also know that some European orchestras will tune as high as A445. i think it's natural for the reference tone to ascend over time if we want to keep the same music interesting.

Mayans and physics aside, i thought the explanation was simple: if we're going to perform Beethoven's Fifth Symphony for the godillionth time, how do we make it different? well, brighter is going to get the listener's attention whether we 'have perfect pitch' or not - since we all inherently have perfect pitch and the block is mental, not physical for 99.9% of folks.

darker is also a nice variation, especially when we're playing something 'everyone' has heard before. Stevie Ray Vaughn tuned low, as did Van Halen if i'm not mistaken, for the same result - a 'heavier' sound. it's not scientific, but it IS relative.