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Frequency / Pitch 調音機上的頻率

Frequency / Pitch 調音機上的頻率

“Frequency”  may not be a strange term to you. For Guzheng, there are occasionally discussions on what “hertz” we should calibrate our chromatic tuner to tune our Guzheng. In the past, I did not know much about frequency. So for a long period of time, my chromatic tuner was actually set to a slightly lower frequency. One time my teacher noticed it and asked me. Then, I learned that I need to increase the frequency level on my tuner to 440 Hz because this is the most commonly used. I have also seen some chats online about setting it to 442 Hz, which could be more suitable for Chinese musical instruments.

The main purpose of tuning an instrument is make ensure that everyone is using more or less the same frequency when playing music. This sets a reference point. Hundreds of years ago, the frequency was set to about 415 Hz. At that time, people’s lives were slower. Music was a luxury and was a leisure activity for the rich and nobles. If you have ever watched movies and TV shows such as Pride and Prejudice, and the Little Women, you probably get the idea. Anyway, people played music mostly indoor. Therefore, there was no need to set the frequency to too high to produce loud sounds. (Note: Nowadays, if our Guzheng is set to 415Hz, the strings would be too loose and the sound would be too low.)

After the industrial revolution, the middle class started to rise and they became interested in music. Towards the Romantic era, musicians started to treat music slightly different. They started to do performances in order to make money to support their lives; therefore, they began to perform in concert halls. The space in a concert hall was much larger. In order for sound to transmit further, musicians began to increase the frequency of their instruments.

In modern days, although the frequency of 440 Hz is not universally accepted, it serves as the audio frequency reference to calibrate acoustic equipment and to tune pianos, violins, and other musical instruments.

Back to Guzheng, different players may choose differently. Some go with 440 Hz and some go with 442 Hz. Music played by a lower frequency (pitch standard) could sound more relaxing. But at the end, one can choose according to their own requirements and preferences.

「頻率」,這一個詞對很多人來說或許不算陌生。但用在古箏的調音機上,我會有否問過頻率應該要校到多少呢?以前我完全對頻率不了解,原來一直調得比較低,後來老師察覺問起我,我才知道調音機上的頻率是需要注意的。老師叫我調到440 Hz,說是最常用的。不過我有聽說其他古箏家說是應該調到442 Hz,這對中國樂器或許比較合適。

調音的基本目的,是令每個人所調的音頻就在同一個基準上。在數百年前,調音的頻率大約在415 Hz。原因是因為當時的生活步伐比較慢,音樂又是奢侈品,也貴族間流行的玩意。有看過電視或電影版的「傲慢興偏見」或「小婦人」的朋友就不難理解到,當代人大多都在室內演奏,因此樂器不需要太大聲,因此頻率也不用太高。(注:現在我們彈古箏,把琴調到415 Hz的話,琴弦會較鬆,音色會比較低。)


音樂樂團通常定在音頻440 Hz,因而成為最多人用的準則。但時當人們習慣了這一個音頻,日子長了觀眾的耳朵會變得麻目。一些樂團把440 Hz調音基準,向上調高至441、甚至是442 Hz。這樣可以達到突顯個體的效果。

至於古箏,不同古箏家可以有不同的選擇,有些用440,有些用442。要知道的是440 Hz調音所演奏出來的音樂,要比441 Hz或者442 Hz調出來的效果,來得沉穩與飽滿些少。大家可以根據自己的要求去選擇。

Chromatic Tuner 調音器