Posted by Trivia... on May 29, 2003 at 21:19:09:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: B&S 4P posted by Doug on May 29, 2003 at 21:06:01:
...maybe. JS's Urban Legend is more like it.
Some more factual information than "a conspiracy to make music fit on an LP" follows:
From the Schiller Institute website:
As recently as 1971, the European Community passed a recommendation calling for the still non-existent international pitch standard. The action was reported in ``The Pitch Game,'' Time magazine, Aug. 9, 1971. The article states that A=440, ``this supposedly international standard, is widely ignored.'' Lower tuning is common, including in Moscow, Time reported, ``where orchestras revel in a plushy, warm tone achieved by a larynx-relaxing A=435 cycles,'' and at a performance in London ``a few years ago,'' British church organs were still tuned a half-tone lower, about A=425, than the visiting Vienna Philharmonic, at A=450.
From an interview with the Principal Oboist of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra:
On the Viennese oboe...
DH: What pitch do you tune to in the Vienna Symphony?
JS: A-445. We've tried to bring it down, and though the official pitch is 445, it may be that some days we are playing a little flatter. There was no official pitch for a while, but the harpist had a tuning fork that was 447, and she wanted the pitch to be not too flat.
DH: Does this tuning pitch have anything to do with the oboes you play?
JS: Yes, our instruments are constructed to play at A-445. The history of the Viennese oboe is interesting. In about 1880 a very gifted oboist came from what is now Czechoslovakia to Vienna with an oboe made by Golde. Golde is the man we call the father of the Viennese oboe, though he was working in Dresden. The Czech oboist, from Prague, had much success in Vienna, and his colleagues in other groups forced all the other oboists to change to his kind of instrument. That instrument he brought played at about A-445, the same high pitch we have today. Vienna was at that time flatter, so they constructed oboes to bring the pitch down with the same bore and keywork as the Golde oboe. During the next years the pitch gradually came up, and they found that they had to reconstruct the old instruments, and now since maybe 1937 or '38 we have newly built instruments at the pitch of 445.