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Compose Yourself: Don't Step On The Cracks

Are there times you feel that too much of our music sounds too similar?  Certainly in the popular genres, it’s really difficult to get your music to stand-out-from-the-crowd.
There’s one fundamental of music that we all slavishly follow.  And that’s our unquestioning loyalty to Pitch.  A is 440Hz.  We know that because our digital tuner tells us so – a kind of intonational Chairman Mao or Stalin.
But what if you were to tune your instrument to a pitch in between two piano notes…..in the cracks?  Standard A is 440Hz, and G# 415.30Hz.  That leaves an awful lot of Hz in between – go for A at 423Hz perhaps?  Now get everyone in your band to work from that.  “What about fixed instruments?” I hear you cry.  Apart from having your piano detuned (which could be a very expensive mistake), most instruments have enough “give” in them to cope.
At this point I’m sure you’re thinking this is a very silly idea.  Surely no-one (with the exception of the Early Music classical brigade) has done this, to make their “sound” unique?
Without wanting to enter the world of product placement, I suspect there is one company who are ahead of the game here.  And that’s Apple.  If you own an Apple laptop, you’ll have heard their start-up chord hundreds, maybe thousands of times.  And do you know what?  It’s outside conventional tuning!  I think it’s been detuned on purpose, to make it stand out, to fall in the cracks, outside our blinding enslavement to modern pitch conformity.
But if you don’t believe me, believe my 3-year-old daughter.  Whilst watching the film Wall-E, the lovable robot becomes fully solar charged.  Apple cleverly placed their start-up chord at this point.  My daughter turned to me and said, “Daddy, your laptop!”  That’s stand-out for you!!

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