Differences Between a 440 Hz and a 432 Hz instrument
SHOULD I BUY A 440 Hz OR 432 Hz?
All instruments are tuned to a reference frequency. The international standard reference for music instruments is A = 440 Hz. This means that all instruments that are tuned to this reference will play nicely together. This is called concert pitch.
A flute, however, can also be tuned to 432 Hz, a frequency used traditionally for instruments and making a comeback as its said to be softer and more pleasant to the ear. This frequency is sometimes called an earth frequency. 432 Hz is often used in music therapy because of its pleasant frequency as compared to 440 Hz. Many people playing the flute on their own prefer 432 Hz, and most Native American flutes are also tuned to 432 Hz.
WHAT DOES THE MUSIC TEACHER SAY
Although to the ear, the change in sound between flutes is subtle, most music teachers will tell you that if a student is playing in a large group, they prefer them to all be tuned to the same frequency, regardless of which one.
Most public school music teachers with large music classes prefer 440Hz. Some private schools with smaller classes may use either.
Best practice is that if you are not sure which one to get and your child is in a large public school class, go with 440Hz or ask the teacher.
If your child is in a smaller class or private school, ask the teacher. If the child will be learning and playing on their own either at home or with just a teacher and them, it’s really up to you.