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50Hz

There's a buzz, it's electric. There's a hum all around
It's the power. literally, it's the sound of the AC frequency
The alternating current electricity transmitting from the power station
Has a rate of alternation of 50 Hz, 50 cycles a second
  Setting up a vibration and thus the emanation of
A note that's a third of semitone sharp from G
It's rather alarmingly out of key
That hum is harming our harmony
Subliminally

But in the Americas it's all 60Hz
Half way from B flat to B, on the keys it lurks
Right in the crack between the white and the black
And exerts a worse hurt than 50Hz hurts

So how did this happen? Who's to blame? Let's take a little look back
At the miserably missed opportunity in tuning history that left our vibes out of whack

Well, in the 19th century the music world was trying to agree on standard pitch
To find the frequency to which the note A should be fixed
In 1834 the German's thought A oughta be 440
But the world remained haughty and debated and fought it
For more than a century, til eventually they agreed, indeed
But in those very same years, electrical engineers would debate with their peers
What the rate of the alternating current, the AC frequency, should be
It requires the right compromise between loss in wires and flickering light
And while most chose 50, Westinghouse was shifty on fifty and fixed his at 60

But if only that electrician who was in the position to make the decision had met a musician
 And had a conversation, and seen the correlation, did the calculation and made the compensation
They'd've split the difference 'twixt 50 and 60 to arrive... at 55
3 octaves below 440. It would've brought it all into line
We could've tuned to the flouros, jammed with the bandsaw
Had a techno rave with the microwave
Been a trance dance performer with a transformer
Used the moan of the fridge like the drone of a didge, if only... if only

Now, the note you hear most is a hundred hertz, that's the octave above fifty
  You might hear its harmonics too, as well as random pitches, but the seventh harmonic is nifty
It's a third of a semitone flat from a minor 7th, thus fixing the intonation
So if you hear an F then it's likely to be in tune! It's a minor consolation

But could we tune our music to 50Hz? A third of a semitone higher?
That's the same as having A as 449, which is fine for most ears, but it's dire
For people with perfect pitch and instruments that can't be tuned that much or at all
And to change the AC to 49Hz (which is G) would cost squillions to install

Well, I do hope this proves to elucidate you on the loose state of our rates of vibration
Please don't be freaked by this speak of frequencies, be at ease, it's just information
For next time your frustrated playing music, bemused by why you wanna cry and fling your guitar off a bridge
It just may be that dumb AC hum, numbing and undermining your mind. So back away from the fridge



60Hz
(American version)

There's a buzz, it's electric. There's a hum all around
It's the power. literally, it's the sound of the AC frequency
The alternating current electricity transmitting from the power station
Has a rate of alternation of 60 Hz, 60 cycles a second
  Setting up a vibration and thus the emanation of a
A low note a half way between Bb and B
It's rather alarmingly out of key
That hum is harming our harmony
Subliminally

But outside the Americas it's 50Hz
A third of semitone sharp from G, on the keys it lurks
Right in the crack between the white and the black
And exerts a worse hurt than 60Hz hurts

So how did this happen? Who's to blame? Let's take a little look back
At the miserably missed opportunity in tuning history that left our vibes out of whack

Well, in the 19th century the music world was trying to agree on standard pitch
To find the frequency to which the note A should be fixed
In 1834 the German's thought A oughta be 440
But the rest of the world stayed haughty and fought it
For more than a century, til eventually they agreed, indeed
But in those very same years, electrical engineers would debate with their peers
What the rate of the alternating current, the AC frequency, should be
It requires the right compromise between loss in wires and flickering light
And while most chose 50, Westinghouse was shifty on fifty and fixed his at 60

But if only that electrician who was in the position to make the decision had met a musician
 And had a conversation, and seen the correlation, did the calculation and made the compensation
They'd've split the difference 'twixt 50 and 60 to arrive... at 55
3 octaves below 440. It would've brought it all into line
We could've tuned to the flouros, jammed with the bandsaw
Had a techno rave with the microwave
Been a trance dance performer with a transformer
Used the moan of the fridge like the drone of a didge, if only... if only

Well, I do hope this proves to elucidate you on the loose state of our rates of vibration
Please don't be freaked by this speak of frequencies, be at ease, it's just information
For next time your frustrated playing music, bemused by why you wanna cry and fling your guitar off a bridge
It just may be that dumb AC hum, numbing and undermining your mind. So back away from the fridge