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Five years ago, on April 9, 1988 at the Schiller Institute's conference "Music and Classical Aesthetics" at the Casa Verdi in Milan, Italy, an international campaign was launched to restore the original pitch used by all Classical composers from Bach through Verdi. This lower tuning, at middle C=256 Hz, is grounded in the very physical laws of the universe.
The campaign was originally inspired by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., whose collaborators uncovered the historical evidence that Giuseppe Verdi, Italy's greatest composer and nation-builder, had in 1884 demanded a ceiling for pitch at a diapason of A-432, based upon C-256, and won such a decree from the Italian government.
We also celebrate publication of the ground-breaking book A Manual on Tuning and Registration by the Schiller Institute which, after five years of research, gives the musical proof for the theory advanced at Milan.With the music itself of Mozart, Verdi, and other masters, Vol. 1, The Singing Voice, documents that all classical vocal music must be performed at C-256. Vol.2, Instrumental Voices, will give the proof for instrumental music.
Tonight, the era's leading bel canto tenor, Sr. Carlo Bergonzi, presents a host of these "Milan demonstrations," from the highest soprano to the bass, sung by New York vocal students. Sr. Bergonzi, now director of the Bel Canto Academy in Parma, uses student demonstrations to underline his concern, that rising modern pitch destroys the development of the young bel canto voice itself.
|Figure 6.10 from the Schiller Institute Manual on Tuning shows Verdi's "scientific pitch" is crucial for teaching students how voice registers create poetry. At C-256 (above) the opening of Verdi's "Celeste Aida" can be kept in the tenor's middle register (unshaded), including the high F's. This allows the entrance of a new poetic voice at "mis tico serto," as the tenor rises to the new, higher register (shaded) at F-sharp.
|Figure 6.11 shows that A-442 forces all F naturals into the high register, making the three first phrases monotonous. "Mistico serto" should be a major event, in which Radames transforms his idea of Aida; she is not just a beautiful woman, but something higher, a "mystical garland." Here, however, he seems merely fixated on the lady. Verdi's meaning is changed, his poetic intent ruined.
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