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Interview: Antonella Banaudi

Music as the Aesthetical Expression of Scientific Language

by Liliana Gorini
September 2015

Courtesy of Antonella Banaudi
Antonella Banaudi as Abigaille in Verdi's Aida, in Oslo, Norway.

On June 13, 2015, the famous Italian soprano Antonella Banaudi participated, on behalf of the Schiller Institute, in a press conference by Maestro Silvano Frontalini in Busseto. The conference was called to preview the first Roncole Festival, which took place in front of Verdi's birthplace on August 11-13. Ms. Banaudi presented the Schiller Institute’s campaign for the Verdi tuning (C=256 Hz, A=432 Hz). Liliana Gorini's interview, done July 8, with Ms. Banaudi appears below. Liliana Gorini is the president of Movisol, the LaRouche-affiliated organization in Italy.

Liliana Gorini: On June 13, you participated in the press conference which presented the first Roncole Festival, which will feature a world premiere of arias and opera scenes, some of which were unpublished, for the first time in the Verdi tuning (A=432 Hz). Could you summarize your intervention at the press conference for our readers?

Antonella Banaudi: I spoke of the conference in Paris, organized by the Schiller Institute in 1988, which presented some examples at the piano by Günter Ludwig, and by some singers in both tunings--A=440 Hz, and the Verdi pitch, A=432, which demonstrated the clear difference in terms of richness of color and acoustic coherence. I illustrated the vocal effort which is necessary to change vocal placement when the pitch is higher, and the possible damage which can derive from it, if the technique is not the right one, including the raising and stretching apart of the vocal chords in the back part [of the vocal apparatus], which provokes the stiffening of the larynx, and translates itself into the adduction of the chords, with the risk of serious disease, besides the loss of breath in the sound, and the lack of purity in the production of sound.

I recalled that even the vocal beauty and mastery of the great baritone Piero Cappuccilli were exalted by the use of the Verdi pitch (watch the video). 

Gorini: Already, since the first international conference on scientific tuning which the Schiller Institute held in Milan at the Casa Verdi in April 1988, you have been among the opera singers who actively participated in the campaign to go back to Verdi's pitch. In what other such occasions did you participate?

From left to right: Piero Cappuccilli, Carlo Bergonzi, Liliana Gorini and Lyndon LaRouche in,November 1997, at the Salone Barezzi di Busseto, at the conference presenting book "Canto e Diapason", the Italian edition of the Schiller Institute’s “Manual on Tuning and Registration.” Piero Cappuccilli demonstrated “Oh dei verd’anni miei” at the Verdi pitch (La=432 Hz) during the first conference on the scientific tuning at the Casa Verdi in Milan in November 1988.

Banaudi: I participated in other events of the Schiller Institute campaign: in Milan at the Casa Verdi in 1988; and in Busseto at the Salone Barezzi in 1997, with Lyndon LaRouche, Carlo Bergonzi [tenor], and Piero Cappuccilli. In 1991, we did a demonstration in both tunings at a conference in Canton Ticino in Switzerland, attended also by Maestro Arturo Sacchetti, who edited the Italian edition of the Schiller Institute's Manual on Tuning and Registration (Canto e Diapason, Carrara Edizioni).

Gorini: The connection between science and music, emphasized by Kepler's Harmonices Mundi, is emphasized in the famous 1884 letter of Giuseppe Verdi, in which he demands going back to ``a scientific pitch,'' and to A=432 Hz instead of the ``shouts of a too-high tuning fork,'' like the one prevailing today in most opera theaters in the world. Do you think that this connection between science and music is understood today?

Banaudi: Singing at A=432 Hz means putting oneself in harmony with nature and its laws, which is the key for a beautiful and healthy artistic life. I inserted this argument in the broader issue of the world of vibrations we are immersed in, since vibrations are a universal language perceived by the five senses, but music recalls each level of this universal language. That's why Music, as Art, must be understood not as a luxury, or “decorating” our lives, but as the aesthetical expression of the scientific language through which everything is expressed.

Unfortunately, those who decide popular taste today (in the negative sense of the term), defining music as in the background of life, are mis-educated about listening. This leads not only to a decay of aesthetical taste and a leveling-down, but also to an impoverishment of intelligence, meant as coherent energy and organization of our minds, at all levels. We are leading our youth to a visual education, whatever that may mean, willingly omitting the importance of the ear, and underestimating the importance of the ear for healthy physiological growth, and for the development of imagination and a 4D projection of our mind.

I suggested that people read the recent book by Riccardo Tristano Tuis 432 Hz: La rivoluzione musicale (432 Hz: the Musical Revolution), which tells the story of why the pitch increased, and speaks of the connection between Science and Art, Biology and Beauty, and also quotes the Schiller Institute for its campaign to return to Verdi's tuning.

The tuning at which Classical music is played is neither a matter of popularity nor of taste, but goes to the essence of Classical composition. The Manual provides 300 musical examples that illustrate why Classical music is based on the C = 256 Hz tuning. The fundamental idea is that instrumental music is based upon the human singing voice, with its physiologically defined registers. The register changes occur to the best effect only at an orchestral tuning of C = 256 (A = 432) Hz.

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