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Does the 16/9 sound less dissonant than 7/4 (less uncomfortable) due to consisting of only the 3rd undertone (squared), or the 7/4 would sound "better" (I know, it's quite subjective what sounds good or better to someone), but it's a tradeoff as the 16/9 is closer to 2^(10/12)?

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Might be able to get some insight from… – Alexander Troup Apr 9 '14 at 15:39
Yes, I was looking at it and 9/5 wins for OP. I was thinking of 7/4 because in this case we have a prime in the numerator and a 2-power in the denominator, making it a prime order overtone instead of a compound one like either 16/9 or 9/5. Also, OP writes the harmonic seventh 7/4 undermines the leading melody. Why is it a problem? It's no more the leading tone yearning to resolve to the tonic, it's about to resolve to the major sixth. – András Hummer Apr 9 '14 at 16:02
up vote 8 down vote accepted

This blog post compares the three forms of the minor seventh (with sound samples). His conclusion is that the harmonic seventh (7/4) is used as a blue note, but that it is too stable for use in a dominant seventh chord. The extra dissonance of 16/9 gives it the need to resolve that is lacking in 7/4.

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