I know that a 3rd decides the emotional quality of a chord, but what about the 5th? What does the 7th do? The 2nd, 6th, and 9th?

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    – Doktor Mayhem
    Jul 29, 2019 at 11:26

1 Answer 1


enter image description hereYou can ask the Greek or look up the theories of Boethius, Glarean, Caspar Printz, Ernst Kurth etc ... The answers will be more traditional than opinion based. But did you look up wikipedia under characteristics / qualities of intervals? I did and couldn’t find much information.

The key words are psycological effects of harmonical intervals

The idea that the various musical intervals have widely disparate psychological effects has a long history in the literature of aesthetics, music theory and composition but not in experimental psychology


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I used to present to my classes test sheets with a bi-polarity profile like below to get an statistical intersubjective information like they did here:

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But I‘m doubting that these effects and impressions are intercultural representatives and objectives!

  • Thank you, this is exactly what I was looking for! It's weird that in the 2nd photo, they include both the aug. 4 and dim. 5. Jul 28, 2019 at 6:32
  • Even in the second and third examples, the terms used are subjective - meaning different things to different people. Whilst the charts seem to have been produced in good faith, your closing comment has more than a ring of truth about it.
    – Tim
    Jul 28, 2019 at 6:47
  • Is the Willems table supposed to apply to chords? minor triad: heavy emptiness, diminished triad: shadow instability. That doesn't make much sense. Surely the emotion of music is more about the temporal aspects - the changing events - than the vertical stack of intervals. Jul 29, 2019 at 14:57

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