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Questions tagged [consonance-and-dissonance]

Dissonance is the cultural perception of two or more pitches sounded harmonically that form intervals not expected within the current musical context. These intervals typically occur higher in the harmonic series than other intervals considered to be "consonant".

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86 votes
13 answers
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Is there a way to measure the consonance or dissonance of a chord?

I know that if I played C and B together they would be very dissonant compared to if I played a G or C one octave up. Is there a quantitative way to describe that sort dissonance? Edit: I understand ...
Alex's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
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Dissonance: why doesn't the roughness curve have a dip for complex intervals like 7/6?

Roughness is explained well in Is there a way to measure the consonance or dissonance of a chord? In particular the Plomp-Levelt curve is derived, which has various dips showing how simple intervals (...
Sideshow Bob's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
976 views

Perfect 4th is dissonant?

Why is the perfect fourth dissonant in some cases when it does not sound dissonant? When I play it in close position, it does not sound dissonant at all. When I play it as a compound interval, I ...
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19 votes
6 answers
4k views

avoiding thirds at lower frequencies

From Plomp & Levelt 1965, Tonal Consonance and Critical Bandwidth: "The critical frequency is lower for more consonant intervals. This behavior reflects the musical practice to avoid thirds at low ...
Kevin Yin's user avatar
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12 votes
4 answers
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Dissonance across different octaves

When I play to keys that form a dissonant interval (for example a major second using C and D) in the lower octave, I perceive the dissonance to be very strong. But, when I move up to higher C's and D'...
hauptstadt's user avatar
11 votes
8 answers
5k views

Why is a major third considered more consonant than a perfect fourth?

The "perfect" quality implies it should be as consonant as a perfect fifth, but that doesn't seem to be true. Moreover, a perfect fourth has the slightly nicer ratio of 4:3 compared to a major thirds ...
gardenhead's user avatar
10 votes
5 answers
19k views

What is the list of intervals in order of dissonance

I understand that some intervals are considered dissonant (minor second) and some intervals are consonant (perfect fourths). However whenever I see intervals listed, they are always listed from ...
David Kethel's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
315 views

Consonance/Dissonance of 5th according to the explanation of 4th

The consonance of the 4th interval depends on the context, as several music theory sources describe. Why isn't that idea generalized to all intervals? Let me illustrate this comparing what I have in ...
Allan Felipe's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
749 views

What causes consonance in music?

I am trying to understand why certain pitches or notes sound pleasant together and others doesn't. So far my understanding is that simpler ratios between the frequencies of the notes means they are ...
Adam Lovia's user avatar
0 votes
5 answers
605 views

Just Intonation > Equal Temperament "Consonance and Dissonance"?

So for months now I'm becoming increasingly frustrated with this Just Intonation versus Equal Temperament, so maybe with this question we can nip it in the bud. If we could refrain from "complex ...
Seery's user avatar
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20 votes
7 answers
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Is there a known point in history where dissonance became acceptable?

So, I'm not a scholar of music history, but I have a basic timeline. The evolution of Western music theory had several times in which certain chords and intervals were considered too "jarring" or "...
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10 votes
4 answers
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“Tritone” intervals in n-tone equal temperament

In 12-tone equal temperament, the tritone interval is made of three whole tones (six semitones) and is considered, if I am not mistaken totally, as the most dissonant interval. I have two questions: ...
Samuele Giraudo's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
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Tritone or Minor 2nd as the most dissonant interval? [closed]

I'm trying to establish which interval is more dissonant, the tritone or the minor 2nd. Both are obviously very dissonant intervals. Math seems to prove that a minor 2nd should sound more consonant ...
Hayden LaBrie's user avatar
7 votes
9 answers
2k views

Why are subdominants unstable?

In music theory, the subdominant is unstable and need to be resolved to the mediant. Similar resolution happens to the leading note and other notes that are not in the tonic triad. (Of course, I am ...
Ma Joad's user avatar
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4 votes
4 answers
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Why is a Perfect Fourth Considered Consonant? [duplicate]

I've been doing some research into the harmonic series lately. What I've come to understand is that the lower the ratio between the harmonics, the more pleasant/consonant the interval is. So, an ...
akrs20's user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
409 views

How can stepwise movement be concordant?

I am learning rules of counterpoint. One of the rules states: Do not make stepwise concordant movements longer than a fifth. As far as I understand stepwise movement is either 2nd minor or second ...
Roman's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
191 views

Why is the fourth against the bass considered a dissonance? [duplicate]

The consonance or dissonance of an interval is determined by the simplicity of the ratio between their frequencies. An octave(most consonant interval), has a ratio of 2/1, the perfect fifth has a ...
OprenStein's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
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What are the Deciding Factors as to Consonance/Dissonance?

Spawned by a previous question/answer. It seems that consonance/dissonance in intervals and harmonies have varied over time. So how would a decision be made to change one interval from one to the ...
Tim's user avatar
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4 answers
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Why are certain scales considered unstable?

The Locrian Mode is considered unstable - my question is what in it makes it unstable? What makes a scale stable (have better relation between the keys)?
JohnnyGuitar's user avatar