22 votes

Does the difference in harmonic series between instruments have a significant effect on the consonance of the sound?

Is it an important thing to consider in Orchestration? You have in fact stumbled onto the very foundation (and art) of orchestration. Orchestration is about not only knowing how each instrument ...
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  • 25.1k
21 votes
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Why are tritones not consonant, confusion with the definition of a perfect fifth

Since intervals are ratios, they are combined by multiplication, not addition. For example, an octave is 2:1 (i.e., 2.0), two octaves is 4:1, three octaves is 8:1, etc. So to combine three single ...
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  • 56.6k
18 votes
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Would the melodic leap of the opening phrase of Mozart's K545 be considered dissonant?

There are at least two explanations for why this leap is acceptable: First is the idea of "gap fill," also sometimes called "registral return" or the "post-skip reversal." In short, when there is a ...
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  • 78.8k
17 votes
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More dissonant chords/intervals in the bass clef when frequency proportions are the same?

In general, smaller intervals do not sound as pleasing in a bass register as they do in a treble register. This is a general effect that occurs regardless of whether you play a consonance or a ...
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  • 20.2k
15 votes

A♭ major 9th chord in Bach is unexpectedly dissonant/jazzy

It's actually a suspension, which is to say that the actual chord is F Minor (F, A-flat, C, in first inversion) but the G and B-flat are held over from the previous chord before moving to F and A-flat....
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  • 8,347
15 votes

Does the difference in harmonic series between instruments have a significant effect on the consonance of the sound?

Other answers so far make good points -- matching timbres (and sound spectra) is actually essential to orchestration, and composers have been noticing these patterns (and using them in orchestration) ...
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  • 11.9k
13 votes

avoiding thirds at lower frequencies

There is a trick that organists do, which is to play parallel fifths on low notes in the pedals. The notes match the 2nd and 3rd harmonic of a lower note. The fundamental of that lower note is only ...
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  • 8,347
13 votes

Is the tritone (A4 / d5 / DA3 / Dd6) still banned in Roman Catholic music?

Tritones have been used since Gregorian Chant days. There are several common patterns that outline a tritone and a few instances where a direct tritone is used. The term "Devil's Interval" seems to ...
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  • 23.1k
12 votes
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What is the list of intervals in order of dissonance

It can be tough to define exactly what "dissonance" is (it changes throughout history, and it changes between genres), but Paul Hindemith created his own theory regarding ranked dissonances. He had ...
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  • 78.8k
12 votes
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Dissonance: why doesn't the roughness curve have a dip for complex intervals like 7/6?

If you mean this curve: probably because it was only calculated using the first 6 harmonics. Plomp & Levelt 1965: In this way, the curves ... were computed for complex tones consisting of 6 ...
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  • 1,351
11 votes

Writing a melody that forms second harmonies with a chord progression

As a beginner, or as an extremely experienced player/writer, you're allowed to do just what the heck you like. There are 'rules' - more like guidelines, or things that are known to work/not work well. ...
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  • 174k
11 votes

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

I have to disagree with Todd Wilcox on this. The fourth as an interval is present in the overtone series, lower than the major third. It is the interval that exists between the 3rd and 4th harmonics. ...
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11 votes

Why are subdominants unstable?

The only really 'stable' thing in triadic tonal music is the tonic triad, which consists of the tonic, mediant, and dominant notes. The subdominant isn't one of these, therefore according to the ...
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11 votes

Are there objective criteria for classifying consonance v. dissonance?

Let me first quote from James Tenney's book, A History of Consonance and Dissonance: There is surely nothing in the language of discourse about music that is more burdened with purely semantic ...
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11 votes

Does the difference in harmonic series between instruments have a significant effect on the consonance of the sound?

Does the difference in harmonic series between instruments have a significant effect on the consonance of the sound? Absolutely - and not only between instruments. Different ranges of the same ...
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10 votes

Is there a way to measure the consonance or dissonance of a chord?

Yes, there is a way. There's some brilliant research by Norman D Cook looking specifically the acoustical properties of triads. What he does is sum various partials of any three tones, and maps them ...
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10 votes

Is the tritone (A4 / d5 / DA3 / Dd6) still banned in Roman Catholic music?

It certainly isn't banned now! And the whole historical mythology of banning the 'Devil's interval' though a nice idea, is rather dubious. As well as being the engine of a dominant 7th chord, ...
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9 votes

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

The octave, the fifth, and the major third are all low-order members of a harmonic series. We can generate a harmonic series by multiplying a frequency by successive positive integers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5......
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  • 51.5k
9 votes

Are there objective criteria for classifying consonance v. dissonance?

I'd like to re-use the opening from WillRoss1's answer (First off, I completely agree that "that sounds good/bad" has NOTHING to do with consonance or dissonance! I, for one, LOVE a good ...
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8 votes

“Tritone” intervals in n-tone equal temperament

As some of the other answers have eluded to, there are two basic problems with your question: The first is the question of how you generalize a "tritone" in a non-12-TET based system. One ...
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  • 20.2k
8 votes
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What is the difference between harmony and consonance in music?

Harmony is a noun that means "simultaneous sounds." Consonant and dissonant are adjectives that describe harmony; think of dissonance as "tension" and consonance as "stability/release." In terms of ...
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  • 78.8k
7 votes

avoiding thirds at lower frequencies

The answer is due to two factors: (a) harmonic series and (b) the formation of beats. If you pluck a string or vibrate the air in a wind instrument, you predominantly hear one note or frequency. But ...
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  • 11k
7 votes

Writing a melody that forms second harmonies with a chord progression

You can certainly use non-chord notes. 'Theory' delights in labelling the various ways of doing this - 'passing notes', 'accented passing notes', 'suspensions', 'unprepared suspensions', 'chromatic ...
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7 votes
Accepted

What technique was being used in composing this background music for a film?

The Argentine composer he referenced was Alberto Ginastera. Regarding the thirds and classical guitar, he's talking about playing the chords with tenths instead of thirds. A tenth is the same as a ...
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  • 4,710
6 votes

More dissonant chords/intervals in the bass clef when frequency proportions are the same?

Are you talking about the piano here? Because on the piano, even single notes are more dissonant in the bass clef than in the treble clef (look up "disharmonicity") because of the thickness of ...
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