37

I don't know that there is any evidence that the tritone was ever formally banned by the Catholic Church, although that story does get passed around a lot. An actual Church document that discusses this and puts the claim in context is needed. I see no mention of tritones or intervals of any type in Musicam Sacram of 1967. The Sacrosanctum Concilium of 1963, ...


21

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 sounds, but how to blend those sounds together to get the effects / textures you're looking for. Composers generally don't think about blend in terms of harmonic ...


18

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 large leap, we can soften it by subsequently moving by step in the opposite direction. This is a Gestalt principle of good melodic design that can often explain ...


17

One pure sine wave does not have an overtone or harmonic. The sine wave is a single unit of information in some version of signal processing theory. It is a mathematical function. The overtones or harmonics that contribute to musical instrument tone or timbre come from solutions to the wave equation, which coincidentally is also, in many cases, a sine ...


15

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. Dissonant suspensions resolving to consonant chords are very common in Baroque music. In jazz, 9th chords are treated as normal chords, so a G#maj9 might ...


14

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 refer to the difficulty of resolving the interval rather than in forbidding its use. One amusing (if true) use was the direct F to B (I think downward) interval ...


14

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) even before analysis of harmonic spectra was possible. I would add one other related issue to answering the title question about "differences in harmonic ...


11

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, resolving to a major 3rd (or its inversion, a major 6th) it's almost achieved consonance status when used as a b5 by jazz players.


11

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 common expectations around this kind of music, it's seen as 'wanting' to move somewhere at some point. In terms of common notions of measured/calculated dissonance, ...


11

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 problems than are the terms consonance and dissonance. A comparison of some of the definitions of these words to be found in current dictionaries, harmony textbooks,...


11

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 instrument have different harmonic structures - a commonly-given example is the 'muddy' sound at the bottom end of the piano, caused partly by relatively weak lower ...


9

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 dissonance! But I digress...) Consonance and dissonance are (mostly) objective, however they are not context-free. The same chord can work as consonant in one piece of ...


8

The minor seventh chord is indeed a pretty consonant chord, and this can be explained with objective maths. Recall that Western harmony is based on just intonation frequency-ratio. Most well-known, a major chord in JI consists of frequencies in ratio 4:5:6. Generally, a major third is 4:5 and a minor third 5:6. Now see what happens if you compose these ...


7

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 third, one octave higher. When he demonstrates the chords at 7:13, he's doing it as a very fast arpeggio. I suppose that, between the arpeggio and the fact that ...


7

The way to "habituate yourself" to what music sounds like is to stop reading about it and start listening to it. BTW there is nothing specifically "Hungarian" about this. Composers in the Renaissance period didn't consider clashes between simultaneous ascending and descending melodic minor scales to be anything extraordinary. There are dozens of examples ...


6

What I cannot understand is that the two terms seem to encompass rather subjective opinions. You are close to musical enlightenment, Tim. What they "seem to encompass" is nothing. Let's take a definite example of a specific musical instrument: the (Scottish) Highland Bagpipe. That is a capped reed instrument so (at least for time intervals measured in ...


5

As the other answer point out you mis-identified the suspension as the end of the phrase, but the resolution is the end of the phrase. Bach's Prelude #1 from the Well Tempered Clavier, book I is super clear example of extended chords and dissonances. This particular prelude started as an instruction piece for is some Wilhelm so it's original purpose is ...


5

Could be that this rule in your textbook refers to the melody building of the Gregorian chant. In the early church music till the time Palestrina there were some rules about intervals in a melody like a major sixth or bigger were considered as not good for singing.


5

TLDR: The minor second will be heard by most people as a lot more dissonant. Longer version - Subjective dissonance can stem from (at least) two causes: Two tones having a non-simple ratio, such the ear doesn't tend towards trying to hear them as a 'single sound' Two tones being within the critical band, such that the ear has difficulty distinguishing the ...


5

There is no doubt that simple integer ratios between two frequencies produce consonant harmonies. The reverse, however, is not true. If it were, equal temperament would be completely unusable, since, as @badjohn points out, the ratio of every interval in equal temperament (except the unison and its octaves) is an irrational number. But I'm not so quick to ...


5

If we look at a dissonance curve like this one, from William Sethares' site: We can see that the statement an interval's acoustic consonance is a function of how "simple" it is as a ratio only holds at all when are already looking at particular ratios that are already themselves reasonably far apart. For example, it's fair to say that the fifth (3:2) ...


5

I have produced with the help of you good people an interval ranking. The purpose of this interval ranking is solely to tell me what intervals within an octave are most consonant to dissonant from most to least. The reason i sought this information is so that i can build a chord with the exact desired level of consonance and/or dissonance that i ...


5

Consonance and dissonance is not subjective, in fact it's mostly objective. There are real physical properties of tones that make them sound good or bad together. There is a critical band within which two pure tones will sound bad two our ears. Outside that critical band, any pair of pure tones sound about the same. The tones you play from your music ...


5

It would since the very nature of consonance vs dissonance is dependent on the interference of harmonics (in theory). So it stands to reason that if a particular instrument had missing harmonics there would be fewer opportunities for dissonance with when playing intervals on one instrument (string, or piano) and harmony with other players. However that is ...


4

I know that close intervals sounds more dissonant... It's not the closeness, but rather about the ratio between the two pitches where the idea is 'simple' ratios sound consonant. Look at the 'pitch ratios' on this wiki chart. But, that is just a technicality. It seems to me you have a good idea how musical elements work. Dark music can be achieved with: ...


4

I think the rule would result in examples like these... ...where the rules says to avoid movement like the first two examples. The third is OK - by the rule - because there is at least one dissonance. I haven't seen a rule with the specific wording, but the general principle is... use a variety of intervals and motion types to create interesting ...


4

Context is really important with the subdominant role. By subdominant, I just mean the IV note, NOT a chord. I understand what you mean, but melody and harmony are inextricably linked. You can't really separate them. Importantly in tonal music, even if the music is entire a single melodic line, the tonic is a reference point and harmonic relationships ...


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