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Musical Consonance & Dissonance Explained...

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Uploaded on Sep 8, 2011

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Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio answers questions from off of his Guitar Blog website...

Q). What exactly is meant with the terms Consonance & Dissonance in music?
Angelo -- Salt Lake City - Utah

A). This is a question that musicians always wrestle with. Unfortunately, there's no clear answer to it either. Mainly because as music continues to evolve, it continues to be more & more subjective to the listener as well. But, there are various guidelines to the explanation. These guidelines were established way back when music that 1st employed harmony was first appearing, (around 900 AD). The simple answer to the question is that Consonance is a pleasant sound that can begin or end a piece of music, and Dissonance is an unpleasant sound that calls for consonance (or resolution). Another simple approach to the answer involves taking untrained non-musician listeners and allowing them to evaluate various intervals. And, what that can tell us, is that the untrained listener hears Consonance as intervals which sound most like a singular tone. And, Dissonance to the untrained ear sounds as multiple-tones. Finally the slightly more complex answer, more from the perception I'd say of an audio engineer, involves the ratio of frequencies between the notes of an interval. Essentially, the smaller number of the ratio will equate to a more consonant sound. And, the larger number of the beat ratio frequency will equal a more dissonant sound.

Thanks for writing in.

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