chapter  2
19 Pages

Consonance and Dissonance

WithTimothy Cutler

This chapter discusses Consonance and Dissonance. The dissonant perfect unisons underscore the limitless flexibility of students' tonal language. Indeed, it is a continual source of inspiration to observe how ostensibly crystallized musical elements can be rendered malleable and molded in an endless variety of ways when placed in the hands of a master composer. Imperfect consonances blend sweetly but are more fluid and flowing than perfect consonances. They are well suited for the middle of phrases where a composer desires consonance, but not so much consonance as to impede forward motion. Unlike consonant intervals, dissonant intervals possess high levels of tension and demand resolution. The bond between the tones is an unsteady one due to the latter’s function as a dissonant chordal seventh and a suspension that seeks resolution by descending step. Because the concepts of consonance and dissonance are so fundamental to tonal music theory, their explanations normally occur in the opening pages of a theory manual.