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Consonance & Dissonance

With harmonies, we should not describe them as "good" or "bad". Music is much more subjective. Having a "bad" chord doesn't mean that it won't fit in a song.

Instead, we describe them as Consonant or Dissonant.

The easiest way to think about Consonance and Dissonance is on a spectrum. The simpler the ratio between the waves, the more Consonant. The more complicated the ratio between the waves, the more Dissonant.

Consonant More Dissonant


Tension & Resolution

If dissonant sounds are less pleasing, why use them at all?

Well, music is like storytelling. Every story has a conflict that ultimately gets resolved. A hero goes on a journey, struggles with enemies, yet conquers them in the end. Without both conflict and resolution, there is no story.

Music is the same. If music were just the same note being played over and over, it wouldn't be enjoyable. Instead, it is pleasing to create tension with (a more dissonant) sound and have it resolve to a more consonant sound (often the root).

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