consonance and dissonance
Perceived qualities of musical chords and intervals. Consonance is often described as relative stability, and dissonance as instability. In musical contexts, certain intervals seem to call for motion by one of the tones to resolve perceived dissonance. The most consonant intervals are generally recognized as the unison and octave, and the next most consonant interval as the perfect fifth. Consonance tends to reflect the early intervals of the overtone series (which include, in addition to the octave and perfect fifth, the major and minor thirds and the perfect fourth), but many musical factors can affect the perception of consonance and dissonance.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on consonance and dissonance, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up consonance and dissonance? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.