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, consonancy
1. Prosody similarity between consonants, but not between vowels, as between the s and t sounds in sweet silent thought
2. Music
a. an aesthetically pleasing sensation or perception associated with the interval of the octave, the perfect fourth and fifth, the major and minor third and sixth, and chords based on these intervals
b. an interval or chord producing this sensation
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the blending of tones sounded simultaneously, as well as the harmonies in which the tones blend with one another. Consonance as a concept is juxtaposed to dissonance.

Consonance is a tranquil, soft sound that has an agreeable effect on the perceiving nerve centers; it is considered to be the expression of stability, repose, and the resolution of tensions. The unison, octave, fifth, fourth, and major and minor thirds and sixths are consonant (the perfect fourth in relation to the lower tone is treated as a dissonant interval), as well as chords composed of these intervals alone, without the inclusion of dissonant intervals—that is, major and minor triads and their inversions.

From the mathematical-acoustical point of view the difference between consonance and dissonance is only quantitative (the ratio of the frequencies of dissonant intervals form more complicated fractions), and the line of demarcation between them is arbitrary. Within the limits of the major-minor system the difference between consonance and dissonance is qualitative; it achieves a level of sharp opposition and contrast and possesses independent aesthetic value.


Helmholtz, H. Uchenie o slukhovykh oshchushcheniiakh kak fiziologicheskaia osnova dlia teorii muzyki. St. Petersburg, 1875. (Translated from German.)
Chevalier, L. Istoriia uchenii o garmonii. Moscow, 1931. (Translated from French.)
Kleshchov, S. V. “K voprosu o razlichii dissoniruiushchikh i konsoniruiushchikh sozvuchii.” Trudy fiziologicheskikh laboratorii im. akad. I. P. Pavlova, vol. 10. Moscow-Leningrad, 1941.
Tchaikovsky, P. I. “Rukovodstvo k prakticheskomu izucheniiu garmonii.” Sobr. soch., vol. IIIa. Moscow, 1957.
Medushevskii, V. V. “Konsonans i dissonans kak elementy muzykal’noi znakovoi sistemy.” In VI Vsesoiuznaia akusticheskaia konferentsiia. Moscow, 1968. Section K.
Stumpf, K. Konsonanz und Dissonanz. Leipzig, 1898. (Beiträge zur Akustik und Musikwissenschaft, issue 1).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The interval between two tones whose frequencies are in a ratio approximately equal to the quotient of two whole numbers, each equal to or less than 6, or to such a quotient multiplied or divided by some power of 2.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Type of InterCriteria Relation Pairs of criteria Strong positive consonance [0.95; 1] (I-V) Positive consonance [0.85; 0.95) (III-VIII) Weak positive consonance (II-III, III-IV, II-VIII, [0.75; 0.85) IV-VIII, I-III) Weak dissonance [0.67; 0.75) (VII-VIII, III-V, VI-VII, I-II, I-VIII, II-V, IV-VII) Dissonance [0.57; 0.67) (III-VII, I-IV, V-VIII, II-VII, IV-V, II-IV) Strong dissonance [0.43; 0.57) (IV-VI, VI-VIII, I-VII) Dissonance [0.33; 0.43) (II-VI, V-VII, III-VI) Weak dissonance [0.25; 0.33) 0 Weak negative consonance (I-VI) [0.15; 0.25) Negative consonance [0.15; 0.05) (V-VI) Strong negative consonance 0 [0.05; 0] Table 4: Distance [d.sub.ij] for each pair of criteria [C.sub.i]-[C.sub.j].
These usages, in which intervals that are dissonant in tonal practice do not seem to have foreground consonances to depend on, are labeled M
Given the resonance of history, where the traditional consonances (ics 0, 3, 4, and perfect fifths) are strongly established, it also would seem that any functional independence of perfect fourths and ic 2s would have to take into account traditional tonal practice, which lingers tellingly in cultural memory and is supported (at least to some extent) acoustically.
As based on the practices of the Shostakovich and Parker examples, a consonance-dissonance grid that includes modal consonances is given in Example 4.
In writing two-part first species counterpoint, only tonal and modal consonances are permissible.
Besides the general echoic effect by which it links words, alliterative consonance in Macbeth seems to create important links in meaning, symbolism, and imagery.
In Macbeth, alliterative consonance may function in other ways.
Similarly, Shakespeare uses alliterative consonance to link other meaningful issues, as when Macbeth speaks to the vanishing witches and asks two parting questions, the first ("Whence .
Such faint, but effective linking of sound and sense may also occur where an affix (-ly) alters what would otherwise be a true alliterative consonance (seat, sweet):
We should also note that while Santa Maria refers to 'playing in consonances' as an improvisational process, the connections between improvisational and compositional (that is, written) techniques in some instrumental genres are very close.
It has to be known that any consonance, whether given in three, four, or more voices, is understood and counted from the bass to the discant, which are the outer voices, because the middle parts, tenor and alto, are used only for the accompanying consonances and to fill the void between the outer parts.(11)
It would seem that a performer who would have studied, practised and assimilated the chapters on 'playing in consonances' in a thorough and systematic way would indeed have become highly proficient in the art of chordal improvisation at the keyboard.