Consonance and dissonance

In music, consonance and dissonance are categorizations of simultaneous or successive sounds. Within the Western tradition, some listeners associate consonance with sweetness, pleasantness, and acceptability, and dissonance with harshness, unpleasantness, or unacceptability, although there is broad acknowledgement that this depends also on familiarity and musical expertise.[1] The terms form a structural dichotomy in which they define each other by mutual exclusion: a consonance is what is not dissonant, and a dissonance is what is not consonant. However, a finer consideration shows that the distinction forms a gradation, from the most consonant to the most dissonant.[2] In casual discourse, as Hindemith stressed, "The two concepts have never been completely explained, and for a thousand years the definitions have varied".[3] The term sonance has been proposed to encompass or refer indistinctly to the terms consonance and dissonance.[4]

Perfect octave, a consonant interval
Minor second, a dissonance

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