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Consonance v Dissonance



Ah, consonance: the pleasing mixture of multiple tones. And its arch-nemesis, dissonance: the clashing of tones. Generally the closer notes are together (eg: the notes 'e' and 'f'), the more dissonant the sound. To most people, this dissonance is unpleasant.

In an effort to better understand this phenomenon, Discover Magazine recently described research where neuroscientists studied amusics: people that have a hard time detecting the direction of pitch changes and cannot tell some notes apart. Among the interesting things they found:
"When two notes of close frequency were played to the same ear, subjects rated that as jarring; when, in contrast, they were separated one note to one ear, the beating was lessened and so too was the subjects' dislike of the sound."






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