A Micro-Phenomenology of Consonance and Dissonance

Journal of Philosophical Research 22:321-355 (1997)
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Abstract

“Consonance” and “dissonance” can be shown to denote a syndrome of relative characteristics falling within three distinct dimensions of experience: 1) tension-repose, 2) pleasure-displeasure, 3) coherence-incoherence. There is a demonstrable, complex relationship between the specific degree of each of those characteristics associated with a particular tonal interval and the degree of complication of the ratio of that interval. No extant theory is able to explain that correlation, including the currently popular theory of psychological expectation. Using micro-phenomenology, I hypothesize that a consonant tonal interval is simply one that can be subliminally discriminated with relative ease and a dissonant interval is one that is relatively indiscriminable. Predictions implied by the hypothesis can be shown consistent with musical experience. If the theory is true, the affective character of harmonic progression is more the result of the need to discriminate tonal proportionality than the effect of expectation.

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A Micro-Phenomenology of Consonance and Dissonance.Richard Lind - 1997 - Journal of Philosophical Research 22:321-355.
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