Metrical Consonance and Dissonance: Definitions and Taxonomy

Harald Krebs

in Fantasy Pieces

Published in print April 1999 | ISBN: 9780195116236
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199871308 | DOI:
Metrical Consonance and Dissonance: Definitions and Taxonomy

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This chapter begins by discussing layers of motion and how they are formed (by accents, repeated patterns, etc.), then describes how the interaction of layers creates metrical consonance (alignment) or one of two basic types of dissonance (non-alignment) — grouping dissonance and displacement dissonance. Grouping dissonance arises from the association of incongruent layers, displacement dissonance from the non-aligned presentation of congruent layers. A system of succinct labels for grouping and displacement dissonances is developed. The concept of families of related grouping and displacement dissonances is discussed. Most of the chapter focuses, however, on finer distinctions between dissonances of both basic types: between those based on simultaneous and on adjacent presentation of layers (resulting in direct and indirect dissonances, respectively); between those arising from the actual articulation of conflicting layers (surface-level dissonances) and those arising from the conflict between locally consonant layers and layers only implied by the context (subliminal dissonances); between those that occur on micro-levels, on intermediate levels, and on hypermetric levels (low-, mid-, and high-level dissonances). Varying levels of intensity of dissonance and various possibilities for combinations of dissonances (compound dissonances) are also considered. All types of metrical dissonance are amply illustrated from the works of Robert Schumann.

Keywords: grouping dissonance; displacement dissonance; direct dissonance; indirect dissonance; surface-level dissonance; subliminal dissonance; low-level dissonance; mid-level dissonance; high-level dissonance; simple dissonance

Chapter.  14212 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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