Previously, we have talked about naming and grouping intervals.
Another characteristic we can classify intervals by is if they sound “good” or “bad” to the ear.
Now, this topic is VERY subjective. However, in theory, we have rules to classify the intervals.
An interval (melodic or harmonic) that generally sounds pleasing to the ear and stable is called consonant. Any interval that doesn’t sound “right,” has a need to resolve, classes sonically, or is outside diatonic tonality* is called dissonant.
Within consonance, there are perfect consonances that feature the perfect intervals, and there imperfect consonances that feature everything else.
If this sounds confusing, do not worry. These are labels to help understand the sonic quality of intervals as well as their stability/resolving motion.
- P1 or Unison
- Any diminished interval
- Any augmented interval
Noticed how the P4 wasn’t included in any of these lists. That is because in the pre-historic times before the Renaissance the P4 was considered a perfect consonance. Then into the Renaissance era, the P4 was regarded as a dissonance. Now, scholars have evaluated the P4 interval again and pretty much made it a wild card.
Listen to the intervals and see if you agree with their classification.
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