Consonance vs Dissonance: Difference and Comparison

Whether we like it or not, humans are surrounded by different sounds in our environment. Home, streets, schools are all filled with different sounds that may be a part of nature or artificial sounds that are composed with a musical sense.

These sounds are supposed to induce different feelings within us. Consonance and dissonance are two aspects of sound.

Key Takeaways

  1. Consonance produces a harmonious sound, while dissonance creates tension and instability in music.
  2. Dissonance can evoke emotions such as unease or suspense, whereas consonance brings a sense of resolution and satisfaction.
  3. Composers use a mix of consonance and dissonance to create balance and express various emotions in their music.

Consonance vs Dissonance

Consonance is the lack of dissonant sounds and harmonies which are a relatively harsh, unpleasant and gritty combination of pitches in a chord. Dissonance is the lack of consonant sounds and harmonies which are pleasing, agreeable combination of pitches in a chord that are easy on the ear.

Consonance vs Dissonance

The word Consonance refers to the pleasing and soothing sound from nature or composed by humans. It induces a harmonious feel while listening to the sound.

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Musicians tend to use this consonance to provide a sense of relaxation to the listeners. It is made possible by using short intervals between the music.

The word Dissonance refers to the displeasing and harsh sound from nature or composed by humans. It induces a disharmonious feel while listening to the sound.

Musicians use this to provide a sense of tension or urgency to the listeners. It is used in horror or dramatic films to create a scary or tense situation.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonConsonanceDissonance
MeaningIt refers to the pleasing sound.It refers to the displeasing sound.
FeelingIt induces a sense of relaxation and a harmonious feeling.It induces tension, urgency, scary and disharmonious feelings.
MusicIt is used by melodious musicians and rappers.It is used by jazz players.
PoetryIt enjoys poems that rhyme and use words with alliteration.It is not used in poetry usually.
Natural examplesThe coo of a dove and the chirping of a bird.The screech of an owl.

What is Consonance?

The word Consonance is used to refer to the type of music that is much pleasing to the ear. There are several types of music or sounds in our world and, they induce different feelings within the listeners.

The listeners, without being aware, automatically sense different feelings while listening to these sounds. Consonance is one type of musical aspect that induces a pleasing emotion to the listeners. 

Though the sounds can be sensed automatically, it is fundamental to understand the nuances between different aspects of sounds. They are consonance and dissonance.

It provides a sense of relaxation to the listeners by using short intervals between the music. It creates a pleasant feeling among the listeners.

Consonance is used to create positive vibes among the listeners. Other than music, these sounds are used in poetry, movies, and other literary elements. 

Consonance is used in poetry writing to create a sense of relaxation among the readers or listeners. It uses consonant sounds that sound similar while listening.

Also, it makes use of rhythmic words and words in alliteration. These words are used by poets and even rappers in their songs to create consonance.

Verses from Eminem’s Lose Yourself “His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti” is an example of consonance in rap music.

What is Dissonance?

The word Dissonance is used to refer to the type of music that is extremely displeasing to the ear. There are several types of music or sounds in our world and, they induce different feelings within the listeners.

The listeners, without being aware, automatically sense different feelings while listening to these sounds. Dissonance is a musical aspect that induces a displeasing feeling to the listeners. 

Though the sounds can be sensed automatically, it is important to understand the nuances between different aspects of sounds that are consonance and dissonance.

The dissonance provides a sense of tension and urgency to the listeners by utilizing screeching or loud music. It creates a disharmonious feeling among the listeners.

Dissonance is used to produce gloomy or haunted vibes among the listeners. Other than music, these sounds are used in poetry, movies, and other literary elements.

Dissonance is not used in poetry because of the popular usage of consonance. But dissonance is used a lot in other literary formats like literature, movies, etc.

It uses loud screeching sounds to create a scary feeling among the audience of a horror film. It is also used in dramatic sequences to carry the tense feeling to the watchers.

It is also used in literature to provide a sense of urgency to the readers. 

Main Differences Between Consonance and Dissonance

  1. The sound referred to as consonance produces a pleasing sound or feel to the listeners. The sound referred to as dissonance produces a displeasing sound or feel to the listeners.
  2. Consonance creates a sense of relaxation and a pleasant feeling among the listeners. Dissonance induces tension, urgency, scary and disharmonious feelings.
  3. Consonance is used by musicians who produce melodies and blues. Dissonance is used primarily by jazz players. 
  4. Alliteration words and words that rhyme is used as consonance by poets and rappers. Dissonance is not used in poetry usually.
  5. The chirping of the bird is an example of consonance. The screech of an owl is an example of dissonance.
References
  1. https://doi.org/10.2307/836494
  2. https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/h0093119
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