Consonance and dissonance
Like many Asian kids, I played the piano when I was small. I gave up when I failed grade four.
Meanwhile, when I was in university I marvelled at my friends who could play the guitar, improvise at the keyboard, or sing harmony by ear.
At one point, I think, one of my friends told me learning music theory would help. But I did learn some music theory when I learnt the piano! but I never understood the point of it.
I guess I’m now playing catch-up. I don’t hope to master this craft (it does seem to me to be a craft) but all I want is to emulate “continental” clock chimes[Note 1] and get something that sounds convincing enough to myself.
So here’s roughly what I’ve read so far:
- Belkin, Alan. “General Principles of Harmony” (2003). Accessed October 11, 2021, https://alanbelkinmusic.com/site/en/index.php/harmony-basics/. Too advanced for me (the author was a professor) but this was one of the first few sites I read, probably the second or third. (See my comment in my note about Frank Lehman.)
- E., Matt. “A Beginner’s Guide to 4-Part Harmony: Notation, Ranges, Rules & Tips” (2019). Accessed October 11, 2021, https://www.schoolofcomposition.com/beginners-guide-to-4-part-harmony/. I only read this to find out the proper range for the four voices.
- “Harmony Tutorial — Seven Harmonies of Music” (2012). Accessed October 7, 2021, http://www.musicawareness.com/Tutorial3.html. I believe this was the first site I read in depth, and I think they explain things really well for an absolute beginner like me.
- “Consonance and Dissonance.” Accessed October 13, 2021, https://opencurriculum.org/5566/consonance-and-dissonance/. Third article I read. Only glanced at it to fill in a couple historical gaps.
- Evdokimoff, Thomas. “Recognize Intervals with Consonance and Dissonance” (2011). Accessed October 13, 2021, https://www.musical-u.com/learn/recognize-intervals-with-consonance-and-dissonance/. Second article I read.
- Schmidt-Jones, Catherine. “Consonance and Dissonance.” In Understanding Basic Music Theory. Accessed October 13, 2021, https://www.earmaster.com/fr/music-theory-online/ch05/chapter-5-3.html. This was the first article I read.
- Sutcliffe, Tom. “Consonance and Dissonance.” In Syntactic Structures in Music, Version 2.6. Accessed October 13, 2021, https://www.harmony.org.uk/book/voice_leading/consonance_and_dissonance.htm. Fourth article I read.
Miscellaneous (mostly sites I found while looking up unexplained terms)
- Beatham, Mike. “Pedal Point — Develop Several Core Playing Skills.” Accessed October 12, 2021, https://www.fretjam.com/pedal-point.html.
- bluejean1. “Concept elucidation — what is negative harmony?” May 9, 2015. Accessed October 12, 2021, https://personalprojectnegativeharmony.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/concept-elucidation-what-is-negative-harmony/. I’m not sure what got me here and I don’t think I understood the stuff.
- Dunnett, Benjamin. “Chord Inversions,” December 2, 2013. Accessed October 11, 2021, https://www.musictheoryacademy.com/understanding-music/chord-inversions/.
- Lehman, Frank. “Film Music and Neo-Riemannian Theory.” In Oxford Handbooks Online (2014). doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935321.013.002. Too advanced for me but what’s interesting is that this says a lot of film music is “Neo-Riemannian” but never (before 2014) analyzed as such by academia. This perfectly explains why Alan Belkin claimed one of his examples was “aimless” (and therefore bad) but I felt it sounded perfectly fine: Before 2014, anything that sounds like movie music to a layperson would have sounded “aimless” to a professor.
- Signature Sound Studios. “Basic Harmony,” June 18, 2012. Accessed October 7, 2021, https://signaturesound.com/basic-harmony/. I actually didn’t read this; I bookmarked it for future reference to learn about production.
- Townsend, Bryan. “Musical Satisfaction.” The Music Salon (blog), November 16, 2015. Accessed October 12, 2021, https://themusicsalon.blogspot.com/2015/11/musical-satisfaction.html. The second article I read on this blog, after reading the tritone article. The partimenti system sounds like what we’d call “design patterns” in computer science.
⸺ —. “The Tritone.” The Music Salon (blog), May 15, 2012. Accessed October 12, 2021, https://themusicsalon.blogspot.com/2012/05/tritone.html.
- William Wooding Starmer, “Continental chimes and chime tunes,” Proceedings of the Musical Association 36, no. 1 (April 19, 1910): 93–107, https://ia800708.us.archive.org/view_archive.php?archive=/22/items/crossref-pre-1909-scholarly-works/10.1093%252Fjhered%252Fos-3.1.263.zip&file=10.1093%252Fjrma%252F36.1.93.pdf.