Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Journey Through Counterpoint IV

2) The Importance of Dissonance
In life, we tend to avoid tension or dissonanc (I do, at least, but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one out there who does the same). We see it as harsh, undesirable and to be avoided at all cost. In music, however, tension and dissonance are not only accepted, they are welcomed and embraced. Why?

A song without tension is a happy song – it’s true – but it’s also an incredibly boring song! If you are telling a story and you start with “Once upon a time” and move directly to “...and they lived happily ever after” you have nothing. You have no story!  The story is everything that happens in between the anchors of "Once upon a time" and "...and they lived happily ever after," and what is in the story?  Drama!  Comedy!  Adventure! 

Tension and dissonance add emotion to a song: excitement, mystery, suspense, passion, intrigue, fury, heartache and life. It is in the dissonance of a song that the melody truly comes alive.

Fourth application:  By avoiding tension and dissonance, are we missing out on a large portion of life?  Are we avoiding the necessary emotions that tell our story?  Are we "happy but boring"?  Why are we so afraid of dissonance? 


Fran├žois said...

Perhaps we are so drawn to consonance because we experience in it a certain affirmation, support for our being or our identity intentions?

Annie said...

Do you think that is because we do not experience enough consonance or because we do not see the value of dissonance? In other words, is the consonance/dissonance ratio out of balance or is our perspective out of balance?

Fran├žois said...

Perhaps we simply buy into an understanding of meaning and value as agreement, as confirmation. Remember the I-Thou vs I-It discourses? I-It requires the other to agree, to sing the same song; it is perhaps more possible to create space for dissonance once we adopt an I-Thou perspective?

wakeupcowboys said...

I tend to think we do not experience enough consonance in life and are just plain relieved when there is some. I vote for the consonance/dissonance ratio being out of balance. I like the I-Thou perspective, too.