Preference for Dissonance

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
kirolak
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Preference for Dissonance

Post by kirolak » Tue Jun 25, 2019 2:16 pm

Apparently one begins to enjoy or appreciate dissonance more as one grows older, according to this study. I have to admit I have always stressed the dissonant chords in all music, even in Giuliani. Any thoughts anyone would care to share on the topic?

http://www.jneurosci.org/content/35/9/4071.long

Dirck Nagy
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Re: Preference for Dissonance

Post by Dirck Nagy » Tue Jun 25, 2019 3:19 pm

Robert Ehle (one of my composition teachers) once told me that you can get used to anything, and eventually enjoy the sound of anything.

I think this is right. I wonder if becoming familiar with dissonance allows us to hear and appreciate more subtle nuances? Perhaps we add the sound to our palette? The sum of our experiences expands?

I always appreciate the control of tension in music. Its not just a race to the finish!

cheers
dirck

Rognvald
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Re: Preference for Dissonance

Post by Rognvald » Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:26 pm

Hi, K,
The Science may, in fact, be provable on some level, but I think consonance/dissonance has more to do with personality than anything else. As a young boy, my attraction to Music was to Blues/Jazz. I was never a "Pop Music" (Beatles, Stones, etc.) fan and I found the dissonant sounds of Blues and Jazz music infectious . . . so much so that at the age of 11, I begged my parents for my first guitar because I wanted to play the Music that made me feel so good. And, shortly thereafter, I became addicted to the saxophone even though I continued to play guitar. Years later, when I ventured into the world of Classical Music to improve my technical skills, I was instantly attracted to the sonorous richness and tonal palette of 19th Century Romanticism where dissonance created an edge to the lush lyricism of the composers. So, at least in my case, the preference for dissonance had nothing to do with age. Interesting article, K! Playing again . . . Rognvald P.S. It's probably why I prefer a Bordeaux Superieur or Russian Vodka to beer--the beauty of consonance/dissonance.
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

chiral3
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Re: Preference for Dissonance

Post by chiral3 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:15 pm

I can’t remember any specific citations off the top-of-my-head, but I recall reading musicological literature from as far back as the 1950’s that suggested that early affection for dissonance, odd-meters, and complex rhythms are enculturated. In the case of acculturation, which is most likely what is implied by the research since it comes from the perspective of western researchers, it’s what we would call broadening of the tonal, timbral, rhythmic, ...., cultural palette.
“Every man should be capable of all ideas, and I believe that in the future he will be.” ― Jorge Luis Borges

Rognvald
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Re: Preference for Dissonance

Post by Rognvald » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:24 pm

"but I recall reading musicological literature from as far back as the 1950’s that suggested that early affection for dissonance, odd-meters, and complex rhythms are enculturated. " Chiral3

Hi, C,
Very interesting. Although I am the only musician in my family, I grew up in a household where a steady diet of Jazz Music was the soup du jour. Perhaps, that explains it in my case. Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Preference for Dissonance

Post by Rick Beauregard » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:35 pm

Wow, I guess there’s funding enough to study anything. Personally, when I hear two notes played together I’m not pleased or otherwise. I’m just wanting the next notes and rhythms, the actual music.

I too was brought up in a Jazz home, Rog. But I heard the Beatles differently. Lots of dissonance, tension and release in their music. You should give it a listen. True it was the social context as much as the dissonance or rhythms that lured me from Duke Ellington and Oscar Peterson to the Beatles, but they are always still there. Rather my musical beginnings and training taught me to appreciate all music well constructed and performed (well maybe not cowboy music, but I moved past nursery rhymes too).
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guitarrista
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Re: Preference for Dissonance

Post by guitarrista » Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:13 pm

kirolak wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 2:16 pm
Apparently one begins to enjoy or appreciate dissonance more as one grows older, according to this study. I have to admit I have always stressed the dissonant chords in all music, even in Giuliani. Any thoughts anyone would care to share on the topic?

http://www.jneurosci.org/content/35/9/4071.long
I guess you can draw that conclusion from the paper, but I see it differently.

This research shows that with age, and independent of hearing loss, the perception of pleasantness of intervals becomes less distinct, likely due to the age-related deterioration of temporal coding by neurons.

However, older folks still rated the usual suspects (the 7ths, the 2nds, the tritone) as less pleasant than perfect 5th, 4th etc. It is just that the distinction has been diminished (the red, compared the the blue for younger folks):

plesantness_intervals_age.JPG

The reduction of pleasantness for very consonant intervals and the reduction of unpleasantness for really dissonant ones are both effects consistent with a deterioration of the neural temporal coding mechanism. As that coding becomes less precise, we lose the enhancement of pleasantness of consonant intervals and some of the unpleasantness of the dissonant ones.

This is neurological; not to do with en/ac-culturation.

P.S. Sorry for sounding like I am trying to kill the 'old geezers have special skillz' vibe - I just read the paper (and a couple of others) and am relating what is in it :chaud:
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SteveL123
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Re: Preference for Dissonance

Post by SteveL123 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:30 pm

guitarrista wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:13 pm

(.........................)

This research shows that with age, and independent of hearing loss, the perception of pleasantness of intervals becomes less distinct, likely due to the age-related deterioration of temporal coding by neurons.

(......................)
OMG , you mean as I get older this https://loopvideos.com/67IqeB0JLs4?from=45&to=0 will not sound unpleasant?

chiral3
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Re: Preference for Dissonance

Post by chiral3 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:32 pm

This study was done in the UK. It would be interesting if the same curves were observed in, say, Southeast Asia.

PS - the study might have been A = consonant B = dissonant or I could give a crap anymore, which skewed the interpretation.
“Every man should be capable of all ideas, and I believe that in the future he will be.” ― Jorge Luis Borges

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guitarrista
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Re: Preference for Dissonance

Post by guitarrista » Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:38 pm

SteveL123 wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:30 pm
guitarrista wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:13 pm

(.........................)

This research shows that with age, and independent of hearing loss, the perception of pleasantness of intervals becomes less distinct, likely due to the age-related deterioration of temporal coding by neurons.

(......................)
OMG , you mean as I get older this https://loopvideos.com/67IqeB0JLs4?from=45&to=0 will not sound unpleasant?
Finally, something to look forward to! :wink:
Konstantin
--
1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

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Cloth Ears
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Re: Preference for Dissonance

Post by Cloth Ears » Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:59 pm

I was a big Sonic Youth fan in the late Eighties, and still am! This goes against any correlation between interval preference and age in my own case at least. Just love sound.

Any scores for 'Teenage Riot' for a ten string out there? :lol:

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twang
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Re: Preference for Dissonance

Post by twang » Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:52 am

I used to think dissonance meant "sounds bad". When chords I thought sounded really "cool" were described as dissonant I felt confused; it's not the adjective I would have used. Eventually I came to understand dissonance, in music, often does not mean "sounds bad". It has a much more nuanced meaning that is better understood as unstable or unresolved or tension inducing or incompatible, or restless or leaning to one side.

I once heard that what sounds bad to one generation starts to sound normal and pleasing to successive generations and that over the past few hundred years music has generally grown increasingly "dissonant". So maybe there was a time when that 7th sounded bad to people.

BTW: This is just example of a common misunderstanding I see all the time, where a word has an everyday common usage that differs significantly from the words technical meaning in a specific field.
"An amateur is he who takes up the study of an instrument as a relaxation from his serious occupations." -- Sor

kirolak
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Re: Preference for Dissonance

Post by kirolak » Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:32 pm

Thanks for the input everyone, & the laugh, I could not believe my ears at first!

PeteJ
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Re: Preference for Dissonance

Post by PeteJ » Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:46 pm

Our evolution as listeners probably follows the same course as music history. At one time a third was considered dissonant. As we grow older we become used to sevenths and ninths, even thirteenths. We learn how they fit in the music and become a little bored with music that is always harmonious. The tension they creates is what keeps the music on the move. I don't buy the idea that biological aging dulls our recognition of dissonance, but understanding and habituation increases with listening and our growing knowledge of music.

Hans Keller is a good read on the topic of dissonance in classical music.

marvluse

Re: Preference for Dissonance

Post by marvluse » Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:15 am

guitarrista wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 6:13 pm
kirolak wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 2:16 pm
Apparently one begins to enjoy or appreciate dissonance more as one grows older, according to this study. I have to admit I have always stressed the dissonant chords in all music, even in Giuliani. Any thoughts anyone would care to share on the topic?

http://www.jneurosci.org/content/35/9/4071.long
I guess you can draw that conclusion from the paper, but I see it differently.

This research shows that with age, and independent of hearing loss, the perception of pleasantness of intervals becomes less distinct, likely due to the age-related deterioration of temporal coding by neurons.

However, older folks still rated the usual suspects (the 7ths, the 2nds, the tritone) as less pleasant than perfect 5th, 4th etc. It is just that the distinction has been diminished (the red, compared the the blue for younger folks):


plesantness_intervals_age.JPG


The reduction of pleasantness for very consonant intervals and the reduction of unpleasantness for really dissonant ones are both effects consistent with a deterioration of the neural temporal coding mechanism. As that coding becomes less precise, we lose the enhancement of pleasantness of consonant intervals and some of the unpleasantness of the dissonant ones.

This is neurological; not to do with en/ac-culturation.

P.S. Sorry for sounding like I am trying to kill the 'old geezers have special skillz' vibe - I just read the paper (and a couple of others) and am relating what is in it :chaud:
I would not read too much into this "research." It is important to realize that-- like used car salesmen, plumbers, and politicians --there are good ones and there are bad ones. And that research based upon subjective criteria is itself subjective, i.e., meaningless. There is the old academic saw, "publish or perish." Researchers face a similar dilemma: find something to study and draw some conclusions, whether or not it makes sense. For instance, one could equally well study appreciation of dissonance versus the density of pimples on one's arse. Would it make sense? Maybe about as much as versus age. Who comes up with this nonsense? People that feel compelled to justify their existence.

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