Chords: Consonance & Dissonance

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Consonance describes chords that sound/feel stable and settled and inherently free of tension. Dissonance describes chords that sound/feel unstable and unsettled and inherently full of tension. There are many flavors of consonance and dissonance, as you will discover when you continue your study of chords, but here are three examples.

An example of Consonance



An example of Dissonance


Consonance or Dissonance?

Consonance and dissonance are relative terms. Not only are there degrees of consonance and dissonance, but there are plenty of gray areas where one person’s consonance may be another person’s dissonance. Here’s a deliciously ambiguous example…


Consonant? Dissonant? Why quibble? Just enjoy it!



  1. dissonance – the boss (my wife that is) is a film fan and she told me the shower scene in Psycho was violins doing your example staccato F-E chord


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