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Thread: Is the Perfect Fourth a Dissonance? If So, Why?

  1. #31
    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Then definitions don't mean anything in particular. Remember this next time you get into a discussion.
    From Merriam Webster on line:

    Definition of definition

    1a : a statement of the meaning of a word or word group or a sign or symbol
    dictionary definitions

    b : a statement expressing the essential nature of something

    c : a product of defining

    2 : the action or process of stating the meaning of a word or word group

    3a : the action or the power of describing, explaining, or making definite and clear the definition of a telescope
    //her comic genius is beyond definition

    b(1) : clarity of visual presentation : distinctness of outline or detail
    //improve the definition of an image

    (2) : clarity especially of musical sound in reproduction

    c : sharp demarcation of outlines or limits
    //a jacket with distinct waist definition

    4 : an act of determining specifically : the formal proclamation of a Roman Catholic dogma

    Nine options. I guess you're right. The word "definition" has no um . . . definition. I will miss 3(b)(2) though.
    Last edited by jegreenwood; Aug-27-2019 at 13:16.

  2. #32
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    "Triadically based" is the limiting factor, but ignores root movement. This limiter considers a second inversion F (C-F-A) as "unstable" because it does not have the root on bottom.



    As an interval, harmonically, a fourth is stable, and heard as root on top.

    "Fourth above the bass" must be qualified by specifying arbitrarily that "the bass must also be the root," which contradicts the harmonic gravity of the interval upwards, to root F.

    A second inversion F is not "unstable" unless it is considered to be a chord in the key of C.

    A root movement to F, via leading tone E-F, is not "unstable."

    Thus we see that the harmonic gravity of the key of C, using a C major scale, must be artificially preserved by deeming certain chords, with no root in the bass, as "unstable," or by using devices such as suspensions as justification.

    Again, we see that the note "F" in C major is problematic, and must be "harmonically nullified" by using arbitrary procedures and terminology; an imperfect solution to a basically flawed scale.
    You can't possibly be serious. Flawed scale? No, only your flawed, crackpot perspective on CP harmony, voice-leading, and the whole history of Western music and music theory.

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  4. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    You can't possibly be serious. Flawed scale? No, only your flawed, crackpot perspective on CP harmony, voice-leading, and the whole history of Western music and music theory.
    Poor deluded academic! Are you joking? Your rigid, defensive, uptight perspective does not allow you to recognize the problem of "F".

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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Poor deluded academic! Are you joking? Your rigid, defensive, uptight perspective does not allow you to recognize the problem of "F".
    What problem?
    4/3 the second simplest and most consonant interval in the octave. People without ear training probably hear all intervals +/- neutral second around F as alteration of F.
    Fourths saw heavy use in harmony for several centuries in medieval times (and probably in ancient music, too, but we know little about it).
    The only problem is in your head and your Russel based theories.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BabyGiraffe View Post
    What problem?
    4/3 the second simplest and most consonant interval in the octave. People without ear training probably hear all intervals +/- neutral second around F as alteration of F.
    Fourths saw heavy use in harmony for several centuries in medieval times (and probably in ancient music, too, but we know little about it).
    The only problem is in your head and your Russel based theories.
    You have a reading comprehension problem, BabyGiraffe. I've been saying all along that the fourth is a consonance. The problem is the academic CP treatment of it as a "dissonance." Why don't you read the thread before blurting out your abuse on me!

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    Sorry, my man, but CPP rules have no relevance today at all and they are based on a completely major/minor root position considered only as great sounding triadic style (with rules somewhat randomly compiled from the practices of different composers; if we focus on individual composers styles, we will find that they don't follow these type of "grammar" - there already exist academic papers on with statistical analyses of certain famous composers).

    Btw, these days I am more into the figured bass opinion camp that each inversion (or even each voicing) is a unique musical entity, disregarding equivalence under inversion/permutation and octaves - they just sound different and play different "roles" in musical composition .

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    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Fux, Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart all considered the P4 a dissonance, the quote from Gradus ad Parnassum. But the 4th is only considered a dissonance in regards to the bass, C-F-A is dissonant if C is the bass, place the root or third under it - FCFA or ACFA and the 4th is no longer a dissonance

    Unison, third, fifth, sixth, octave, and the intervals made up
    of these and the octave are consonances. Some of these are perfect
    consonances, the others imperfect. The unison, fifth, and octave are
    perfect. The sixth and third are imperfect. The remaining intervals,
    like the second, fourth,' diminished fifth, tritone, seventh, and the
    intervals made up of these and the octave, are dissonances.
    the modern editor in the footnote explains
    In an earlier chapter, Fux distinguishes between the fourth obtained from the
    arithmetical division of the octave and that deriving from the harmonic
    division.

    In the first case, where the lower tone of the fourth is at the same time the funda-
    mental tone — that is, in every instance when dealing with two voices — the fourth is
    considered a dissonance. In the second case its dissonant character is invalidated by
    the new fundamental tone, and it can be considered an imperfect consonance (sec
    p. 131). In classifying the fourth among the dissonances, Fux makes his decision with
    regard to what he calls "a famous and difficult question." Martini, basing his opinion
    upon that of Zarlino {lustittitioni Harinonkhe, Part III, ch. 5), goes so far as to call the fourth a perfect consonance {Esemplare, pp. xv and 172). Haydn and Beethoven
    follow Fux. Mozart {Fundamente des General-Basses, p. 4) also lists the fourth as a
    dissonance.

  9. #38
    Senior Member isorhythm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Poor deluded academic! Are you joking? Your rigid, defensive, uptight perspective does not allow you to recognize the problem of "F".
    Million, have you considered putting aside all the various turgid theories you've put forth on these issues and just using your ears for a while? I think a lot of things will become clearer that way.

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    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
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    All depends on context, I can make a major triad sound dissonant. But all things equal, a perfect forth is consonant.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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    Quote Originally Posted by isorhythm View Post
    Million, have you considered putting aside all the various turgid theories you've put forth on these issues and just using your ears for a while? I think a lot of things will become clearer that way.
    I've always thought the suspension in C sounded arbitrary, as if it could just as well resolve up to G. What about the C minor scale? It has no half-step between the Eb and F. The resolution of C-F "down" to E or Eb is totally arbitrary.

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    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I've always thought the suspension in C sounded arbitrary, as if it could just as well resolve up to G. What about the C minor scale? It has no half-step between the Eb and F. The resolution of C-F "down" to E or Eb is totally arbitrary.
    To my ears the F could retard upwards, especially if there was an E or Eb in the bass. It'd sound quite nice actually that clash in the right context and with appropriate scoring and spacing.

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    In an earlier chapter, Fux distinguishes between the fourth obtained from the
    arithmetical division of the octave and that deriving from the harmonic
    division.

    In the first case, where the lower tone of the fourth is at the same time the funda-
    mental tone — that is, in every instance when dealing with two voices — the fourth is
    considered a dissonance.


    That's obvious, since C-F is normally, naturally, and harmonically considered to be "root on top." To consider it with root on bottom is counter-intuitive, and completely the result of "F" being present in the C major scale. C-F will always fight against the key of C, in favor of the key of F.

    In the second case its dissonant character is invalidated by
    the new fundamental tone, and it can be considered an imperfect consonance.


    Whatever he wants to call it, C-F establishes a new fundamental.

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    "That's obvious, since C-F is normally, naturally, and harmonically considered to be "root on top.""

    Nah, this phenomenon is related to the way mammalian brains processes sounds (you will find links to articles on such topics in the references of the wiki page on auditory system).
    It doesn't have any connection with the mathematical theory of acoustic or tuning, or music theory.

    I don't know, if you do any kind of music production with digital technologies, but there are many "psychoacoustic" vst plugins that exploit the harmonic or spatial perception of human ear.

    Btw, six four chord sounds EXCELLENT in just intonation by itself and, imo has nothing to do with dissonance of any kind (doesn't really need preparation/resolution), but can be considered unstable, because human ear cannot accept its bass note as a stable tonic of a harmonic series. That's just how our brain processes sounds - seeks and reconstructs harmonic series (and that's why even tiny speakers/headphones reproduce some form of bass in our mind - even when there is none). (12 equal major sixth is too sharp for my taste and sounds more ugly.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by BabyGiraffe View Post
    "That's obvious, since C-F is normally, naturally, and harmonically considered to be "root on top.""

    Nah, this phenomenon is related to the way mammalian brains processes sounds (you will find links to articles on such topics in the references of the wiki page on auditory system).
    I've got news for you, BabyGiraffe: you're a mammal!

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    All depends on context, I can make a major triad sound dissonant. But all things equal, a perfect forth is consonant.
    Context is indeed all, all things are not equal, fourths are not inherently consonant or dissonant, consonance and dissonance are not absolute states but depend on perceptual and/or stylistic context, and if the question at the head of this thread were properly asked - if context were specified - there would be no need for a discussion because the answer would be contained in the question. As asked, however, the question is a provocation to talk past each other and an opportunity for the questioner to put down any responses that don't sit within his theoretical context.

    So what else is new?

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