Sunday, July 5, 2009

My musical life began at the age of three fooling around on a neighbor's piano. I must have explored quite a range of exciting sounds, none of which I needed to identify since there was no teacher within earshot and I was completely on my own.

With the onset of lessons several years later I began to equate consonance with beauty (perhaps reflecting the bias of my teacher). In fact, I developed quite an intolerance for dissonance about which I was completely indiscriminatory: whether by Bach or Mozart, I didn't like the sound and would either "correct" it or turn the page.

At no time was my attention drawn to the significant difference in the sensations of consonance vs. dissonance. I use the word "significant" on purpose, for I persist in believing that these sensations are the beginning of the discernment of meaning in music.

I firmly believe that a grasp of dissonance is fundamental to musical health already at the early stages, just as unhappy things must happen in the stories that children read.