Sunday, September 22, 2013

Consonance Fixation

I fantasize about our culture's tremendous need for consonance, such that we find it difficult to accent non-chord tones, and to end phrases on unstressed beats.  Maybe it is all due to equal temperament: now that everything is more or less out of tune we crave anything that gives us an impression of being in tune.

Back in the pre-equal-temperament era, when instrumental intervals were closer to vocal intonation, people could take delight in the off sound just as they delighted in melancholy, these days a distinctly out-of-fashion mode of existence.

The great Anna Russell's blues lyrics come to mind:
"I was so happy when you made me miserable. Come back and make me miserable again!"