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Measuring Consonance: Chords vs Voicings

Hi,

My question is as basic and obvious as they come, but I couldn’t find any reliable answers while browsing and braving the interwebs. So, here goes:

Are there any standard measures of consonance which can be applied to (and differentiate between) voicings, and not only chord types?

Any hints or insights on this issue would be much appreciated.

All the best,
António

Hi Antonio,

I think this is relative to what system standards you define consonance. I imagine you are thinking about tonal context (because of the voicings) no?

Maybe using a comparative mapping onto a harmonic series that is considered to be based on the fundamental of the chord aggregate. Not sure though, but i think this could be a plausible approach.

Best
K

1 Like

Hi Karim,

I’m mainly thinking of chordal consonance in line with David Huron’s work on intervallic consonance. I plotted his results a couple of years ago with Plotly, here: https://chart-studio.plotly.com/~inthefold/336.embed

The problem arises for me with octaviation. Other than that, it’s very simple to compute and implement in OpenMusic for example.

All the best,
António

Hi,

For anyone interested, here’s David Huron’s original paper: (PDF) Interval-Class Content in Equally Tempered Pitch-Class Sets: Common Scales Exhibit Optimum Tonal Consonance

There are plenty of publications which measure consonance of chord types, and all with very similar results.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any which measured consonance for different voicings no doubt due to how taxing it would be to measure them all (for any given chord.)

All the best,
António

Hi,

For anyone interested, I found a great source on this issue: (PDF) Chord Spacing and Quality: Lessons from Timbre Research

All the best,
António