"Dissonance" refers to a musical quality where two or more notes played together create tension and an unstable auditory effect. Dissonant intervals or chords evoke a sense of uncertainty and instability in the listener's perception, often requiring further resolution or consonance to achieve a sense of harmonic resolution.
In music, dissonance is typically presented as intervals or chords that create a sense of needing resolution. The structural makeup of these intervals or chords leads to an auditory sense of instability, prompting an expectation for the music to progress to a more stable and harmonious state. In contrast, consonant intervals and chords generate a sense of stability and resolution in the listener's perception.
Dissonance can be used in music composition to create tension, draw attention, or evoke dramatic emotional effects. Often, dissonant intervals or chords introduce moments of temporary uncertainty in the music, followed by a progression to consonant intervals or chords, creating emotional climaxes or changes.
Many musical works utilize the contrast between dissonance and consonance to achieve emotional variation, development, and richness. Composers harness this contrast to manipulate the audience's emotions, guide their emotional experience, and create a diverse range of musical effects.