#1
I am reading a textbook on theory and it mentions that all augmented intervals are dissonant including the Augmented second. How is this possible? The A2 is the same amount of half steps as a m3 and sound identical. If a m3 is considered an imperfect consonance, than how is the A2 considered dissonant?
#2
dissonance/consonance are matters of function, not just sound. Dissonant intervals are those that have a strong tendency to resolve by step. Consonant intervals are stable.

The definition is rooted in old counterpoint music, where the most basic form is just two melodic lines, and the harmony is the intervals they create. In that setting, augmented intervals are only used in places where you want an extra strong resolution tendency.

Further, you wouldn't find an augmented 2nd very often in contrapuntal music.
#3
I am still not understanding. When first starting out with first species counterpoint it recommends to use consonant intervals, such as thirds. Say you are in C major writing the counterpoint. Now if there is an A in the bass against a C in the treble that is a consonant minor 3rd. Now say in a different measure you have an A in bass and a B# ni treble which is an A2...that is the SAME sound as the m3. With that said I still do not understand how the A2 is considered dissonant.
#4
It's somewhat contrived, as you are already sensing, but mainly the augmented second is still considered 'dissonant' precisely because it is a second and not a third, and this distinction (/when there are only two voices sounding/) is admittedly pedagogical but considered necessary due to its ramifications when more voices are present. Your specific example, though, is vulnerable basically to the criticism that is a non-example (read: that one would never have a situation in two-voice first species counterpoint in which an augmented second would be the /most prudent means/ of enharmonically naming a note.) B# would be most reasonably spelled as C unless you are pulling some immense modulatory or chromatic shenanigans in which case it doesn't really follow that you'd be doing two-voice first species counterpoint anyway...

In sum you hear a m3 because you /actually/ only hear a m3: A and C are the only two notes present, and they form most efficiently, especially with the A in the bass, an Am dyad.


o.o
You might could use some double modals.
Last edited by AETHERA at Jun 21, 2014,
#6
Quote by Unreal T
...that is the SAME sound as the m3. With that said I still do not understand how the A2 is considered dissonant.



Because in counterpoint, dissonance isn't a sound. Dissonance is instability, even if you don't perceive it as such with your ears. The fact that they sound the same does not imply in the least that they have similar function. A 2nd is a 2nd is a 2nd, and it'a always dissonant for purposes of counterpoint. Remember it's about putting sounds in context.s

The interval names are also not arbitrary. The places you'd use m3 or A2 are completely different, and where you'd use an A2, you would use it to create lots of tension and resolve one of the voices to make a consonant interval.

In your example, that B# has a tendency to resolve by step up to C# (or the A down to G#). And at that point, you've borrowed heavily from another key, presumably for a specific reason.

So the questions are:
Why would an augmented 2nd interval appear in counterpoint?
What's its purpose?
How does it resolve?

The answers to those are all consistent with a dissonant interval, despite being enharmonically equivalent to a consonant interval. Consonance and dissonance are not just the sound, they are the function within the music. You have to put the sounds in context to analyze them.
#7
This thread is in sore need of examples.

OP: tldr; the expectations that come with tonality and especially certain scale degrees allow us to hear intervals such as augmented 2nds, diminished 4ths, diminished 7th et cetera as dissonances despite them being enharmonic to consonant intervals.

Anyway, on to examples:

Last edited by descara at Jun 22, 2014,
#8
Quote by cdgraves
Because in counterpoint, dissonance isn't a sound. Dissonance is instability


instability in what? …….. sound perhaps?
#9
The most common use of augmented 2nd is in harmonic minor scale (1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, 7). Melodic minor was "invented" to avoid the dissonant augmented 2nd between the b6 and 7 notes. It sounds smoother if your melody goes like 6-7-1 instead of b6-7-1.

You can't really hear an augmented 2nd without a context. Otherwise it will sound like a minor third. And notating it differently doesn't make it an augmented 2nd. That's just notating it wrong.
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#10
Quote by MaggaraMarine
The most common use of augmented 2nd is in harmonic minor scale (1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, 7). Melodic minor was "invented" to avoid the dissonant augmented 2nd between the b6 and 7 notes. It sounds smoother if your melody goes like 6-7-1 instead of b6-7-1.



I believe it was to avoid the leap. Not so much about the dissonance of the interval.

Quote by Unreal T
I am reading a textbook on theory and it mentions that all augmented intervals are dissonant including the Augmented second. How is this possible? The A2 is the same amount of half steps as a m3 and sound identical. If a m3 is considered an imperfect consonance, than how is the A2 considered dissonant?



How was this worded exactly, and in what context?
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jun 22, 2014,
#11
As far as counterpoint is concerned, dissonance/consonance doesn't apply to melodic intervals, only harmonic.

It's important to remember that those terms have very specific meanings when you're talking about counterpoint.

Quote by GuitarMunky
instability in what? …….. sound perhaps?


Yes, it's just not a black/white concept. The same sound can be dissonant in one context and consonant in another, as the examples posted above demonstrate. The resolution tendency is exactly why you'd use an A2 in certain places, rather than spelling it as a m3.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jun 22, 2014,
#12
Quote by cdgraves
As far as counterpoint is concerned, dissonance/consonance doesn't apply to melodic intervals, only harmonic.

It's important to remember that those terms have very specific meanings when you're talking about counterpoint.


Yes, it's just not a black/white concept. The same sound can be dissonant in one context and consonant in another, as the examples posted above demonstrate. The resolution tendency is exactly why you'd use an A2 in certain places, rather than spelling it as a m3.



well I agree that the context affects how you hear the intervals in terms of consonance and dissonance. The spelling is a more a matter of notation/reading, and really doesn't affect the sound.

For example if you notated the F# as a Gb in this …...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=uGQq3HcOB0Y#t=43

it would still sound exactly the same. The note written as a Gb would still sound dissonant.


Also, I wonder if anyone can come up with an example of a piece that uses an Augmented 7th as a dissonance.
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jun 22, 2014,
#13
Quote by GuitarMunky
well I agree that the context affects how you hear the intervals in terms of consonance and dissonance. The spelling is a more a matter of notation/reading, and really doesn't affect the sound.

For example if you notated the F# as a Gb in this …...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=uGQq3HcOB0Y#t=43

it would still sound exactly the same. The note written as a Gb would still sound dissonant.


Well gee whiz. But we dont spell it that way, because of the context - spelling it as Gb would be inaccurate. Where're you going with this?

Augmented 7ths I'm having trouble of recall for obvious reason - though I have seem to have the faintest memory of one, though I'm not sure and not sure if it was convincing if I'm actually remembering something. Diminished octave is surprisingly common however, all things considered.
#14
Quote by descara
Well gee whiz. But we dont spell it that way, because of the context - spelling it as Gb would be inaccurate. Where're you going with this?


The point is, that spelling is a matter of notation/reading (&theory), but its not what makes something dissonant or consonant.

Regarding the spelling in this specific case it's a ******ation. Generally you keep the same note, and then resolve upward. It's alot easier to read if the note is spelled the same way, rather than going from F# to a Gb which would then require an additional accidental for the following G natural.


Quote by descara

Augmented 7ths I'm having trouble of recall for obvious reason - though I have seem to have the faintest memory of one, though I'm not sure and not sure if it was convincing if I'm actually remembering something.


I can't think of a way you could use it in which it doesn't sound like the octave that it is.
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jun 22, 2014,
#15
Quote by GuitarMunky
The point is, that spelling is a matter of notation/reading (&theory), but its not what makes something dissonant or consonant.


Ah, well, certainly. But the two are so intertwined (function and notation) that it feels like a rather superfluous distinction to make. [edit: Meaning, the one will always reflect the other. But now I guess I get your point kinda is you can't magically turn m3 into a2. ]


Quote by GuitarMunky
I can't think of a way you could use it in which it doesn't sound like the octave that it is.



Yeah I'm not having much more luck myself haha. But here's a diminished octave (2:32, the starting note of the trill) because it's so damn sexy.
Last edited by descara at Jun 22, 2014,
#16
Quote by descara
Ah, well, certainly. But the two are so intertwined (function and notation) that it feels like a rather superfluous distinction to make.

regardless of how you feel, I chose to make that distinction.


Quote by descara

Yeah I'm not having much more luck myself haha. But here's a diminished octave (2:32, the starting note of the trill) because it's so damn sexy.


Notation aside, and just for fun I'm going to call it a #9 - b9 trill that resolved to the root of the chord.
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jun 22, 2014,
#17
Quote by GuitarMunky
The point is, that spelling is a matter of notation/reading (&theory), but its not what makes something dissonant or consonant.


What makes it consonant or dissonant in counterpoint is its tendency to resolve. The whole point of spelling an A2 differently from a m3 is to denote that resolution tendency in context. The two are simply not interchangeable when used in actual music, and the difference is readily apparent upon listening. If you have the kind of ear training classical musicians get, you can spot when something is spelled A2 rather than m3 based on context alone.

where are you going this with debate? It's not like the whole practice of counterpoint is "wrong" to draw a distinction between the A2 and m3.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jun 22, 2014,
#18
Quote by cdgraves
If you have the kind of ear training classical musicians get, you can spot when something is spelled A2 rather than m3 based on context alone.


this is where I disagree. You seem to be saying that it will sound different, based on it's spelling.
#19
Quote by GuitarMunky
this is where I disagree. You seem to be saying that it will sound different, based on it's spelling.


No, that's not what I'm saying. The context makes it different functionally, and that context is what you can hear. Consonance and dissonance is not just about the sound itself, it's the usage and behavior of the sound.

If you mean to take issue with the standard definition provided in Music Theory textbooks, I think you need some counterexamples in which an A2 is used as a stable, consonant interval in a contrapuntal texture like a m3 would be.
#20
1) Good call @descara on various examples pertaining to general contrapuntal and tonal practice. The examples presented are spot-on as far as the large-scale concerns of enharmonic spelling and such go.

2) Aforementioned examples and following discourse don't actually address Unreal T's second post, so there's no great guarantee this is helping comprehension.


o.o
You might could use some double modals.
#21
Quote by cdgraves
No, that's not what I'm saying. The context makes it different functionally, and that context is what you can hear.


I agree with that.


Quote by cdgraves

If you mean to take issue with the standard definition provided in Music Theory textbooks, I think you need some counterexamples in which an A2 is used as a stable, consonant interval in a contrapuntal texture like a m3 would be.


I haven't heard that standard definition stated, but I don't think I'd disagree with it.