Interval Dichotomies as an Expression of Contrast

  • Guerino Mazzola
Part of the Computational Music Science book series (CMS)


For contrapuntal composition and theory, consonant and dissonant intervals are a dichotomic concept. We present the mathematical restatement and fundamental properties of the basic concept of an interval dichotomy. For the classification of dichotomies, a strong condition on unique symmetries of polarity between the two halves of dichotomies is added. It reveals a distinguished role of the consonance/dissonance dichotomy of classical counterpoint and of the major dichotomy (associated with the major scale).We discuss evidence of the consonance/dissonance dichotomy from theoretical and empirical points of view and open the discourse to an intercultural perspective guided by the classification of dichotomies, as investigated by Jens Hichert [466].


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guerino Mazzola
    • 1
  1. 1.School of MusicUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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