Harmonic intervals give music its character. A perfect unison provides the most stable sound. There are numerous intervals which create very unstable sounds. The quality of stability in music is called consonance, and the quality of instability is called dissonance.
Now it's time to stray from the nuts and bolts. One of the more fascinating aspects about music is that different cultures and civilizations have different concepts of consonance and dissonance. Western music is basically the same regardless of whether we're talking about pop, country, or rock. The beat and lyrics may be materially different in the smorgasbord of western music, but Garth Brooks, the Beatles, Kenny G and Nine Inch Nails typically conform to the guidelines in this and other chapters. However, compare Western music with traditional music from the orient and the differences are obvious. One culture's music is another culture's noise. This is not to say that any type of music is better than any other type of music. Lack of appreciation for any type of music stems from ignorance rather than a lack of quality in the music. Therefore, students who are serious about their music should aspire to appreciate a variety of music. After all, variety is the spice of life.
End of Chapter Four
Return to Music Theory