Scarlet & Grey
Ohio State University
School of Music

Work Remaining

  • Further work on the psychoacoustics and physiology of dissonance is needed.
  • All of the important psychoacoustic theories (such as Tonotopic Dissonance, Difference Tones, and Temporal Dissonance) need extensive testing on non-Western listeners.
  • All of the important exposure or learning-based theories (such as Expectation Dissonance, Interval Category Dissonance, and Absolute Pitch Category Dissonance) need to demonstrate the effect of different cultures.
  • Historically, there has been a strong tendency for researcher's to accept only a single theory regarding consonance/dissonance. New research programs are needed that begin from the premise that more than one theory is correct. For example, we need to investigate a possible duplex perception of dissonance where both tonotopic and temporal (e.g. beating) factors contribute to dissonance.
  • Relationship to personality, etc.
  • Contrary to popular opinion, most theories predict several "good" scales as optimum for consonant music. More in-depth studies are required of scales in different cultures so that proper comparisons with theory can be made.
  • Since timbre is known to affect consonance/dissonance, theories should be able to predict the kinds of timbres that are commonly used in music. We should be able to test whether the preferred musical timbres coincide with particular theoretical predictions.
  • Similarly, we should be able to test whether instrument combinations or patterns of orchestration coincide with particular theoretical predictions.
  • Working out the effect of streaming on dissonance (Wright/Bregman hypothesis).