A biological rationale for musical consonance.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The basis of musical consonance has been debated for centuries without resolution. Three interpretations have been considered: (i) that consonance derives from the mathematical simplicity of small integer ratios; (ii) that consonance derives from the physical absence of interference between harmonic spectra; and (iii) that consonance derives from the advantages of recognizing biological vocalization and human vocalization in particular. Whereas the mathematical and physical explanations are at odds with the evidence that has now accumulated, biology provides a plausible explanation for this central issue in music and audition.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bowling, DL; Purves, D

Published Date

  • September 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 112 / 36

Start / End Page

  • 11155 - 11160

PubMed ID

  • 26209651

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4568680

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1091-6490

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0027-8424

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1073/pnas.1505768112


  • eng