Saturday, August 02, 2008

Adorno on dissonance

‘... the opinion that Beethoven is comprehensible and Schoenberg incomprehensible is an objective illusion. Whereas in new music the surface alienates a public that is cut off from the production, its most distinctive phenomena arise from just those social and anthropological conditions that are those of its listeners. The dissonances that frighten them speak of their own situation; for this reason only are those dissonances intolerable to them.’

‘The ascendancy of dissonance seems to destroy the rational, “logical” connections within tonality, the simple triadic relations. Yet dissonance is more rational than consonance insofar as it articulate the relationship of sounds, however complex, contained in it instead of buying their unity at the price of the annihilation of the partial elements contained in it, that is, through a “homogenous” resistance.’

- from Philosophy of New Music

‘Dissonance is the truth about harmony.’

- from Aesthetic Theory