Simon Heather
Category: Sound Healing

Dissonance, Scales & Keys: Episode 5 of Simon's New Book: "The Healing Power of Music"

Dissonance means without sonic alignment or to "beat against". Our first reactions to dissonance, whether in music or life, are to label them undesirable and something to be avoided. 


According to John Beaulieu “During the Middle Ages the Catholic Church determined what musical tones and intervals were spiritual. New musical sounds were usually introduced through heresy and thought to be the work of the devil. As hard as it is to believe, many people were executed and tortured for playing the "wrong note.” (John Beaulieu  -Dissonance)


When Igor Stravinsky premiered 'The Rite of Spring' in 1913 many listeners rioted. The complex music  and violent dance steps depicting fertility rites first drew catcalls and whistles from the crowd. At the start, the audience began to boo loudly. There were loud arguments in the audience between supporters and opponents of the work. These were soon followed by shouts and fistfights in the aisles. The unrest in the audience eventually degenerated into a riot. The Paris police arrived by intermission, but they restored only limited order. Chaos reigned for the remainder of the performance.“


A commonly used word for dissonance is stress. Dr. Hans Selye defines stress as adaptation to change. Those that resist change will perceive stress as distress. Those that accept change may experience the same stress as euphoria. In other words what is distress for one person may be euphoria for another. This may explain from a scientific perspective why the dissonance of a music composition like Stravinsky's 'Rite of Spring' may be terrible for one person and beautiful for another." (John Beaulieu - Dissonance)"


The Nobel Prize winning physicist, Dr. Ilya Prigogine discovered the importance of dissonance while investigating chemical systems. He termed his discoveries "order from chaos". Prigogine proved that for a system to change and go into a higher state of functioning it must first pass through a state of disruption or chaos. The sonic term for chaos is dissonance.


You can now either purchase the book directly from from Simon on this link, or continue reading the FIFTH Episode of the book using this link

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