Consonance/Dissonance Worksheet-Free Response/Personal Reactions
Listen to the following two musical works (available to download from the Dropbox folder). Both pieces use consonance and dissonance in ways that make them unique; pay extra attention to that as you listen. It will likely be helpful to listen multiple times. Make sure to listen to each in its entirety.
Sigur Rós: Starálfur
John Cage: Sonata #2
Answer the following questions. You can type your responses on this sheet below each question.
1.) Write your personal reactions to each song.
Did you enjoy it or not? Why?
(4 sentences for each. 8 sentences minimum total).
2.) Sigur Rós: Starálfur
This song has a balance between dissonant and consonant harmonies. How frequently do you hear dissonant chords? Does the frequency of dissonant chords change in various sections of the song? Try to describe how the composer resolves the dissonances into more consonant harmonies. Do melody, harmony, or other elements in the music play a role? Explain. (6 sentences minimum)
3.) John Cage: Sonata #2
In contrast, this song is relentlessly dissonant for most of its duration. Are some sections more dissonant than others? When? Since this work relies so heavily on dissonance, what are some other ways the composer gives the piece structure? (5 sentences minimum).
One other note on the Cage example: you may be surprised to know that the entire work is actually played by a single performer on a piano that has been outfitted with metal pieces, washers, thumbtacks, etc. on the strings which really changes the sounds it makes. Really creative use of the instrument! We’ll talk more about Cage’s works using this “prepared” piano in LM 7.