Dissonance Rogues Gallery

Here are the most common ‘rogue’ dissonances that appear in student style compositions. You very rarely find examples of these in the music of Haydn, Mozart etc., so if you are trying to write in this style you should avoid them (note that the seventh of V7 is often treated as if it were a consonance – see half way down this page).

 dangler NEW

Derek is a dissonant note who dangles from a consonance and is left unresolved.


In other words, you cannot quit a dissonance by leap (except for in very special circumstances like an escape note). Note dissonances that ‘dangle’ upwards are also unstylistic:Derek2

 Wilbur weak

Wilbur thinks he is a strongly accented appoggiatura as he leaps to a dissonance but he is actually only weakly accented.


In other words, you approach a weak dissonance by leap.

Steve spanner

Steve is a span of melody that begins and/or ends on a dissonance (he looks confused – probably about the harmony)


In other words, when you have stepwise motion spanning an interval such as a third, the first and last notes should fit with the chord. The beginning and end of a span is marked by a leap or a change of direction. So this example is just as bad as the above:


HOWEVER, if you can explain the dissonance in some other reasonable way then the example is not a Steve:



Photo credits (c) Can Stock Photo

%d bloggers like this: