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Dissonance   /dˈɪsənəns/   Listen
Dissonance

noun
1.
A conflict of people's opinions or actions or characters.  Synonyms: disagreement, dissension.
2.
The auditory experience of sound that lacks musical quality; sound that is a disagreeable auditory experience.  Synonyms: noise, racket.
3.
Disagreeable sounds.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Dissonance" Quotes from Famous Books



... expressing the rare quality of her millionaire soul—in the great drawing-room, with its bow-windows looking on to a clump of old trees powdered with snow, Christophe would find Colette sitting at her piano, repeating the same passage over and over again, delighting her ear with mellifluous dissonance. ...
— Jean Christophe: In Paris - The Market-Place, Antoinette, The House • Romain Rolland

... read with the microscope of criticism, and employ their whole attention upon minute elegance, or faults scarcely visible to common observation. The dissonance of a syllable, the recurrence of the same sound, the repetition of a particle, the smallest deviation from propriety, the slightest defect in construction or arrangement, swell before their eyes into enormities. As they discern with great exactness, they comprehend but a narrow compass, ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson, LL.D, In Nine Volumes - Volume the Third: The Rambler, Vol. II • Samuel Johnson

... other and cried over each other, without precisely knowing why, or, at least, without troubling to put the reason into words. But the events of the past few days had, imperceptibly, wrought a change in their relations. An impalpable veil had come between them, a subtle dissonance in point of view. They were pledged, as it were, ...
— Affairs of State • Burton E. Stevenson

... of the smell of orchard blossoms blown through the open window, of the odour of the pomegranate in the hedge; but his eyes were fascinated by the crouching passion of the figure before him and the dissonance of the low, unhuman voice. There was no pause in the broken, turgid torrent, which was like a muddy flood pouring over the boulders ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... speech, once more let loose, seeks out its old windings, or overflows musically in unpractised channels. The service which Spenser did to our literature by this exquisite sense of harmony is incalculable. His fine ear, abhorrent of barbarous dissonance, his dainty tongue that loves to prolong the relish of a musical phrase, made possible the transition from the cast-iron stiffness of "Ferrex and Porrex" to the Damascus pliancy of Fletcher and Shakespeare. It was ...
— Among My Books • James Russell Lowell

... brow, Believed of discord by thy timely word At intervals refreshing life: for thou Art verify Keeper of the Muse's Key; Thyself no vacant melodist; On lower land elective even as she; Holding, as she, all dissonance abhorred; Advising to her measured steps in flow; And teaching how for being subjected free Past thought of freedom we may come to know The music ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... and angers me (when my way takes me into our surface or elevated cars or into ferry boats and local trains) is the utter dissonance between the outfit of most of the women I meet and their position and occupation. So universal is this, that it might almost be laid down as an axiom, that the American woman, no matter in what walk of life you ...
— Worldly Ways and Byways • Eliot Gregory

... Minister, Von Buelow, again, it was in the presence of the Reich Chancellor, Hohenlohe. At once he perceived a different nuance in the conversation and a dissonance in comparison with the conversation he had had with Count Eulenberg. He thought that the Chancellor and the Foreign Minister were not in agreement with the Kaiser and did not dare to say it openly; or, on the other hand, they might be favorably inclined but would not be willing ...
— The Jewish State • Theodor Herzl

... ideal. Harsh, discordant notes do not express the poet's real disposition. They are exaggerated, romantic feeling, for which he himself, led by an instinctively pure conception of the good and the beautiful, which is opposed alike to sickly sentimentality and jarring dissonance, sought ...
— Jewish Literature and Other Essays • Gustav Karpeles

... In Claude Debussy's compositions, his system of harmony and tonality is intimately connected with these laws of natural harmonics. His chords, for instance, are remarkable for their shifting, vapory quality; they seem to be on the border land between major and minor—consonance and dissonance; again they often appear to float in the air, without any resolution whatever. It was a new aspect of music, a new style of chord progression. At the same time the young composer was well versed in old and ancient ...
— The World's Great Men of Music - Story-Lives of Master Musicians • Harriette Brower

... may tend towards its divine object, with ardor, but the will not concurring, causes dissonance and swooning, or impetuous transports. I call this momentary ecstasy; it cannot long endure without separating the soul ...
— Letters of Madam Guyon • P. L. Upham

... "The Fountain," treats of the impressions of beauty produced by the great, sublime, and powerful; the third considers the relation to the imagination, of the apprehension of nature by the understanding, and shows that it is only imperfect culture and ignorance which can suppose any dissonance between the two. He shows that the progress of science enriches, aggrandizes, and elevates the imagination. The fourth essay is, perhaps, the most interesting of all. Its theme is, "Superstition and Skepticism ...
— The International Magazine, Volume 2, No. 3, February, 1851 • Various

... fallen, and evil tongues; In darkness, and with dangers compassed round, And solitude; yet not alone, while thou Visitest my slumbers nightly, or when morn Purples the east: still govern thou my song, Urania, and fit audience find, though few. But drive far off the barbarous dissonance Of Bacchus and his revellers, the race Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears To rapture, till the savage clamour drowned Both harp and voice; nor could the Muse defend ...
— Paradise Lost • John Milton

... of three whole tones (Triton) was considered an intolerable dissonance and was called "the devil in music." The dominant seventh has been the open door to all dissonances and to the domain of expression. It was a death blow to that learned music of the sixteenth century; ...
— On the Execution of Music, and Principally of Ancient Music • Camille Saint-Saens

... is very sad," he said, sighing. "But after all, it is no fault of ours. There was a dissonance in our married life from the start, and for that reason there never could be any genuine harmony between us. This dissonance—well, at the present hour I may confess it to you, too—this dissonance simply was the fact that I ...
— LOUISA OF PRUSSIA AND HER TIMES • Louise Muhlbach

... experiments in assonance and dissonance (of which 'Strange Meeting' is the finest example) may be left to the professional critics of verse, the majority of whom will be more preoccupied with such technical details than with the profound humanity of the self- revelation manifested in such magnificent lines as those at ...
— Poems • Wilfred Owen

... the Greek states it never attained to more than a fluctuating and temporary realisation. The inherent contradiction was too extreme for the attempted reconciliation; the inequalities refused to blend in a harmony of divergent tones but asserted themselves in the dissonance of civil war. ...
— The Greek View of Life • Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson

... Consider, That these seeming contradictions Cannot our firm faith diminish In the oneness of the gods, If in things of higher import They know naught of dissonance. Take man's wondrous frame, for instance, Surely that majestic structure Once ...
— The Wonder-Working Magician • Pedro Calderon de la Barca

... Medoro, modulating a voice, that nature had made up of dissonance and horror, into the most gentle and soothing accent of which it was capable, and hanging over his couch, "wherefore this sorrow? What is it that has seemed to mar a happiness so enviable? Art thou not possessed"—"Talk not to me of possessions," exclaimed ...
— Imogen - A Pastoral Romance • William Godwin

... is obsessed by the theory of overtones, and his music is not only horizontally and vertically planned, but, so I pretend to hear, also in a circular fashion. There is no such thing as consonance or dissonance, only imperfect training of the ear (I am quoting from his Harmony, certainly a bible for musical supermen). He says: "Harmonie fremde Toene gibt es also nicht"—and a sly dig at the old-timers—"sondern nur dem Harmoniesystem fremde." ...
— Ivory Apes and Peacocks • James Huneker

... when the garlands of to-day are pale, Shall clang of armorers riveting our mail Rise in harsh dissonance where now the song In surging music sweeps the land along? No, Brothers, no! The Providence on high Stretches above us like the arching sky; As o'er the world that broad empyrean field, So o'er the nation ...
— A Wreath of Virginia Bay Leaves • James Barron Hope

... he seen this enchanted Southern land which had always been as much a part of his mother-land as Northern hill and Western plain—as much his as the roaring dissonance of Broadway, or the icy silence of the tundras, or the vast tranquil seas of corn rippling mile on mile under the harvest moon ...
— The Firing Line • Robert W. Chambers

... whirring of empty fifths on the violins, a trill on the flutes, or a dissonant mutter of the basses. The celesta, an instrument with keyboard and bell tone, contributes fascinating effects, and the xylophone is used;—utterances that are lascivious as well as others that are macabre. Dissonance runs riot and frequently carries the imagination away completely captive. The score is unquestionably the greatest triumph of reflection and ingenuity of contrivance that the literature of music can show. The invention that has been expended on the themes seems less admirable. Only ...
— Chapters of Opera • Henry Edward Krehbiel

... character of Buonaparte, the dissonance is, if possible, still greater. According to some, he was a wise, humane, magnanimous hero; others paint him as a monster of cruelty, meanness, and perfidy: some, even of those who are most inveterate against him, speak very highly ...
— Historic Doubts Relative To Napoleon Buonaparte • Richard Whately

... though it is not long; it has those inadequacies, those incompetences of expression, which are so oddly characteristic of its author; and his elaborate simplicity, though more at home here than in some other places, occasionally gives a dissonance. But it is a great poem—one by itself, one which finds and keeps its own place in the foreordained gallery or museum, with which every true lover of poetry is provided, though he inherits it by degrees. No one, I suppose, will deny ...
— Matthew Arnold • George Saintsbury

... perpetual hymn of everlasting love. Love, which found a worthy poet in Plato alone of all the ancients, has been celebrated by a chorus of the greatest writers of the renovated world; and the music has penetrated the caverns of society, and its echoes still drown the dissonance of arms and superstition. At successive intervals, Ariosto, Tasso, Shakespeare, Spenser, Calderon, Rousseau, and the great writers of our own age, have celebrated the dominion of love, planting, as it were, trophies in the human mind ...
— English literary criticism • Various

... notes, and don't find out the mistake till they come to the finale; with occasionally a psalm crooned by worthy sexagenarians, guiltless alike of ear and voice, but who, seeming to think it a duty to add their mite to the inexpressible dissonance, perform the same to the unmixed dismay of all ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 54, No. 338, December 1843 • Various

... Genius of the People, and consider that the Delicacy of Hearing, and Taste of Harmony, has been formed upon those Sounds which every Country abounds with: In short, that Musick is of a Relative Nature, and what is Harmony to one Ear, may be Dissonance to another. ...
— The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 - With Translations and Index for the Series • Joseph Addison and Richard Steele

... follows. Here is a religious world, idyllic, paradisaical in its immediate relation to the Gods, and in the primitive innocence of its people, who seem to be without a jar or inner scission. No doubt or dissonance has yet entered apparently; Pylos stands between Ithaca, the land of absolute discord, and Sparta, the land recently restored out of discord. The Book hears a relation to the whole Odyssey in its special theme, which is the Return, of which it represents ...
— Homer's Odyssey - A Commentary • Denton J. Snider

... 'I strike a chord and I achieve dissonance and wailing.' She threw back her head and pressed her fingers on the keyboard: this time a thin flute-like chord came forth, and Wilhelmine ...
— A German Pompadour - Being the Extraordinary History of Wilhelmine van Graevenitz, - Landhofmeisterin of Wirtemberg • Marie Hay

... working man, comparatively uneducated, should have evoked the tumultuous applause of a brilliant assembly of intelligent ladies and gentlemen. It was indeed something extraordinary. Some said that he declaimed like Talma or Rachel, nor was there any note of dissonance in his reception. The enthusiasm was general and unanimous amongst the magistrates, clergy, scientific men, artists, physicians, ship-owners, men of business, and working people. They all joined in the applause when ...
— Jasmin: Barber, Poet, Philanthropist • Samuel Smiles

... by magic, every little dissonance in all the town seemed blended into a harmony of silence, as it might be the very death of ...
— Forsyte Saga • John Galsworthy

... tortured heart only light up an abyss of misery—a vault of darkness peopled by demons. He is already cut off from among the living, by the doom of inevitable fate, and while we pity him we fear him. His coming seems attended with monstrous shapes; he diffuses dissonance; his voice is a cry of anguish or a wail of desolation; his existence is a tempest; there can be no relief for him save death, and the death that ends him comes like the blessing of tears to the scorched eyelids of consuming misery. That is the Saul of the Bible and of Alfieri's tragedy; and ...
— Shadows of the Stage • William Winter

... the voices of the night will then cease, and that sleep will come with the blessed morning. But he has forgotten the birds, who at the first streak of gray in the east have assembled in the trees near his chamber-window, and keep up for an hour the most rasping dissonance,—an orchestra in which each artist is tuning his instrument, setting it in a different key and to play a different tune: each bird recalls a different tune, and none sings "Annie ...
— Baddeck and That Sort of Thing • Charles Dudley Warner

... Cybele traveling about in her car drawn by roaring lions mourning her lover's death. A crowd of worshipers followed her through woods and thickets, mingling their shouts with the shrill sound of flutes, with the dull beat of tambourines, with the rattling of castanets and the dissonance of brass cymbals. Intoxicated with shouting and with uproar of the instruments, excited by their impetuous advance, breathless and panting, they surrendered to the raptures of a sacred enthusiasm. Catullus has left us a dramatic description ...
— The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism • Franz Cumont

... it. Man, intelligent and free, is an animal wholly unpremeditated upon this planet. Produced by unexpected combinations and haphazard transformations, in the midst of a general subordination of matter, he figures as a dissonance and a revolt! ...
— Monsieur de Camors, Complete • Octave Feuillet

... deliverance strove! Though all the fierce and drunken passions wove 45 A dance more wild than e'er was maniac's dream! Ye storms, that round the dawning east assembled, The Sun was rising, though ye hid his light!" And when, to soothe my soul, that hoped and trembled, The dissonance ceased, and all seemed calm and bright; 50 When France her front deep-scarred and gory Concealed with clustering wreaths of glory; When, insupportably advancing, Her arm made mockery of the warrior's ramp; While timid looks of fury glancing, ...
— Coleridge's Ancient Mariner and Select Poems • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

... palate, afford me so many channels for enjoyment. Still the insufficiency of the palpable and appreciable is paramount; still the everlasting dolor interposes: the appetite is satiated, the aroma palls upon the nostrils, the nerves are affected by irritability, the harmony merges into dissonance; even the beautiful becomes so far an abomination that man is 'mad for the sight of his eyes that he did see.' Such is the sterile and repulsive penalty of the searcher after happiness. Happiness! O delusive phantom of ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 62, No. 384, October 1847 • Various

... reap No mellower harvest! Thirteen hundred years Of wealth and glory turned to dust and tears; And every monument the stranger meets, Church, palace, pillar, as a mourner greets; And even the Lion all subdued appears, And the harsh sound of the barbarian drum, With dull and daily dissonance, repeats The echo of thy tyrant's voice along The soft waves, once all musical to song, That heaved beneath the moonlight with the throng Of gondolas—and to the busy hum Of cheerful creatures, whose most sinful deeds Were but ...
— Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern, Vol. 7 • Various

... swelling into a yapping, growling, barking, yelling discord. A sudden silence cuts the tumult short, until once more the unknown misery, (or is it the secret joy), of the canine heart bursts out in long-drawn dissonance. ...
— Out-of-Doors in the Holy Land - Impressions of Travel in Body and Spirit • Henry Van Dyke

... of a flowing symbolism in Nature, which our own time brings to them. To make Homer alive to this age,—what an expenditure of imagination, of pure feeling and penetration does it demand! Let the Homeric heart or genius die out of mankind, and from that moment the "Iliad" is but dissonance, the long melodious roll of its echoes becomes a jarring chop of noises. What chiefly makes Homer great is the vast ideal breadth of relationship in which he establishes human beings. But he in whose narrow brain is no space for high Olympus and deep Orcus,—he ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 10, No. 57, July, 1862 - A Magazine Of Literature, Art, And Politics • Various

... of all degrees of dissonance, sharp and flat, cracked and clear, fast and slow, made ...
— Charles Dickens and Music • James T. Lightwood

... primitive term which any object of cultivation, physical or moral, bears among many different tribes, spread over many and far-distant regions, will be considered as the best evidence of one common origin. Disagreement in a similar case, accompanied with a great variety of terms of considerable dissonance, will be equally conclusive as to the object being indigenous ...
— Traditions of Lancashire, Volume 1 (of 2) • John Roby

... that intense yearning look in his usually guarded, irresponsive countenance. A painfully humiliating sense of her own personal incompetence to arouse the feeling, so legibly printed on her lover's features, jarred upon Leo's heart like a twanging dissonance breaking the harmonious flow of minor chords; but a noble pity strangled this jealous thrill, and she softly ...
— At the Mercy of Tiberius • August Evans Wilson

... dissonance of an elevated train; on either side of her phantom shapes swarmed—figures which moved everywhere around her, now illumined by shop windows, now silhouetted against them. And always through the deafening confusion in her brain, the dismay, the stupefaction, ...
— The Dark Star • Robert W. Chambers

... was between her and the light, and the unmistakable expression of annoyance and impatience which was passed over it was spared her. There was, however, still enough dissonance in his manner to affect her quick feminine sense, and when she drew nearer to him it was with a ...
— Snow-Bound at Eagle's • Bret Harte

... step northward from the middle of this building to Memorial Hall, or thread the great nave to the western portal and enter the twin tabernacle sacred to Vulcan? The answer readily suggests itself: substantials before dessert—Mulciber before the Muses. Let us get the film of coal-smoke, the dissonance of clanking iron and the unloveliness of cog-wheels from off our senses before offering them to the beautiful, pure and simple. We come from the domain of finished products, complete to the last polish, silently self-asserting and wooing the almighty ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, April, 1876. • Various



Words linked to "Dissonance" :   disunity, discord, cacophony, divide, disharmony, conflict, dissension, dissonate, inharmoniousness, agreement, disagreement, noise, discordance, harmony, sound, dissonant, auditory sensation, racket, sound property



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