Share this entry

Share this page

dissonance

Syllabification: dis·so·nance
Pronunciation: /ˈdisənəns
 
/

Definition of dissonance in English:

noun

Music
1Lack of harmony among musical notes: an unusual degree of dissonance for such choral styles the harsh dissonances give a sound that is quite untypical of the Renaissance
More example sentences
  • Most of all, he shows a flair for matching the climaxes in the action with musical climaxes, using dissonance, the singer's virtuosity, or instrumental sonorities to create the sense of heightened emotion.
  • Abandoning the preconceived notions of tonality, and immersed within a musical state of dissonance, Coltrane's music became a communicative attempt at reaching a higher plane.
  • The music's density is intriguing, its rhythmic energy is compelling, and its harmonic complexity and dissonance is unusual for Reich.
1.1A tension or clash resulting from the combination of two disharmonious or unsuitable elements: dissonance between campaign rhetoric and personal behavior
More example sentences
  • But prolonged looking, both comparatively and at individual works, revealed to this viewer raw emotional dissonances that were in tension with what would otherwise have been an esthetic of easy consumption.
  • And if I spoke louder in the Garrel film, it was once more to create a clash, a dissonance.
  • Yet it carries an element of dissonance, especially in light of the reputation Americans have for being political pragmatists, not ideologues.

Origin

late Middle English: from Old French, from late Latin dissonantia, from Latin dissonant- 'not agreeing in sound', from the verb dissonare.

More
  • sound from (Old English):

    There are four different ‘sounds’ in English. The one relating to noise is from Latin sonus. Related words are dissonance (Late Middle English) ‘inharmonious’; resonance (Late Middle English) ‘echo, resound’; resonant (late 16th century); resound (Late Middle English); and sonorous (early 17th century). Sonar, however, is an acronym formed from Sound Navigation and Ranging on the pattern of radar. Sound, meaning ‘in good condition, not damaged or diseased’, is from Old English gesund. In Middle English the prominent sense was ‘uninjured, unwounded’. Use of sound to mean ‘having well-grounded opinions’ dates from the early 16th century; the phrase as sound as a bell appeared in the late 16th century. This puns on the first meaning of sound, and also on the fact that a cracked bell will not ring true. The third sound (Late Middle English) ‘ascertain the depth of water’ is from Old French sonder, based on Latin sub- ‘below’ and unda ‘wave’. The final one for a narrow stretch of water is Middle English from Old Norse sund ‘swimming, strait’, related to swim.

Words that rhyme with dissonance

assonanceconsonance

Definition of dissonance in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day terpsichorean
Pronunciation: ˌtəːpsɪkəˈriːən
adjective
relating to dancing