Consonance is a literary device, often used in poetry. It is the repetition of consonant sounds in a short sequence of words, for example, "her brown curly hair." Alliteration differs from consonance in that in alliteration, the repeated consonant sound must be at the beginning of each word. In half rhyme, the terminal consonant sound is repeated.

In music, a consonance is a harmony, chord, or interval which sounds stable, as opposed to a dissonance, which is unstable and at which there is more information. The strictest definition of consonance may be only those sounds which are pleasant, while the most general definition includes any sounds which are used freely.

In what is now called the common practice period consonant intervals include:

  • unisons and octaves
  • minor thirds and major sixths
  • major thirds and minor sixths
  • perfect fourths and perfect fifths
This is as would be taught in a beginning theory class, but intervals such as the perfect fourth and thirds were once considered forbidden dissonances.

External link