CONSONANCE, DISSONANCE, AND INTERCHANGE
The musical meaning of the term shows it allied to the congruous
Also to the repetitious
How the same meaning attaches to the word as used in other arts
Three ways in which features seemingly alike may differ in size, in combination, in material
Consonance and the law of help
Why involved in passing from one key to another
Why it has artistic value
Why Necessary To Harmony in Music
In Color and Outline
Harmonizing of the two
Consonance in color in connection with difference in texture
Consonance not harmony
Nor is dissonance contrast
methods in outline
In painting and architecture
Neglect of them in architecture
Importance of harmony thus produced
Which is not inconsistent with some dissonance.
IT was said in Chapter VIII. that consonant effects seem alike not merely because, as in congruity, they are associated in thought, nor merely because, as in repetition, they are alike in actual form. They seem alike, in part, because of one of these reasons, and, in part, because of the other. In music, from which the term consonance is taken, those tones are said to manifest this, which, when produced by unaided nature or by man experimenting with the results of nature, appear to be what we term in harmony. One reason, therefore, why men use the tones together in art is because they go together in nature, and so are recognized to be congruous.
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 243]
But this is not the only reason. When we study the question more closely and ask why they are harmonious, we find the answer to be because, in a sense, they are also repetitious. This is not the place in which to detail the various experiments through which this fact has been ascertained. Among other methods, through the use of resonators, so constructed as to enable one to detect the presence in a tone of any particular pitch, it has been fully proved that notes which are consonant are such as contain the same elements of pitch, orwhat is the same thingare notes in which sounds of the same pitch are repeated. For instance, when a string like that of a bass viol is struck, its note, if musical, is not single or simple: it is compounded. Suppose that it produce the tone of the bass C representing a sound-wave caused by the whole length of the string. This C is the main, or, as it is termed, the prime tone that we hear. But, at the same time, this same string usually divides at the middle, producing what is called a partial tone of the C above the bass, representing a sound-wave caused by one half the strings length. It often produces, too, partial tones of the G above this, of the C above this, and of the E above the last C representing sound-waves, caused, respectively, by one third, one fourth, and one fifth of the strings length. All the possible partial tones are not, in every instrument, invariably compounded with every prime tone, but whatever partial tones are present, the musical law is that the pitch of these, as a rule, is the same as the pitch of notes that are consonant with their prime tone. In other words, these notes, as in the cases of the C, C, G, C, and E in the music below, are consonant with each other, because they repeat in part sounds that already enter into each other's composition.
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 244]
If now, bearing in mind that it is with the relations of form that art always has to deal, we apply the principle involved in consonance to other arts than those of sound, we shall have little difficulty in detecting what is meant by it. It is an effect of likeness, in part, of that which forms suggest to thought, and, in part, of that which they appear to be; or, as we might say, of likeness in the one because of likeness in the other. The latter, the likeness in appearance, however, is never complete. If it were, we should call it, not consonance, but repetition.
[click here to play music sample]
Three principal ways will reveal themselves, when we think of it, in which features that appear to be alike may nevertheless differ namely, in size, in combination and in material. The lower do of a soprano voice may be said to differ in size from the consonant lower do of a tenor, an octave below it, in the same key. One unacquainted with music might not suppose that the two differed at all; yet the sound-waves causing the one are proportionally smaller, and move twice as rapidly as those causing the other. In the same way, various tints or shades, if alike in hue, may be consonant, though, as influenced by sunshine or shadow, they may differ greatly in the degree or amount which, in this case, corresponds to sizeof the coloring which they manifest. So, too, the arches of a gable or doorway and of a window may be consonant because the same in form, though in size they may differ greatly.
Again, the do of a scale (C in the music above) may be said to differ in combination from the consonant mi or sol (E or G in the music above) of the same scale, that which
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 245]
is a partial tone in the one, being a prime tone in the other. Precisely similar conditions characterize the consonance of effects produced by color, where in two or more places exactly the same hues are used, but in different proportions and quantities. The same conditions are equally manifested in the accumulations of narrow and wide and long and round windows, all, nevertheless, partly repetitious, that we find in a single consistent style of architecture.
Once more, the consonant notes may be sounded on various instrumentsflutes, violins, or trumpets, as the case may beand here there may be said to be a difference in material. As manifested in color, this evidently leads to that method of painting all objects in a picture or a part of it, no matter of what material they may be supposed to be composedrocks, lakes, skies, or human clothing or fleshin the same general hue, producing the effect of tone as it is called, illustrations of which will be mentioned on pages 255 and 256.
As manifested in outlines, consonance, in connection with difference in material, operates in the same way as that which Ruskin in the fifth book of his Modern Painters terms The Law of Help. This he illustrates by referring to Turners picture called The Loire Side. The flatness of the stone, he says, prepares the eye to understand the flatness of the river. Further, hide with your finger the little ring on that stone, and you will find the river has stopped flowing. That ring is to repeat the curved lines of the river-bank which express its line of current, and to bring the feeling of them down to us. On the other side of the road, the horizontal lines are taken up again by the dark pieces of wood. Such effects as these may evidently be included under the term conso-
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 246]
nance. What does this word mean but sounding together? telling the same story? conveying the same impression? The artistic feature in this picture causing objects as different essentially as stone, water, roads, and woods to help each other by way of suggestion, is the fact that while not alike in material they are, nevertheless, made to have like effects both upon thought and in the form.
Enough has been said to enable the reader to understand in a general way that is meant by consonance, and in what sense it can characterize products in all the arts. In order to indicate the connections between it and dissonance and interchange, let us go back for a moment to the use of the term in music. It has been said that certain notes are consonant because they are compounded of the same tones. Therefore, we strike a low C and a high C, G, and E, and call all, when sounded together, a chord. But notes and chords too, may be consonant with others that also precede and follow them. A chord composed of C, G, and E may thus be consonant with one composed of G, D, and B, because G after the octave C, is the nearest partial of C; and it may be consonant, too, with one compared of F, C, and A, because after the octave F, C is the nearest partial of F. The two latter chords, therefore, are the ones most nearly related to the chord of C. But, besides this, notice that all these chords together contain all the notes of that musical scale which begins, or has its key-note in C natural,namely, C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. Another fact, too, it is important to
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 247]
notice here. This is, that there are some musical instruments in which when a C is sounded, not only another C or G or E is heard, but also above them other partial tones. The tones of this character which, in different instruments, have been detected as entering into the composition of C, F, and G, are as follows, those nearest the bass being heard, of course, much the more prominently and commonly:
A slight examination of these possible partial tones will furnish us with another reason why all the notes of a single scale and the chords that harmonize them are consonant. These notes all enter into the composition of the major chords most nearly related to the chord of their key-note, and they also enter, either directly or indirectly, into the composition of their key-note itself. This being so, it is evident that if we pass from the scale of one key-note. or, as is said, from one key to another; for instance, from that of C natural to that of D flat, which is the half-note next above C natural (notice music on page 275, all these conditions are changed. Not one of the chords of the key of C natural is consonant with D flat itself, and, accordingly, it is evident that before we can proceed far in the new key all the relations of note to note and chord to chord must be changed. This change cannot take place without the ears detecting that the strain which follows is not consonant with that which
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 248]
precedes; in other words, without their detecting the presence of dissonance. See the music on page 275.
Dissonance, however, is not a wholly disagreeable feature. In fact, as everyone acquainted with music knows, there is a distinct pleasure attaching to the occasional use of it, as, for instance, in the chord of the seventh, an illustration of which may be noticed in the chord next to the last in the music on page 247. One reason for the pleasure is that consonance has a tendency to become monotonous. Dissonance counteracts it by introducing into the composition an element of variety. Another reason, closely connected with this, is that by means of dissonance chords pass, as has been said, from one key to another, thus rendering progress possible, which of itself enhances the listener's interest. The same principle is true as applied to outline and color. The variety imparted by dissonance, as long as it is kept subordinate so as not to interfere with the general effect of unity, always has artistic value.
In the external world, the blending of s6me dissonant characteristics with a decided preponderance of consonance, constitutes what is termed the harmony of nature. The same is true of that of art. Tones, colors, and outlines that are consonant do not need to be harmonized. They harmonize naturally. The laws of harmony have to do mainly, therefore, with the methods of bringing together factors that are not consonant. The way in which this is done involves gradation, abruptness, and transition, all to be considered in the next chapter. At present we have to deal with cases in which the effects of dissonance are not removed, but are allowed to be present, and yet are overcome, as by counteraction where there is existing confusion. That which overcomes dissonance is an application in music of a
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 249]
method identical with what in the arts of sight is termed interchange. The application is a very natural one to be made. It as merely a modification of a common musical principle, in accordance with which, in passing from one chord to another, one of the notes in both chords is made to be the same. Notice how this method is exemplified in all but one chord of the following, copied from Theodore Baker's translation of Ludwig Bussler's Elementary Harmony. Compare with these the chords also used in succession on page 247. In consequence of this
arrangement, made in exact conformity to the principles unfolded in this book, like is put with like in, at least, one regard, and the ear, recognizing this fact, feels that, notwithstanding their differences, and sometimes, as in the following, a passage to an entirely new key, the chords rightly go with each other.
Now it is often the case that, by a special application of this principle, the musician, without using all the chords necessary to connect keys according to the methods of complete harmonic gradation or transition, can establish a connection sufficient for the purpose by interchange. To do this, he introduces into a chord of the key in which the music is moving a note that belongs only to a chord in another key. In this way he prepares the ear
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 250]
for this other key. Notice the E natural introduced thus into the second chord of the following:
In a corresponding way, of course, a note that really belongs only to a chord in a first key may be used in a chord belonging only to a second, which is thus connected with the one that precedes it.
This effect, which is very common in music, is exactly paralleled by interchange of color and outline in the arts that are seen. Thus in Titians Bacchus and Ariadne, a red scarf is given to Ariadne whose form stands out against the blue of the sky, while blue drapery clothes a nymph depicted amid red-brown colors underneath; and the painter has been much praised for this method of producing harmony. A similar effect is sometimes seen in buildings, in which, notwithstanding variety in the pitch of the window-caps of different stories, the feeling of unity is preserved by an occasional suggestion, in the subordinate features of the lower stories, of a sharper pitch in the upper, or vice versa. See Figs. 72, 80, 81, pp. 221, 237, 238.
Now for illustrations of these methods in the products of the different arts. In poetry it is difficult for some to separate elements of form from those of thought. But, as will be shown in another volume, there is a scientific appropriateness in applying the terms just used to verse. Here it will be sufficient to indicate their superficial appropriateness. The following lines are harmonious in a high degree, and this on account of the consonance produced by the likeness between associated sounds, not only in rhythms and rhymes but in the alliteration or
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 251]
assonance of consecutive consonants or vowels. It is hardly necessary to point out that in the alliterative repetition of the l in the first three accented words, as well as in other analogous cases, we have what exactly corresponds to interchange, as exemplified above in the use of the same notes in consecutive musical chords.
Blessed of all men living that he found
Her weak limbs bared ant bound,
And in his arms and in his bosom bore,
And as a garment wore
Her weight of want and as a royal dress
Put on her weariness,
As in faiths hoariest histories men read
The strong man bore at need,
Thro roaring rapids, when all heaven was wild,
The likeness of a child.
A Song of Italy: Swinburne
The following, as befits the thought expressed, is highly inharmonious, containing too little of rhythm, alliteration, or assonance to produce, so far as concerns the form, any effect of unity. All is dissonance.
May you a better feat never behold
You knot of mouth-friends! Smoke and lukewarm water
Is your perfection. This is Timons,
Who struck and spangled you in your faces
Your reeking villainy. Live loathed and long.
Most smiling, smooth, detested parasites.
Courteous destroyers, affable wolves, meek bears,
You fools of fortune, trencher-friends,. times flies,
Cap-and-knee slaves, vapors and minute-jacks!
Of man and heart the infinite malady
Crust you quite oer.
Timon of Athens, ii., 6: Shakespeare
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 252]
In the following we have some decided dissonance, as in the second, sixth, fourteenth, and sixteenth lines, but, on the whole, everything is welded together so as to produce a general effect of harmony.
Thither winged with speed
A numerous brigade hastened; as when bands
Of pioneers, with spade and pickaxe armed
Forerun the royal camp to trench a field
Or cast a rampart. Mammon led them on,
Mammon, the least erected spirit that fell
From heaven; for een in heaven his looks and thoughts
Were always downward bent, admiring more
The riches of heavens pavement, trodden gold,
Than aught divine or holy else enjoyed
In vision beatific. By him first
Men also and by his suggestion taught
Ransacked the centre, and with impious hands
Rifled the bowels of their mother earth
For treasures better hid. Soon had his crew
Opened into the hill a spacious wound
And digged out ribs of gold.
Paradise Lost, i.: Milton
Consonance in music is most nearly perfect in the degree in which all the notes that are sounded together in a chord are most nearly what are termed perfect harmonies, and also in the degree in which the successive notes of melodies and chords are all based upon the harmony of one key, or, if of many keys, in which all follow each other according to the simplest principles of harmonic progress. For examples of this, see the music on page 250.
But there is no art in which subordinated dissonance plays a more important part. Not to speak of that which is necessarily involved in every transition to a new key,
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 253]
mentioned a moment ago, even the chords of the dominant, subdominant, and tonic, which are used in completing the simplest harmony, are suggestive of dissonance. Especially is this the case with the dominant, which often includes the only remotely harmonic seventh note.
And when we pass to a composition at all intricate, there is apparently no end to the number or variety of these subordinate dissonances. They are not an injury to music, but of the greatest benefit. By adding to the perfectly harmonic notes of a chord an occasional partly inharmonic note, as in the chord of the seventh or ninth, the musician is enabled, through using one or a series of such chords, to connect any possible combinations of notes however different. Notice the illustrations of the methods of making transitions from one key to another that are given on pages 250 and 275.
In this place, however, we cannot discuss fully any of these methods, but merely, in a general way, indicate what they are, and their general importance. We pass on to consonance in colors and outlines. Like that in sound, it differs from repetition, although it partly involves it. As was said on page 245, the difference is mainly in amount or size, in combination, and in material. Difference in amount, so far as it applies to color, involves no principle not sufficiently treated in connection with balance, symmetry, and interchange. Differences in combination and material, however, need more mention. As all recognize, there may be, without any real repetition, a consonance of
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 254]
color between a plaided woollen shawl of two hues, a brocaded silk of two shades, and a satin of one shade. Take the painting in the New York Metropolitan Museum, by Carl Marr, entitled Gossip. Almost every prominent object in thisthe window-curtain, the table-cloth, the apron of one of the principal figures, the bodice of another, the floor, etc.is depicted in white. On the contrary, in Fortunys Spanish Lady, hanging near it, almost every article of clothing is depicted in black. In each picture, however, the prevailing tone is applied to each different object, with a slightly different admixture. Otherwise there would be no way furnished of distinguishing one thing from another. As it is, each is represented as having a texture peculiar to itself, a condition consistent with consonance, but not with exact repetition.
Again, we often see instances of a combination of an illuminating color and of a color natural to the objects illumined. Sunlight, moonlight, twilight, candlelight, all produce different atmospheric effects both of light and of shade, and, according to the nearness and remoteness of our viewpoint, these work changes in the foliage of the same tree or the folds of the same fabric. Such changes as these, too, and in all that is termed the value of colors, are not consistent with exact repetition, but they are with consonance. Once more, the same kind of light, as, for instance, in a sunset or a storm, often produces a similar color, as of a pervading gold or gray, in objects as different in material and even in hue as rocks, water, trees, and clouds. Notice in the New York Metropolitan Museum, the Ville dAvray by Corot, Le Soir by C. H. Davis, The Bashful Suitor, by Joseph Israels, Spring by Bolton Jones, Woodland and Cattle by Auguste Bonheur, and Un Quatuor by W. T. Dannat.
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 255]
In other cases, the same effect, which is termed tone, can be produced independently of the illuminating light, merely by placing in juxtaposition objects of different materials that nevertheless have, or may be supposed to have, similar hues. In the painting in the New York Metropolitan Museum, entitled Monks in an Oratory, by F. M. Garnet, the color of the monks robes is the same as that of all the woodwork of the chapel. It is hardly necessary to point out that such effects, while resembling repetition, are due not to it so much as to that development of it, inspired by a desire to have objects that are associated in thought associated also in appearance, which we find in consonance.
Some confound consonance with harmony. Of course, everything consonant is harmonious, but the latter includes much more than the former. It includes dissonance, which has been joined with consonance and subordinated to it so as to form with it a unity. Dissonance in color corresponds to noise in music, and for this reason must be clearly distinguished from what is termed contrast [footnote 1] in color. This is produced by the complementary colors, and in dissonance the colors are not complementary. They have no connection whatever. It is owing to this that, when placed side by side, they can be made to seem parts of the same general whole only by the methods of interchange as illustrated on page 251, or of gradation and transition which weld them into a closer unity. These latter will be considered in the next chapter. It will be understood that
[footnote 1] As stated on page 23, contrast or antithesis is an effect produced when two objects differ diametrically in, at least, one particular, and yet agree in others. Where there is dissonance, there is not, necessarily, any agreement whatever. The similar tones entering into the major chords of C natural and F natural produce contrast; the dissimilar ones entering into those of C natural and C sharp produce dissonance.
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 256]
all the methods of which we are now speaking enter into the constitution of harmony, but harmony itself involves a great deal more, of which it is aside from the purpose of the present volume to speak.
Let us pass on to some exemplifications of these methods in outline. Two arms in the human figure may be alike by way of repetition; but an arm and a leg differing in size, a bare arm and a clothed one differing in combination, or a limb just suggested as underneath drapery and the drapery itself differing in materialall these, though often involving some parallelism and repetition are often alike also by way of consonance. (See Group of the Niobe, Fig. 45, page 146, The Dancer, Fig. 56, page 183, The Soldier's Return, Fig. 52, page 176, and The German Captive, Fig. 53, page 177.)
In the tapestry of Raphaels Ascension, the positions of the disciples kneeling on either side of the Christ, the very bend of their knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, while sufficiently varied to prevent monotony, are nevertheless so much alike that we at once recognize them as consonant. Examples of this sufficient for our purpose may be observed in Figs. 16, page 73; 26, page 81; 46, page 147; 70, page 215; and 94, page 288. In the same way, many, perhaps the most, of the different features connected with a building said to be erected in some one style are alike. The use of color enters largely into effects in painting, and much imitation of natural forms characterizes both painting and sculpture. Neither fact is true of architecture. Its effects are often confined to those of forms alone. This makes them of supreme importance. Its forms, moreover, are originated by the artist. This makes it easy to have them such as interfere with what may be called the natural requirements
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 257]
of art. For both reasons, the architect needs to be exceedingly careful in his work. A painter has but to copy a tree as he sees it in nature, and every part of it will be consonant. The leaves or branches will differ in size and shape and, in the autumn, at least, differ sufficiently in color to suggest differences in combination and material. But, comparing leaf with leaf and branch with branch, the same principle of formation will so manifest
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Fig. 85 Chateau de Randau, Vichy, France.
(See pages 124, 180, 262)
itself in every part of the tree that no one who sees it can doubt that each belongs to the same organism. A building should appear to be as much a unity in this sense as a tree. Exact repetition of the same forms, as already explained, would always make it seem thus. But, in architecture, exact repetition is not always possible; nor even, if we wish to produce thoroughly natural effects,
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 258]
desirable. The method that is both possible and desirable is consonance. A moment's reflection will reveal, too, that there are certain very simple devices of arrangement which necessarily secure this effect. It ought to reveal, also, that the effect is important enough to make even a child notice the defects in cases in which it is neglected.
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Fig. 86 Chapel in catacombs of St. Agnes, Rom.
(See page 262)
Notwithstanding this, how many architects fail to recognize the fact, architects too of the highest reputation? To such an extent is this the case, that one is tempted by it toward the easy task of a destructive critic in general, and to the easier task of destroying their reputations in particular. But a man who becomes a destructive
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 259]
critic, except when intellectual slaughter is justified in order to prevent the slaughter of the truth which he represents, is one who has turned from the discussion of principles and is willing to imperil the acceptance of them for the empty, often merely malicious satisfaction of doing personal harm to those whom he should wish to help, in the long run, to live and to let live is the wisest way of serving the truth, whether of mind or heart. Accordingly, most of these illustrations are taken from foreign and remote sources. But each represents some effect that is staring every American in the face almost every day.
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Fig. 87 Interior of St. Botolph, Boston, England.
(See page 262)
Of those connected with exteriors, notice the discords manifested in the radically different shapes given to the windows and openings and gables in the Church of St.
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 260]
Nigier, Lyons, Fig. 67, page 205, in the Palace of Justice of the same plaice, Fig. 29, page 85, find in the Plan for a Theatre and Ton-Halle Fig. 60, page 191. Compare with these, the consonance of corresponding forms in really great buildings like the Greek Temples, Fig. 1, page 15, the Taj Mahal, Fig. 3, page 19, the Cathedrals
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Fig. 88 Interior of St. Martyns Church, Canterbury, England.
(See page 262)
of Salisbury, Fig. 68, page 207, St. Mark, Fig. 31, page 88, Canterbury, Fig. 32, page 89, St. Sophia, Fig. 42, page 123, and Sienna, Fig. 97, page 292. Notice, too, a violation of consonance closely allied, because the forms are composed of lines, to that of parallelism, in the differences in pitch given to the different parts of the
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 261]
roof in the Plan for a Theatre and Ton-Halle, Fig. 6o, page 191, and also in the Chateau de Randau, Vichy, Fig. 85, page 258. Compare these with the consonant effects in St. Mark's, Venice, Fig. 31, page 88, and the Mosque of St. Sophia, Fig. 42, page 123. Look now at some equally discordant interior effects, which also are
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Fig. 89 Interior of Litchfield Cathedral, England.
connected with a violation of parallelism. Observe first the discord and confusion of lines in the end view of a Chapel in the Catacombs, Fig. 86, page 259. Observe, too, the discord between the ceiling of the church, and of the chancel, and also between the chancel ceiling and its window in St. Botolph, Boston, England, Fig. 87, page 260. The same features are discordant in the old church of St. Martyn's, Canterbury, Fig. 88, page 261. So are the front arch of the tower and that of the chancel just beyond it in the Litchfield Cathedral, Fig. 89.
How thoroughly at home an American ought to feel in these churches? Do they not furnish specimens of what we find exemplified almost everywhere in our country? Yet harmony of effect that results from consonance, to which dissonance is kept subordinate, is almost as
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 262]
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Fig. 90 Farnese Palace, Rome.
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 263]
important in architecture as in music. Only in the sense in which Chinese music, mainly struck from gongs and drums, is worthy of being classed as a product of the latter art, are structures in which confusion is made so prominent, worthy of being classed as products of the former. Compare these effects now with the consonant ones in Fig. 12, page 49, and Figs. 78 and 79, pages 235 and 236.
It is difficult to conceive how a man who has never studied the subject at all can fail to detect the blunders in some of the discords above. Certainly few children playing with building blocks would make mistakes analogous to them. The outlines of the toy houses that they construct are usually consonant at least. Why is this not the case with those planned by architects? For the same reason, probably, that many in other artsmusicians, elocutionists, paintersowing to false methods of studying or of applying rules, seem to be unable to sing, speak, or color in a natural way. Certain methods of studying or applying the laws of architecture seem to have a corresponding effect. Those who should be conversant with them neglect to exemplify requirements that are the most instinctive of which we know.
It must be borne in mind, however, that one reason,the chief one perhaps,why architectural discords such as have been illustrated displease, is because it is felt that they are meant to be, or at least should be meant to be, concords. If dissonant forms are not so many and prominent as to make them seem other than subordinate, they may add greatly, as has been said before, to the attractiveness of that in which they appear. Thus, as we all recognize, a few round or arched windows introduced into walls, gables, or towers characterized by horizontal
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 264]
lines afford relief to what might otherwise appear monotonous,a fact well illustrated by the alternation of straight and round forms in the Doric frieze (see page 201). It may be well, too, in order to prevent misapprehension, to add that there is a sense, which cannot, however, be explained here, in which curves, angles, and squares, though differing in shape, may be perfectly harmonious, inasmuch as they may be in proportion to each other. In the facade of the Farnese Palace (Fig. 90, page 263), also in that of St. Peter's, Rome, we have (Fig. 23, page 78) illustrations of this, as well as of a way in which dissonance can be used, so as not to lessen, but very materially to heighten, the general effect of consonance. Many of the window-caps in these facades are alternately circular and angular; yet as the height and width of all the caps are the same, all of them, though not repetitious, are nevertheless sufficiently alike to be in every regard harmonious. This is so because in them, whatever consonance and dissonance they contain, blend. They fit into the same general form in such a way that there is no suggestion of anything but unity.
[The Genesis of Art-Form by G.L. Raymond, chapter XV, page 265]