(Dis-)Harmony in movement: effects of musical dissonance on movement timing and form

N. Komeilipoor, M.W.M. Rodger, C.M. Craig, P. Cesari

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


While the origins of consonance and dissonance in terms of acoustics, psychoacoustics and physiology have been debated for centuries, their plausible effects on movement synchronization have largely been ignored. The present study aimed to address this by investigating whether, and if so how, consonant/dissonant pitch intervals affect the spatiotemporal properties of regular reciprocal aiming movements. We compared movements synchronized either to consonant or to dissonant sounds and showed that they were differentially influenced by the degree of consonance of the sound presented. Interestingly, the difference was present after the sound stimulus was removed. In this case, the performance measured after consonant sound exposure was found to be more stable and accurate, with a higher percentage of information/movement coupling (tau coupling) and a higher degree of movement circularity when compared to performance measured after the exposure to dissonant sounds. We infer that the neural resonance representing consonant tones leads to finer perception/action coupling which in turn may help explain the prevailing preference for these types of tones.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1585-1595
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

PT: J; NR: 56; TC: 1; J9: EXP BRAIN RES; PG: 11; GA: CE0SJ; UT: WOS:000351515800023


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