Perception of musical consonance and dissonance: An outcome of neural synchronization

Inbal Shapira Lots, Lewi Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While a number of theories have been advanced to account for why musical consonance is related to simple frequency ratios, as yet there is no completely satisfying explanation. Here, we explore the theory of synchronization properties of ensembles of coupled neural oscillators to demonstrate why simple frequency ratios may have achieved a special status and why they are important for auditory perception. The analysis shows that the mode-locked states ordering give precisely the standard ordering of consonance as often listed in Western music theory. Our results thus indicate the importance of neural synchrony in musical perception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1429-1434
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number29
StatePublished - 6 Dec 2008


  • Consonance
  • Coupled oscillator
  • Dissonance
  • Mode locking
  • Musical interval
  • Neural synchronization


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