Thanks for your reply. Looks like you worked off of an earlier version of my post - perhaps you can take a look at the current version, though not sure if it would change anything substantive you write as a response. I did provide what I consider a better example of overtones being closer than original fundamental frequencies. I will look up the research I had marked before (don't remember Helmholtz being mentioned).
EDIT: OK I did some digging and in the interest of not adding another new post in what is a tangent to the original topic, will add to this one.
Looks like my main source for claiming that "What I am saying about the relationship between perceived dissonance and closeness of overtones is not controversial - there are articles in peer-reviewed science journals explaining it" and earlier "..the basis for perceiving dissonance in intervals - more dissonant intervals have more overtones which are near one another creating interference resulting in a perception of 'roughness'" was Dave Benson's book "Music: A Mathematical Offering" which has proper references to peer-reviewed papers included. It does discuss a modified Helmholtz (the main treatment is off of Plomp and Levelt, 1965) and more recent add-ons and alternatives to that. So basically the sensory dissonance theory is the one I was referring to.
I looked around for more recent papers. Some relevant samples:
1. Peretz, I., & Zatorre, R. J. (2005
). Brain organization for music processing. Annu. Rev. Psychol., 56, 89-114..
Despite the saliency of dissonance and its initial account in terms of the poor spatial resolution of the basilar membrane (Plomp & Levelt 1965), its functional origins and neural consequences are still open questions (Tramo et al. 2003). Current evidence suggests that dissonance might be further computed bilaterally in the superior temporal gyri by specialized mechanisms. Assemblies of auditory neuron populations in Heschl’s gyrus exhibit phase-locked activity for dissonant chords but not for consonant chords, as measured with implanted electrodes in both humans and monkeys (Fishman et al. 2001). Such cortical responses to dissonance can be disrupted by bilateral lesion of the auditory cortex, resulting in a loss of sensitivity to dissonance (Peretz et al. 2001).
2. Johnson-Laird, P. N., Kang, O. E., & Leong, Y. C. (2012
). On musical dissonance. Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 30(1), 19-35.
Many theories, however, allow for both sensory and tonal factors to affect dissonance (McDermott et al., 2010). Such theories need to make predictions about the relative dissonance of any chords (cf. Parncutt, 2006), and so they need to integrate sensory dissonance with principles of tonality that listeners can tacitly acquire.
3. Cousineau, M., McDermott, J. H., & Peretz, I. (2012
). The basis of musical consonance as revealed by congenital amusia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(48), 19858-19863.
Helmholtz (20) is usually credited with the idea that dissonant chords are unpleasant because they contain the sensation of roughness, a notion that was fleshed out by ensuing generations of psychoacousticians (5, 6, 21, 22, 26). Theories of dissonance based on beating have been dominant in the last century and are now a regular presence in textbooks (1–3). However, a second acoustic property also differentiates consonance and dissonance: the component frequencies of the notes of consonant chords combine to produce an aggregate spectrum that is typically harmonic, resembling the spectrum of a single sound with a lower pitch (Fig. 1B). In contrast, dissonant chords produce an inharmonic spectrum. Such observations led to a series of analyses and models of consonance based on harmonicity (23, 27–29). Although beating-based theories are widely accepted as the standard account of consonance, harmonicity has remained a plausible alternative.
4. Large, E. W., Kim, J. C., Flaig, N. K., Bharucha, J. J., & Krumhansl, C. L. (2016
). A neurodynamic account of musical tonality. Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 33(3), 319-331.
[Helmholtz] proposed that as the auditory system performs a linear analysis of complex sounds, proximal harmonics interfere with one another and produce a sensation of roughness, which he equated with dissonance. Small integer ratios yield more consonant musical intervals, he surmised, because they have more harmonics in common and thus fewer harmonics that interfere. When extrapolated to complex tones, the interaction of pure tone components predicts the perception of consonance well (Kameoka & Kuriyagawa, 1969). Recently, there has been a renewed interest in the neurophysiological basis of consonance. Theories based on the neural processing of pitch relationships have led to the development of concepts such as harmonicity and dynamical stability. Harmonicity is the degree to which the frequency spectrum of two complex tones resembles the harmonic spectrum of the difference tone of the fundamental frequencies (Gill & Purves, 2009; Tramo, Cariani, Delgutte, & Braida, 2001). Dynamical stability is based on the synchronization properties of ensembles of coupled neural oscillators (Shapira Lots & Stone, 2008), which we describe in further detail below. Interestingly, both theories relate consonance and dissonance to simple integer frequency ratios. Integer ratio-based predictions have been shown to account for generalizations about musical scales cross-culturally (Gill & Purves, 2009) and to account for the standard ordering of consonances as described in Western music theory (Shapira Lots & Stone, 2008).
All in all, I'd say that sensory dissonance theory is not controversial or disproved, but certainly does not seem (and is not meant to be) the whole story. In that sense, you were right to point out that it is not the only
basis for consonance/dissonance and I modified my earlier post accordingly. Thanks for spurring me to revisit this subject!