The term "auditory roughness" was first introduced in the 19th century to describe the buzzing, rattling auditory sensation accompanying narrow harmonic intervals (i.e. two tones with frequency difference in the range of ~15-150Hz, presented simultaneously). A broader definition and an overview of the psychoacoustic correlates of the auditory roughness sensation, also referred to as sensory dissonance, is followed by an examination of efforts to quantify it over the past one hundred and fifty years and leads to the introduction of a new roughness calculation model and an application that automates spectral and roughness analysis of sound signals. Implementation of spectral and roughness analysis is briefly discussed in the context of two pilot perceptual experiments, designed to assess the relationship among cultural background, music performance practice, and aesthetic attitudes towards the auditory roughness sensation.© (2010) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.