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Barbershop quartets, such as this U.S. Navy group, sing 4-part pieces, consisted of of a melody line (normally the lead) and 3 harmony parts.When you have much more than one pitch sounding in ~ the exact same time in music, the result is harmony. Harmony is just one of the an easy elements that music, yet it is not as basic as some various other elements, such as rhythm and also melody. You can have music that is simply rhythms, through no pitches at all. You can additionally have music the is just a solitary melody, or simply a melody with rhythm accompaniment.

You are watching: Melody and harmony function independently of each other.


Harmony is 2 or more notes played together at the very same time. As shortly as there is more than one pitch sounding at a time, you have actually harmony. Even if nobody is actually play chords, or even if the notes are component of independent contrapuntal lines, you have the right to hear the connection of any kind of notes that take place at the same time, and also it is this connection that provides the harmony.

Note: Harmony go not have to be specifically “harmonious”; it may be fairly dissonant, in fact. For the purpose of definitions, the crucial fact is the notes sounding at the same time.Harmony is the many emphasized and most highly arisen element in west music, and can it is in the topic of whole course ~ above music theory.

In music, harmony is the usage of simultaneous pitches (tones, notes), or chords. The examine of harmony requires chords and their construction and chord progressions and the values of link that govern them. Harmony is regularly said to describe the “vertical” facet of music, as identified from melodic line, or the “horizontal” aspect. 

In many species of music, especially baroque, romantic, contemporary and jazz, chords are frequently augmented through “tensions”. A stress and anxiety is an additional chord member that creates a fairly dissonant term in relationship to the bass. Typically, in the classical common practice duration a dissonant chord (chord v tension) “resolves” come a consonant chord. Harmonization normally sounds pleasant to the ear once there is a balance between the consonant and also dissonant sounds. In an easy words, that occurs once there is a balance between “tense” and “relaxed” moments.

Etymology and Definitions

The hatchet harmony derives indigenous the Greek ἁρμονία (harmonía), meaning “joint, agreement, concord”, from the verb ἁρμόζω (harmozo), “to right together, come join”. In ancient Greece, the term defined the mix of contrasted elements: a higher and lower note. 


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Rameau’s ‘Traité de l’harmonie’ (Treatise top top Harmony) indigenous 172


The see that modern tonal harmony in western music began in around 1600 is commonplace in music theory. This is commonly accounted for by the ‘replacement’ of horizontal (of contrapuntal) writing, typical in the music the the Renaissance, through a brand-new emphasis on the ‘vertical’ facet of written music. Modern theorists, however, often tend to watch this together an unsatisfactory generalisation. Together Carl Dahlhaus place it,

It was no that counterpoint was supplanted by harmony (Bach’s tonal counterpoint is for sure no less polyphonic 보다 Palestrina’s modal writing) but that an older type both that counterpoint and of vertical an approach was succeeded by a more recent type. And also harmony comprises not only the (‘vertical’) framework of chords but additionally their (‘horizontal’) movement. Choose music as a whole, harmony is a process.

Descriptions and definitions that harmony and also harmonic practice might show prejudice towards europe (or Western) musical traditions. For example, South eastern art music (Hindustani and also Carnatic music) is generally cited together placing small emphasis top top what is viewed in western practice as traditional ‘harmony’; the basic ‘harmonic’ foundation for many South eastern music is the drone, a held open fifth (or fourth) that does not alter in pitch throughout the food of a composition. 

Nevertheless, emphasis on the precomposed in European art music and also the written theory neighboring it shows considerable cultural bias. The Grove dictionary of Music and Musicians (Oxford college Press) identifies this clearly:

In Western society the musics the are most dependent on improvisation, such together jazz, have traditionally been related to as inferior to art music, in i beg your pardon pre-composition is considered paramount. The conception of musics that live in oral heritages as something composed v the use of improvisatory techniques separates them indigenous the higher-standing functions that usage notation.

Yet the evolution of harmonic practice and language itself, in Western arts music, is and also was assisted in by this procedure of prior ingredient (which allowed the research and analysis by theorists and composers alike of individual pre-constructed functions in i m sorry pitches—and to some degree rhythms—remained unmodified regardless that the nature that the performance).

Historical Rules

Some traditions of western music performance, composition, and theory have certain rules that harmony. This rules room often defined as based upon natural nature such as Pythagorean tuning’s law totality number ratios (“harmoniousness” being natural in the ratios either perceptually or in themselves) or harmonics and resonances (“harmoniousness” being inherent in the top quality of sound), through the allowable pitches and harmonies acquiring their beauty or simplicity from their closeness to those properties. This model provides that the young seventh and ninth are not dissonant (i.e., space consonant). When Pythagorean ratios can provide a rough approximation the perceptual harmonicity, they cannot account for cultural factors.

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Early Western spiritual music often attributes parallel perfect intervals; this intervals would keep the clarity of the initial plainsong. These works were created and also performed in cathedrals, and made usage of the resonant settings of their respective basilicas to develop harmonies. Together polyphony developed, however, the use of parallel intervals was slowly replaced by the English format of consonance that used thirds and sixths. The English style was taken into consideration to have actually a sweeter sound, and also was much better suited to polyphony in that it available greater linear versatility in part-writing. Early music also forbade intake of the tritone, as its dissonance was connected with the devil, and composers often went to substantial lengths, via musica ficta, to protect against using it. In the more recent triadic harmonic system, however, the tritone ended up being permissible, as the standardization of practical dissonance made its usage in leading chords desirable.

Most harmony comes from two or more notes sound simultaneously—but a work deserve to imply harmony with just one melodic line by using arpeggios or hocket. Numerous pieces from the baroqueperiod for solo wire instruments—such as Bach’s Sonatas and also partitas for solo violin and cello—convey ethereal harmony through inference rather than full chordal structures. This works produce a feeling of harmonies by using arpeggiated chords and also implied basslines. The comprise basslines are produced with low notes of quick duration that many listeners perceive as being the bass note of a chord. (See below):