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Pitches and rhythms without harmony can be beautiful.  However, once we add harmony to the mix, music becomes and infinitely colorful and detailed sound scape.

  • Harmony: The “simultaneous combination of tones, especially when blended into chords pleasing to the ear; chordal structure, as distinguished from melody and rhythm.”

Harmony Review

The simultaneous sounding of two or more pitches. Another word for harmony is chord. A chord usually consists of three notes that make up what is called a triad. A triad consists of a root (the note that the chord is named after) a third (the note three steps away from the root) and a fifth (the note five steps away from the root). 1 3 5 = triad. Harmonies or chords can support a melody by sounding together vertically in time. Or, when two or more melodies overlap, the point of simultaneous sound is where the harmony occurs. That is a more horizontal relationship.


When notes or a chord or harmony sound simultaneously it can produce stability or tension. These two types of harmonies are referred to as:


Harmony that is stable, non active, agreeable, free of tension, blending and resolved.


Harmony that is unstable, in opposition, conflicting, jarring and unresolved. A dissonant chord leaves the listener with a feeling of expectation. It takes a consonant chord to complete the gesture created by a dissonance. Most good music has a combination of consonance and dissonance.

Harmonies move in progressions that help form the key of a piece. Each key is positioned around a tonic and harmony can be formed from the tonic note or any other scale degree. Harmonies can also help to change the key of a composition, when necessary. The processes of changing keys in music is called modulation. Harmony like scales can be major or minor and classical music uses those two primarily but eventually you will hear about or get to know diminished, half-diminished, augmented, dominant seventh and many more types of chords or harmonies.



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