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date: 01 March 2021

Harmony (from Gk. harmonia)locked

  • Richard Cohn,
  • Brian Hyer,
  • Carl Dahlhaus,
  • Julian Anderson
  •  and Charles Wilson


(from Gk. harmonia)

The combining of notes simultaneously, to produce chords, and successively, to produce chord progressions. The term is used descriptively to denote notes and chords so combined, and also prescriptively to denote a system of structural principles governing their combination. In the latter sense, harmony has its own body of theoretical literature.

Carl Dahlhaus

In Greek music, from which derive both the concept and the appellation, ‘harmony’ signified the combining or juxtaposing of disparate or contrasted elements – a higher and a lower note. The combining of notes simultaneously was not a part of musical practice in classical antiquity: harmonia was merely a means of codifying the relationship between those notes that constituted the framework of the tonal system. In the course of history it was indeed not the meaning of the term ‘harmony’ that changed but the material to which it applied and the explanations given for its manifestation in music....

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