noun \ˈhär-mə-nē\

: the combination of different musical notes played or sung at the same time to produce a pleasing sound

: a pleasing combination or arrangement of different things

plural har·mo·nies

Full Definition of HARMONY

archaic :  tuneful sound :  melody
a :  the combination of simultaneous musical notes in a chord
b :  the structure of music with respect to the composition and progression of chords
c :  the science of the structure, relation, and progression of chords
a :  pleasing or congruent arrangement of parts <a painting exhibiting harmony of color and line>
b :  correspondence, accord <lives in harmony with her neighbors>
c :  internal calm :  tranquillity
a :  an interweaving of different accounts into a single narrative
b :  a systematic arrangement of parallel literary passages (as of the Gospels) for the purpose of showing agreement or harmony

Examples of HARMONY

  1. a song with complicated harmonies and rhythms
  2. <her face had an angelic harmony that fascinated the leading painters of her day>

Origin of HARMONY

Middle English armony, from Anglo-French armonie, from Latin harmonia, from Greek, joint, harmony, from harmos joint — more at arm
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Music Terms

cacophony, chorister, concerto, counterpoint, madrigal, obbligato, presto, presto, refrain, riff, segue


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In music, the sound of two or more notes heard simultaneously. In a narrower sense harmony refers to the extensively developed system of chords and the rules that govern relations between them in Western music. Harmony has always existed as the “vertical” (the relationship between simultaneous melodic lines) aspect of older music that is primarily contrapuntal; the rules of counterpoint are intended to control consonance and dissonance, which are fundamental aspects of harmony. However, the sense of harmony as dominating the individual contrapuntal lines followed from the invention of the continuo c. 1600; the bass line became the generating force upon which harmonies were built. This approach was formalized in the 18th century in a treatise by Jean-Philippe Rameau, who argued that all harmony is based on the “root” or fundamental note of a chord. Tonality is principally a harmonic concept and is based not only on a seven-note scale of a given key but on a set of harmonic relations and progressions based on triads (three-note chords) drawn from the scale.


Next Word in the Dictionary: harmony of the spheres
Previous Word in the Dictionary: harmonograph
All Words Near: harmony

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up harmony? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).