Harmony

Harmony(chord, progression, consonance, dissonance, key, tonality, atonality)

Harmony is the VERTICALIZATION of pitch. Often, harmony is thought of as the art of combining pitches into chords (several notes played simultaneously as a “block”). These chords are usually arranged into sentence-like patterns called chord progressions.

Harmony is often described in terms of its relative HARSHNESS:

  • DISSONANCE: a harsh-sounding harmonic combination
  • CONSONANCE: a smooth-sounding harmonic combination

Dissonant chords produce musical “tension” which is often “released” by resolving to consonant chords. Since we all have different opinions about consonance and dissonance, these terms are somewhat subjective.

  • Other basic terms relating to Harmony are:
    • Modality: harmony created out of the ancient Medieval/Renaissance modes.
    • Tonality: harmony that focuses on a “home” key center.
    • Atonality: modern harmony that AVOIDS any sense of a “home” key center

 

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